Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 19, 1970

Is It Wrong To Judge?

Ralph R. Givens

Judge not that ye be not judged. . . " (Matt. 7: 1-5) These words of the Lord have often been misunderstood and misused by people who resent plain teaching in condemnation of error. When the preacher points out that there is only one church (Eph. 4:4) and that people who are members of some man-made church cannot be saved, regardless of how morally good they may be; someone is almost sure to say, "Well, now we are not to judge."

It seems that these people have never read or heard of the Lord's command to judge recorded in John 7:24. In this place our Lord said — "Judge not according to appearance, but judge righteous judgment." So we are commanded to judge and we are commanded not to judge. Is there a contradiction? Not at all. But if not, how do we explain these passages? Note the context of Matthew 7:1. The Lord is talking about the hypocrite who condemns another while he himself is guilty of the same sin or others much worse. This is unrighteous judgment.

The Jews in New Testament times serve as an excellent example of people who were guilty of unrighteousness judgment. To them Paul said — "Therefore thou art inexcusable 0 man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things."

If we judge (condemn) another for being a member of a denomination, a sectarian body, while we ourselves practice sectarianism in some way in the church of the Lord, then we also are doing what the Lord prohibits. We must ever remember that we are commanded to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. "(Eph. 5:11).

It is utterly impossible to obey this command without judging what is darkness and what is light. The ability to properly judge between the two comes from a study of God's word. Listen to Paul say it — "But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." (Heb. 5:14)

Let us therefore obey both Matthew 7:1 and John 7:24. David said — "Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore, I hate every false way. "(Psa. 119:104) In this we should follow David and in the light of God's word judge what is wrong. "I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say." (1 Cor. 10:15)

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