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What Does Judge Not So That You Will Not Be Judged Mean? – Matthew 7:1 And Luke 6:37

In one of his teachings, Jesus Christ admonished people not to judge others so that they too will not be judged (Matthew 7:1). This statement has generated a lot of controversy, and people frequently quote it to counter a rebuke against them for an obvious misbehavior. But what does it really mean to “judge” in this context, and who should refrain from judging?

To judge in this context means to declare that someone else is a sinner or that a statement, action, or inaction linked to them is a sin. Jesus warned against passing such judgments, but who does this warning apply to? The Bible provides some insights into this matter.

In Matthew 7:3-5, Jesus asks why someone would focus on the speck in their brother’s eye while ignoring the plank in their own eye. This passage indicates that those who are still under the power of sin, with a “plank” in their eye, should not judge others. Similarly, in Romans 2:1, it is stated that those who pass judgment on others while doing the same things are condemning themselves.

From these verses, it becomes clear that when Jesus warns people not to judge, he refers to those who are still enslaved by sin. However, the warning Is not a call for sinners to think that they can escape God’s judgment forever by simply refraining from judging. Rather, it is a reminder that if sinners judge others while still under the power of sin, it demonstrates pride and self-justification, which can lead to the termination of God’s forbearance and result in swift judgment against them.

The warning against judging is, therefore, for the benefit of sinners. It aims to ensure that God’s patience and forbearance with them are not cut short but allowed to run their course. Sinners should not take this warning as a means to avoid judgment but as an opportunity to seek salvation and transform their lives.

On the other hand, Christians, since they have been saved and set free from the power of sin, have the right to judge. They have been entrusted with the task of preaching the Gospel, which brings salvation to those who believe. Unbelievers are not fit for such a commission because they do not have a right standing with God. Before preaching to sinners, Christians must convey the message that they do not have a righteous standing before God. While this may involve judging in the sense of discerning and conveying the truth, it must be done with love for the sinner and a hatred for sin.

Various biblical passages support the idea that Christians have the authority to judge. Matthew 19:28 states that followers of Jesus will sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 also highlights that Christians will judge the world and even angels. However, Christians should exercise this authority with caution and the right attitude.

Christians should not judge carelessly or with a holier-than-thou approach. They must remember that their righteousness is a gift from God through justification by faith in Jesus Christ, not the result of their own works. Judging should be motivated by a desire to correct and bring people closer to God, not to slander or despise them. The emphasis is on hating the sin but loving the sinner. Christians must avoid contempt and remember that they too were slaves to sin prior to being saved.

Bible passages such as James 4:11-12 and Romans 14:10-13 caution against slander, contempt, and passing judgment without considering one’s own actions. These verses do not forbid judging altogether, as other verses have already shown that Christians have the right to judge. Rather, they emphasize the need for carefulness, correct motives, and a genuine love for the person involved.

Additionally, 1 Corinthians 4:5 advises not to judge before the appointed time and not to pass judgment on matters that are hidden in darkness. This verse does not contradict the idea that Christians can and should judge, but rather it encourages them to avoid hasty judgments based on insufficient knowledge. Only God, who sees the hidden motives of the heart, is capable of passing judgment in those types of cases.

In summary, the admonition “Judge not so that you will not be judged” should be understood in its proper context. It is a warning for sinners to avoid self-justification and pride, which can lead to swift judgment from God. Christians, on the other hand, have the authority to judge but should do so with caution, the right attitude, and a genuine love for the individuals involved. Judging should be motivated by a desire to correct and bring people closer to God, rather than by slander or contempt. Ultimately, it is God who will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and judge all things according to his wisdom and righteousness.


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