Beloved: Grace and Peace
Elkmont Baptist Church
Dearest and Beloved
We Are Not to Judge - or Are We?
Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. "Judge not according to the appearance, but righteous judgment" (John 7:24). What does it mean to judge not according to appearance, but with righteous judgment?
Grace to you.
Isaiah 11:3 speaks of the Messiah:
John records, "Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true" (John 8:15-17).
Moses told Joshua and the Hebrews:
brethren, and judge righteously between
man and his brother, and the
with him. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment;
hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment
God's: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring
I will hear it.
And I charged your judges at that time, saying Hear
Righteous judgment is not according to the seeing of the eyes, nor the hearing of the ears, but according to truth. It is based on more than one witness. It is not a respecter of persons. It is the same for the small and the great.
Parents must act as judge for their children at least for a time in their lives. Therefore, it is important to learn what righteous judgment is. It is important for young men and young women to learn how to judge not according to appearance but according to righteous judgment. We will begin looking at the Scriptures to learn who, what, when, where, how, and why we judge or don't judge.
Luke tells us, "Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven:" (Luke 6:36-37).
This passage and John 7:24 teaches us that judging and condemning are not the same thing. If you remember, we looked at the Old Testament to get an idea of what judging involves.
Leviticus 19:15 tells us, "Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty:
shalt thou judge thy neighbor."
Deuteronomy 1:16-17 tells us, "And I charged your judges at the time, saying, Hear
between your brethren, and judge righteously between
man and his
brother, and the stranger
with him. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment;
ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment
God's: . . . ."
Deuteronomy 17:4, 6: "And it be told thee, and thou hast heard
diligently, and behold
the thing certain, . . . At the mouth of two
witnesses or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death;
the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death."
These passages teach us that judging has to do with hearing, inquiring diligently, and basing judgments on two or three witnesses, but not one. We are not to be respecters of persons. It is to take place when there is a conflict between two brothers. If we are the judged, we must be merciful and forgive.
The Greek word translated most often as judge is
. Strong's gives it the following
definition - to distinguish, that is, decide (mentally or judicially). We understand this is to distinguish between or to decide for or against.
Matthew 7:1-2 tells us: Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." We are commanded to not distinguish between or decide for or against one another. The Old Testament calls this to be a respecter of persons. Matthew goes on and tells us, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits . . . (Matthew 7:15-16). We see that we are not to judge one another, but we are to judge the fruit of those who prophesy or teach. From this we can see we are to judge what is true and what is false.
Luke 6:36-37 tells us, "Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven." We see that judging is not the same as condemning. And if we are full of mercy as our Father is, we won't judge one another nor condemn one another. Forgiveness is what we must extend to those who are judging and condemning us.
Luke 12:57 tells us, "Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?" From this verse we see we are to judge what is right and what is wrong.
Well, from these verses we see we are to forgive when we are judged, and we are not to judge one another, but we are to judge the teaching we hear and what is right and wrong, what is true and what is false. What defines true and false? What defines right and wrong? "Thy word is truth."
In John 5:30, our Lord says, "I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me." When we are called to act as judges, our judgment will be just (righteous) if we seek the Father's will as He has revealed it in His word.
The passage in John from which this examination started is John 7:24: "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment."
John 8:15-17 records our Lord's words, "Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true."
We are not to judge after the flesh, and we are to base judgment on two or more witnesses. Paul tells us what are the works of the flesh in Galatians 5:19-21: "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are
; adultery, fornication, uncleanness,
lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: . . . ."
"Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted" (Galatians 6:1).
Judgment (distinguishing between, deciding for or against) should be done in a spirit of meekness, in the fruit of the spirit, with the intent of restoring such a one. Doing it any other way, we can fall into a snare ourselves, i.e., we can become guilty of the very thing we are judging. Whew!
We see from 1 Kings 12:27-30 that Jeroboam, the first king of the ten tribes, was afraid that if the people went up to Jerusalem three times a year as required by the law, the peoples' hearts would turn again to Rehoboam. Jeroboam made two calves of gold and set them up in convenient locations. Jeroboam told the people, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. . . . And this thing become a sin . . ." (1 King 12:28b&c, 30).
Jeroboam falsified history, made worship convenient (contrary to what was required), and brought sin upon the people. If we hear a lie spoken as truth often enough, we begin to believe the lie, and we become enslaved. This is exactly why we must learn to "[j]udge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24).
We live in a culture which is being transformed by rewriting history and repeating lies as though they are truth. We have people who act as spin doctors. Even we are prone to spin the truth to make ourselves look better than we are.
We each must know the truth in order to recognize what is false. The Lord Jesus in His high priestly prayer declared, ". . . thy word is truth" (John 17:17).
We should, at the very least, be wary when worship is made to be convenient. We should be wary about our history. We should remember that righteous judgment must be according to God's word.
We only recognize what is false by knowing what is true.
- Deuteronomy 1:16-17
And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
- Isaiah 11:3-4
unto me, and
- a series compilation