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Be like Jesus . . . Be "Judgmental"

Two Problems:

No. 1:  We live in the most "tolerant" and violent century in human history. The two are related. "Tolerance" killed six million Jews in Nazi Germany. The Good People of Germany knew what was going on. Their neighbor had a good job with the government railroad industry, helping people get on trains headed for the "camps." No one wanted to be "judgmental." He was just "doing his job."

No. 2:  Great numbers of those who call themselves Christians are today telling us that we should not judge. At the same time, great numbers of those who call themselves Christians frequently engage in hypocritical, ignorant, and lawless judging, and this is probably the reason why the others are saying we must not judge at all.

Of course, no one believes that we ought to

  • judge hypocritically ("I go to church on Sunday dressed modestly, criticizing others for their worldly dress, when just hours before I came home from a disco in dress that could hardly be called modest"), that we should
  • judge ignorantly ("I criticize someone for immodest dress when I have never seen them"), or that we should
  • judge lawlessly ("I criticize someone for wearing green, as though the Bible condemned the wearing of green").

No one claims we should judge this way, and the Bible plainly condemns such judging.

But to use the Biblical condemnation of self-centered, Humanistic judging to condemn all judging is an equally erroneous position. If we are to tolerate all things, and do no judging at all, then we will not discriminate or criticize the blasphemies and lies of Satan and his followers. We may worship God, or we may just as well worship Satan himself! But the Bible says we are to judge between God and Satan and choose God!

Those who say we should be more like Jesus, and not judge at all, have overlooked some important passages of Scripture. If we meditate on these verses we will discard the notion that we should not judge.

Jesus is a Judge

We are Christ's Judges

We Can Judge Hearts

Judging Extends Christ's Kingdom

First, many passages show us that Jesus frequently rendered stern judgments:

  • Matthew 5:13
    Did Jesus render a judgment concerning those who don't distinguish themselves from the world as salt?
  • Matthew 6:2,5,16
    What did Jesus call those who prayed in public so that they might be seen by men?
  • Matthew 7:5
    What did Jesus call those who judge . . . hypocritically, that is?
  • Matthew 7:6
    How did Jesus tell us to judge those who, when they hear the Word of God we speak, attack us and slander us?
  • Matthew 7:15
    What did Jesus tell us to do concerning false prophets?
  • Matthew 7:16
    Did Jesus give us tips on how to recognize them?
  • Matthew 10:34-39
    Did Jesus come to bring peace, or judgment?
  • Matthew 11:16-25
    Did Jesus tolerate those cities that did not repent?
  • Matthew 12:39
    What did Jesus call those who seek signs?
  • Matthew 15:14
    What did Jesus tell us to do concerning religious guides?
  • Matthew 15:26
    How did Jesus answer the request of the Canaanite woman?
  • Matthew 16:23
    How did Jesus assess Peter and his idea that Christ should not be executed?
  • Matthew 23
    Did Jesus invite the Pharisees to fellowship with Him?

Unfortunately, we can only cover one of the Gospels in this brief survey. We would find more of the same in the other Gospels. How do we understand these accounts?

Jesus is very stern and judgmental because it is so important for God's commandments to be honored. If we are to be Jesus's friends we must do the same (I John 2:3-6; 3:22-24; 5:2-3; John 14:15,21-24; John 15:10-11, 14,16; John 16:7-14 + 14:22-27).

Second, based on Jesus's life and command, the Apostles tell us we are to be like Jesus, and judge between good and evil, denouncing the bad and praising the good.

  • I Peter 1:15-16
    But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written (Lev. 11:44): Be ye holy, for I am holy.
  • I John 4:1,5-6
    Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the Spirit of Truth, and the spirit of error.
  • I Thessalonians 5:21
    Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good.
  • Philippians 1:9-10
    And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.
  • Matthew 23:23
    . . .the weightier matters of the law: judgment, mercy, and faith.
  • I Corinthians 6:2,4a
    Do you not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? [Y]e have judgment of things pertaining to this life. . . .
  • Matthew 19:28
    And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man shall sit in the throne of His Glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
  • Luke 7:43
    Thou hast rightly judged.
  • Luke 12:57
    Why judge ye not what is right?
  • John 7:24
    Judge righteous judgment.
  • I Corinthians 10:15
    I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.
  • Acts 17:11
    These were more noble that those in Thessalonica, in that they received the Word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore many of them believed. . . .
  • I Corinthians 11:13
    Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?
  • James 2:1-5,12-13
  • Philippians 4:8
    Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
  • Ephesians 4:13
    Are we to be like Christ?
  • Philippians 4:9
    Are we to be like the Apostles?

May these verses help us, not to be judgmental for the sake of being judgmental, but to exalt God's Law, and replace the ugliness and violence of the world with the beauty and peace of the Kingdom of Christ.

"Oh how love I thy Law! It is my meditation all the day!" (Psalm 119:97)


Can We Judge Another's Heart?

Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your Law, "I said, Ye are gods"?
[H]e called them gods, unto whom the Word of God came, and the Scripture cannot be broken.
John 10:34-35

I once had an aunt who dabbled in the occult. She used this verse to show that all men had "a spark of divinity" in them and consequently had no need for a Savior Who was "the only Way to God." This is not the only verse that can be confusing to someone who takes the popular, evangelical, antinomian position that Christians are not to render judgments based upon God's Word. Consider the following passages:

  • Genesis 3:5:
    "Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Was Satan right? At least partially, as we see from
  • Genesis 3:22:
    "And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good an evil. . . ."
  • Exodus 7:1:
    "I have made thee a god to Pharaoh." A position worthy of note, since the princes of Egypt were themselves called "gods" (Exodus 12:12).
  • Exodus 21:6, 22:8,9,28:
    The judges, or elders or Israel, were "gods." (Cf. I Samuel 2:25, where the word for "judge" is elohim, as in all verses we are now examining.)
  • Psalm 138:1:
    "I will praise thee. . .before the gods." Will mere statues listen? Compare Psalm 119:46

Apparently, those with political or judicial power over others were called "gods," probably because they were imitating the function of the True King and Lawgiver (Isaiah 33:22).

It is interesting that even Israel's judges were called gods. Was this good? Is it good for a people to have gods? What was it that made them "gods"?

One aspect of their being gods over the people was their possession of the Holy Spirit, which greatly differentiated them from the rest of the people under the Old Covenant. Kings, most notably, were anointed with oil to symbolize their possession of the Spirit.

Was it good for only a few to have the Spirit, or would it be desirable for all men to have the Spirit? How did Moses, the mediator of the Old Covenant, answer this question (Numbers 11:29)? In the New Covenant, all believers do indeed have the Spirit (1 John 2:20,27). Does that make them kings? (Revelation 1:6).

It certainly makes us "sons of God" (John 1:12).

We are led to the conclusion that in some sense (and I sure don't know exhaustively in what sense!!) believers are "gods." (That sounds real wacky, and although I don't know all the relationships between kings and priests and gods, I do know that it does not mean what certain cultists might say it means. Don't put such a terrible construction on what these verses are saying that you miss the point of whatever the Bible really is teaching.)

In light of such passages as John 1:12, I John 3:2, and 2 Peter 1:4, what can we say about judging the heart?

We have already seen how judges were called gods. Undoubtedly they were to judge as God Himself does: righteously, according to His Holy Word (John 7:24).

But doesn't the Bible say that only God Himself can judge the heart? I Samuel 16:7 says

"the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart."

As is often the case with those who value their feelings more than the Law-Word of God, this phrase is taken out of context.

The Bible says man is a worm. Always? In every sense? "Man judges the outward appearance." Always? Unavoidably? Peter in his first letter (1:15-16) rightly cites Leviticus 11:44 to argue that we are to be holy even as God is holy. If God judges not just on appearances, but righteously, even looking at the heart, then we are to do the same. Is it possible that we even can?

The very verse in question (I Samuel 16:7) is actually a command for Samuel to do this very thing! Samuel had just made an untrue judgment (v.6) and God commands him not to judge based solely on appearances, but to judge as the LORD does!

We can judge hearts because the Word of God Himself tells us how. Hebrews 4:12 says "For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

Armed with this sword (Ephesians 6:17; Psalm 149:6) believers can expose the true state of affairs, exposing motivations and goals of the heart (I Corinthians 14:24-25).

Solomon taught his son how to judge hearts: by putting together external actions and the Word's assessment of those actions. By looking up the word "heart" in a concordance, we can see how often the Proverbs make such judgments. These judgments teach believers how to be wise discerners. "A prudent man concealeth knowledge; but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness" (Proverbs 12:23). Does a wise heart ever proclaim foolishness? Never. Anytime we see a fool proclaiming foolishness, we know something about his heart.

When Solomon rendered judgments (e.g., Proverbs 6:14) he wasn't just showing off his wisdom, he was telling his son important facts that should be kept by us. We can know a man's heart by his actions (Mark 7:21-23), because God's Law-Word governs all actions and makes us Spiritual discerners (I Corinthians 2:14-15; Psalm 119:69-70).

To their credit, most Christians, even those who remissfully assert that we should not judge the heart, do so anyway. Proverbs 22:15 says "Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; but the rod and correction shall drive it far from him." Spanking thus has for its purpose the driving of foolishness out of a child's heart. Only a few who say we cannot know the heart of another never spank. Perhaps some who say we shouldn't judge the heart spank anyway, without judging the heart: "Oh, I just spank 'em a couple times a day: keeps 'em on their toes." How unGodly. Those who do spank do in fact judge the heart, the more like their Savior they become (Ephesians 4:13). A child hits his sister. "He hit me!" she cries, demanding vengeance. But the wise father saw that the boy struck her inadvertently; he doesn't spank the boy because he makes a sanctified judgment of the lad's heart; we distinguish between accidental and deliberate damage ("Deliberated" where? In the heart.)

Jude (and the parallel chapter in 2 Peter 2) makes some awesome judgments of peoples' hearts. We are to follow these judgments (Jude 22), and most of us do, even if we say "You shouldn't judge a person's heart." Let us never underestimate our authority as sons of God.

Judging Extends the Kingdom of Christ

I've just explained how a failure to judge righteous judgment can result in unfair discipline of children. But there's much more. If you're asking yourself, "Why should I want to judge people?" or "Why would anyone write a paper in defense of being judgmental?" here is the answer.

except perhaps that of Noah, before the flood

"Politically correct" is the operative term here. The pressure to accept and tolerate all things works most immediately in favor of the State. Especially in favor of dictatorships and murderous regimes, such as our own government. For this reason, the attitude is fostered and sponsored by the State.

We live in a century which has two distinctive characteristics.
  • It is the most violent century in the last three thousand years. There is no disputing this fact. Not just in sheer numbers, but a higher percentage of the human race has been deliberately killed in the 20th century than in any previous century.*
  • It is the century in which "tolerance" is politically correct and "judging" and "dogma" are out. In the face of monstrous evil, we are silent, because we don't want to appear to be "judgmental." We want to be "open-minded" and "progressive."

This nonsense must end. It is the saints of God -- that is, people who are "called out" from the modern world -- who reign and carry out the orders of Christ the King. If we do not judge, the Kingdom does not come to full fruition.

Only a judgmental Christian is Truly Human.

Send your comments to me at Kevin4VFT@aol.com.

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