Keith Hunt - JUDGMENT Restitution of All Things


JUDGMENT

Is it permissible for a Christian
to judge his fellow man?
If so HOW and WHEN, under what circumstances?
In this article you will find the truth of the matter.

                                    
Many biblical sceptics scoff at the Bible. They claim it is
full of contradictions. And to the casual reader of the
scriptures, it would seem the agnostics could be correct, for the
Bible does seem to be in opposition to itself in many passages
and in many topics.

     One of the seeming contradictions in the Bible is that
concerning the subject of "judging." 
     Even many devoted and sincere Christians are "unsure" or
"confused" over this important doctrine.

     The word of scripture claims GOD as the author. It states
its words are INSPIRED or "God breathed"(2 Tim.3:16; 2 Peter
1:20).
     Jesus taught that the scripture CAN NOT BE BROKEN - that is,
verses do not contradict each other(John 10:35).

     Yet, those same scriptures teach that we are to STUDY them -
to correctly put them together as we would a jig-saw puzzle, to
arrive at the truth(2 Tim.2:15; Acts 17:10-12).
     So, understanding these principles, let us humbly find all
the verses in the New Testament(NT) on the topic of "judging" and
put them together correctly to develop the perfect and true
picture.


                       NEW TESTAMENT VERSES


     Following are two columns of scriptures. One column with
verses that seem to state we should NOT judge, and another column
with verses that seem to say we should judge.

 

TO JUDGE                           NOT TO JUDGE
                             

He that is spiritual judges        Judge not that you be not     
all things(1 Cor.2:15).            judged(Mat.7:1).

Whether it be right in the         Who made me a judge or aivider
sight of God.....judge you         over you?(Luke 12:14).   
(Acts 4:19).

Yet I give my judgment             For I came not to judge the 
(1 Cor.7:25).                      world(Luke 12:47).

But judge this rather              But why do you judge your
(Rom.14:13).                       brother?.....Let us not
                                   therefore judge one another
                                   (Rom.14:10,13).

The saints shall judge the         Judge nothing before the time 
world. And if the world shall      (1 Cor.4:5).     
be judged by you, are you
unworthy to judge the smallest
matter?(1 Cor.6:2).

For I truly as absent in the        Let no man therefore judge
body, but present in spirit,        you(Col.2:16).
have judged already(1 Cor.
6:4).

If then you have judgments          He that speaks evil of his 
of things pertaining to this        brother and judges his
life(1 Cor.6:4).                    brother,speaks evil of the 
                                    the law.....There is
                                    one lawgiver who is able to
                                    save and destroy, who are    
                                    you that judges another?
                                    (James 4:11,12).

Is it not that there is not
a wise man among you? No, not
one that shall be able to judge 
between brethren(1 Cor.6:5).

Two or three, and let the others
judge(1 Cor.14:29).
                       
                     
    There are more verses in the NT like the previous ones,  you
may want to search for them in a concordance such as STRONG'S.
    I believe you will get the picture from the verses I have
given.
                                                              
     The NT seems to contradict itself on this subject of
judging.
     Yet, Jesus said the scriptures CAN NOT BE BROKEN - there is
no contradiction. We must dig a little deeper for the truth.



                  THE MEANING OF "JUDGE" and "JUDGING"


     The WORLD BOOK DICTIONARY gives, in part, this definition to
the above words:

     ".....1.a. to hear and decide(a case) in a law court. b.
decide; order. 2. to settle(a dispute); decide(a contest). 3. to
makeup one's mind about; form an opinion or estimate of.....4. to
think; suppose; consider.....5. to criticize; condemn....."


     Ah, can you see what we have discovered? Our English words
"judge," "judgment," "judging," has TWO basic uses - to hear and
consider so as to form an opinion, make one's mind about some
matter, AND, to decree, order, CONDEMN - A FINAL sentencing.

     A Judge in a court of law will, if it is a trial by Judge
only, not only hear and listen to all the facts from all sides
and parties involved, but also give a final DECREE, SENTENCE, on
the matter. It is a TWO part process. If the accused is found
guilty from all the facts presented, the Judge will CONDEMN them
to his decree or order of punishment.

     We shall now see that in the common Greek that the NT was
written in, there is no appreciable difference in meaning from
the English language use.

     The predominant Greek word used in the NT for "judge,
judging, jugest " etc. is number 2919 in Strong's Concordance. It
is the word "KREENO."

     Here is what STRONG says about this word:

     "to distinguish, i.e. decide(mentally or judicially); by
impl.to try, condemn, punish :- avenge, conclude, condemn, damn,
decree, determine, esteem, judge, go to(sue at the) law, ordain,
call in question, sentence to, think."

     Now, with that information we should be able to start
clearing away the fog from this seemingly contradictory subject
of the NT.
                                    

                CHRISTIANS CAN NOT CONDEMN ANYONE


     James tells us that God is the LAW GIVER who can save or
destroy(chapter 4:12).
     Paul was inspired to say that ALL will stand before the
judgment seat of God(Rom.14:10-12) and give account of himself. 
     It is written that God the Father has committed to the
Son(Christ Jesus) the order of final sentencing, which will be
based upon the word of God. Those not WITHIN the word will be
condemned(John 5:22-24).
     The mind of man is FINITE, the mind of God is IN-FINITE. The
heart of man is fleshly, CARNAL, and contains sin. Even a Spirit
filled Christian is not without sin(1John 1:8).
     Only  God is HOLY, PERFECT, RIGHTEOUS, SINLESS character.
Only He can SEARCH the hearts of men, know their thoughts and
attitudes and motives, to compare and stand them against His
word, for either sentencing them to LIFE or DEATH.
     No human flesh and blood being can possibly do that task.
God alone, the one who created LAW, who created mankind with
human free will, who gave His word and standards, His yard stick
for entering into eternal life or eternal death, only He can
give, based upon all the facts and evidence of the heart of man,
life or death as the final sentence.
     God only can SAVE or DESTROY!

     Physical man, even a Christian, has NO AUTHORITY, to CONDEMN
another physical person to DESTRUCTION or eternal death. That
authority only belongs to the heavenly Father, who has given 
that authority over to God the Son, who will base that life or
death sentence upon the holy word of the Father's.


                 NO CONTRADICTION IN SCRIPTURE


     It is very clear from the plain easy to understand verses
like 1 Corinthians 5 and 6, that there is a side to "judging"
that is given to the Christian and the Church of God, that must
at times, be EXERCISED. 
     Chapter five of 1 Corinthians is a splendid example.

     The church at Corinth knew there was INCEST being practiced
within its midst. It was common knowledge, open knowledge, not
gossip or someone trying to create a problem for another. The
members at Corinth thought that by turning a "blind eye" to the
fact, it was showing Christian mercy and love to the un-repentant
sinner.
     The apostle Paul thought otherwise. He had the facts. The
truth of the matter was plain for him to see. There was NO
misunderstanding. The evidence was all in - the bare plain truth
was clear. The breaking of one of God's commandments was being
practiced as a way of life, by one of the members of the church
at Corinth.
     Paul had to look at the facts, make sure there was no
slander, no lies, no falsehood, no misunderstanding regards the
issue, and then, based upon all the evidence, come to a WAY OF
THINKING (based upon the word and teaching of God) - a DECIDING,
as to what was the RIGHTEOUS action to take.
     He gave his strong exhortation, encouragement, and advice to
the members of the church. They were to JUDGE the matter as he
had judged the matter - they were to DISFELLOWSHIP the
unrepentant sinner who was practicing open sin in their midst.
     I cover all this in great depth in my study paper called
"DISFELLOWSHIP - What the Bible Really Teaches."

     Paul judged the sinner and exhorted action to be taken by
the church in this physical life now. BUT HE DID NOT CONDEMN THIS
MAN TO ETERNAL DEATH!
     There is only one who can save or destroy for eternity -
God, not Paul, not you, not I.
     Paul never condemned anyone to eternal death. Neither should
we!
     For we know not when any person will REPENT and find life.

     Yet, in this life, for serious sins that some may practice
as a way of life, un-repentantly, Paul KNEW that he and other
Christians did have the authority to MAKE UP ONE'S MIND OVER, as
to the right or wrong of such a life style, and based upon the
teachings of the word of God, take the appropriate actions
necessary to comply with the instructions of God to correct
the situation.

     This judgment, this judging, although allowed and given to
us from God, within the context of His law, and sin, and church,
is not without many verses admonishing us to be CAREFUL,
CIRCUMSPECT, scrupulous, discreet, solicitous. We are taught in
the word to exercise this liberty CAUTIOUSLY, WARY, ALERT,
concerned and prudent. All done with HUMILITY, bearing one
another's burdens, always remembering ourselves, knowing it is
possible we could be tempted and one day find ourselves in the
hot seat receiving judgment (Galatians6:1-10).

     Jesus was very clear on this side of the word judging.

     "Judge not according to APPEARANCE, but judge RIGHTEOUS
judgment" (John 7:24).

     We as Christians CAN judge! We are, under certain situations
told to judge(i.e. "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try
the spirits whether they are of God...."  "To the law and the
testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is
because there is no light in them" 1 John 4:1; Isa.8:20).
     There are times we AUGHT to judge (i.e. James 5:19,20; Titus
3:10,11; 1:9-16; 2 Tim.4:14-15; 3:5-9; 2:15-18; 1 Tim. 5:19,20;
6:3-5; 2 Thes.3:14,15; 1 Thes.5:12,13; 1 Tim.1:18-20; 1
Cor.5:1-7; 6:1-5).
     BUT WE BETTER MAKE SURE OUR JUDGING IS RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT!!

     Righteousness is God's commandments(Ps.119:172). We better
make sure our judging is ACCORDING TO and WITHIN the
righteousness of God!


     LET'S UNDERSTAND THE VERSES THAT SEEM TO CONTRADICT


     With the light we now have, this is how we should understand
Matthew 7:1-2. I paraphrase:" Judge - CONDEMN - judge not in a
carnal unrighteous way, that you be not judged harshly. For with
the judgment you judge(righteous or unrighteous) you also will be
judged(what a man sows he shall reap) and how you deal out to
others(in a righteous or unrighteous way), it shall come back to
you again(for 'He shall have judgment without mercy, that has
shown no mercy' James 2:13)." 

     Proud, vain, hypocritical unrighteous judging, is what
Christ was teaching against here, not righteous judging that must
be done from time to time.

     Luke 12:14. 

     There are some situations and circumstances in which we are
NOT QUALIFIED, do not have the EXPERTISE, or just have NO
AUTHORITY for deciding the matter. But there are areas in which
God does give us authority for judging - we must search the word
to discover those areas. Some we have found in this article
already.

     Romans 14:10,13, paraphrased:

     "But why do you judge - condemn - use unrighteous judgment
against your brother.....Let us not use condemnation(to eternal
death - destruction) or unrighteous opinions of mind against
one another."

     The Roman Christians were either or both, condemning each
other to eternal death, or using UN-righteous judgment. They were
not doing the "judge righteous judgment" that Jesus taught.
     They were unrighteously opinionated against one another over
such things as "to eat or not eat meat" - vegetarianism, and as
to what days of the week to fast on.
     The truth was(and Paul knew it, so he was correcting them)
God ALLOWS and gives every person the liberty to either eat meat
or not eat meat - there is no command of God either way - both
meat(the context is not discussing the topic of CLEAN or UN-CLEAN
foods, which God does have commands regarding) eaters and no meat
eaters are acceptable to the Lord.
     Likewise, God had no command on which day or days of the
week one could fast(not eat) on. Outside the Day of
Atonement(10th day of 7th month - Hebrew calendar) which is not
here under discussion, any day of the week was acceptable to God.
There was liberty for each Christian in this matter of eating or
not eating(fasting).
     Some in Rome could not see these liberties for Christians
and had set up their own standards of self-righteousness, to the
point of CONDEMNING(to eternal death) and/or judging unrighteous
judgment(so forming incorrect and critical opinions) against each
other.
     Paul was instructing them that both liberties were
acceptable to God, and condemning or using unrighteous judgment
should cease.

     1 CORINTHIANS 4:5, paraphrased:

     "Judge - CONDEMN not - stay out of areas you are not
qualified in or given authority in, so you will not unrighteously
judge - before the time(when all these areas will be dealt with)
until the Lord come, who will both bring to light the hidden
things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the
heart, and then shall every man have praise of God(for there are
some things only God through Christ can judge, only He knows the
inner attitude of the heart)."

     

     COLOSSIANS 2:16

     "Let no man therefore judge - condemn - unrighteously judge
- you."

     The context clearly shows the Colossian Christians had in
the past REPENTED, accepted Christ as their saviour, and were
following in His steps as a way of life. Men - unconverted men -
unrighteous men - were trying to draw them back to the world
again with false concepts and practices, they were CONDEMNING
and/or unrighteously judging the way they lived and the customs
and practices they were now observing as they followed in the
steps of Christ.

     JAMES 4;11,12, paraphrased:

     "He that speaks evil of his brother(and is angry without
cause - Mat.5:22), and judges his brother(condemns to destruction
and/or judges unrighteously), speaks evil of the law, and judges
the law(is out of sink with God's law and becomes a law unto
themselves).....There is one law giver who is able to save or
destroy(to have the final power and authority to decide life or
death is in God's hands alone), who are you that judges
another(you have no authority to condemn anyone)."


               AN OLD TESTAMENT EXAMPLE OF JUDGING


     The scriptures of the Old Testament are partly given to us
so we may LEARN valuable lessons from them(1 Cor.10:11).
     In the 22nd chapter of Joshua we have recorded for us a fine
example of JUDGING - wrongly and rightly - righteously and
un-righteously.
     Let's see what we can learn from this example in ancient
Israel.

     The tribes of Reubin, Gad, and half tribe of Manasseh, had
been given inheritance on the east side of the river Jordan by
Moses. They were still willing to serve their brethren and help
them settle over on the west of Jordan. After much time in
helping the other tribes, Joshua allowed them to go to their
homes with a blessing and with an admonition to serve God with
all their heart and soul(Joshua 22:1-6). They departed to their
allotted lands(verse 9).
     These two and one half tribes built a HUGE impressive altar
in the region of Jordan in the land of Canaan(verse 10).

     Now notice verse 11!

     The children of Israel HEARD about this. But the words
spoken were such that ANGER and righteous indignation swelled up
in them. Whatever was told to them led to the gathering together
of the tribes to "go to war against them" - the two and a half
tribes east of Jordan(verse 12).
     The majority of Israel heard - emotions grew, and as we will
see, FALSE stories based upon unrighteous judgment, not the true
facts at all - leading many to run off on some wild self-
righteous ideas which had been based on wild unfactual opinions
of a few.
     It would seem up to this point that NO ONE went to get the
truth of the matter from the tribes east of Jordan. The majority
in Israel were judging un-righteously, with blind carnal self-
righteous anger and were ready to make war with their brethren. 
     They thought the two and a half tribes were setting up their
own religious system, and departing from the words of not only
Joshua but God Himself.
     The tribes sent ambassadors to Reubin, Gad, and the half
tribe of Manasseh asking: "What treachery is this that you have
committed against the God of Israel, to turn away this day
from following the Lord....." (verse 16).
     Israel thought evil would come upon all the tribes because
of the sin of these two and a half tribes. They had judged them
as sinners, on HEARSAY only - on the words of others, on the
opinion as to what the physical looked like it was saying, but no
one had gone to the horses mouth to ascertain the plain
truth(verses 17-20).
     The two and a half tribes were BLOWN OVER - dumbstruck - by
the words and actions of the other tribes. They knew the truth -
they knew they were FREE - they knew the truth would set them
free, so now the truth was reiterated to all Israel. We find
their answer to their accusers starting in verse 21.

     They were afraid that in time the descendants of the tribes
on the west of Jordan would claim their descendants on the east
of Jordan had no part in the true God - they feared being
PUT DOWN, DIS-INHERITED - looked upon as OUTSIDERS from the
worship of the Lord and His earthly sanctuary in Shiloh.
     Therefore this is what they did to make sure this tragedy
would never occur.
     "Let us now prepare to build ourselves an altar, NOT for
burnt offerings nor for sacrifices, BUT that it may be a witness
between you and us and our generations after us, that we may
perform the service of the Lord......"(verses 26,27).

     What appeared on the surface, what looked as if it was SIN
and a departure from the way of the Lord - what led emotionally
based people to judge too quickly and un-righteously, to the
point of getting ready for warfare, WAS IN FACT AND IN TRUTH JUST
THE OPPOSITE!
It was RIGHTEOUS action! It was from a PURE heart and motive - it
was done to ensure future true service to the true God, and to
keep all Israel in harmony with that God for generations to
come.

     All ended happily when all understood the truth. Then all
could rejoice(verses 30-34).


                      LESSONS TO LEARN


     This incident could have been disastrous. The jumping to
wrong conclusions could have led to total false blindness. Israel
could have sent their armies against the two and a half tribes
WITHOUT first sending the ambassadors to ask questions. At least
they did not make that mistake, or it would have been a DOUBLE
wrong!
     They were wrong in not searching for all the evidence and
facts - hearing from the accused in answer to the accusers. If
they had not CHECKED THEMSELVES to send ambassadors with
questions, they would have added wrong to wrong! 
     And a double wrong does not equal no wrong.

     We also need to learn from this that APPEARANCE can be
deceiving - what sometimes LOOKS LIKE sin is really not sin but
righteousness, and what sometimes appears as righteousness can be
sin.
     Remember 2 Corinthians 11:13-15!

     I am reminded of the church deacon who was seen by a member
of his church going into a XXX video store. Well did it ever get
around in no short order among the membership that deacon so and
so was watching triple X movies at home.
     When this was brought to a head and out into the open the
truth came out clear and bright. The deacon was not going into
the triple X video store to rent movies but TO BRING OUT HIS SON
WHO HAD GONE IN A FEW MINUTES EARLIER!

     Another lesson. If we start out judging INCORRECTLY, that
does not mean we must continue judging unrighteously. 
     STOP!  TAKE NOTE!

     Meditate on your thoughts and actions. Double check what you
are doing. As the saying goes, "better be safe than sorry," and,
"it's never too late to learn,"

     Christians will HAVE to, will NEED to - judge - at times.

     We need to pray for the wisdom that comes from God, so we
will always do as Jesus instructed - use "righteous judgment."

     We must study the word of God to fully understand what is
SIN and what is RIGHTEOUSNESS, so we can be correct in applying
passages of scripture such as Matthew 18:15-18; Galatians 6:1;
James 5:19,20.

     Most of our judging when we need to exercise it, will centre
around the above passages of scripture.
     It is serious sins - life style sins - within the church
that we will need to judge from time to time. And quite frankly
those sins do not happen THAT OFTEN. The judging of sins as in 1
Corinthians 5 and the man guilty of practicing incest, is not a
daily occurrence. Such sins may only happen once in a long while
within the life of any church, so we need not be looking for
them, for such will usually make themselves quite manifest in
time.

     Going around "judging" should be one of the last things on
our mind. We need to know HOW and WHEN to do it, but it should be
at the bottom of our priority list as we go about living a
healthy, happy, and positive Christian life.

     Yes, problems will happen among brothers and sisters in the
church, expect them from time to time, BUT DO NOT GO LOOKING FOR
THEM! LET IT BE THE OTHER WAY - GO LOOKING FOR THE GOOD AND THE
POSITIVE IN OTHERS! 
     When problems do arise between brethren, when some judgment
must be applied, I have found the majority of them can be cleared
up if Matthew 18:15 is applied.

     We need to "go it slow" - control our emotions(study the
book of Proverbs for guidance in that area) - search for all the
facts, listen to all sides - remember there is usually two sides
to every story.


     Sometimes judging will require obtaining the KNOWLEDGE and
the WISDOM from others before coming to a final thought or
conclusion(Prov.11:14).

     Do NOT FORGET lots of prayer during such times. 

     Keep HUMBLE, for you are also flesh and blood, with personal
sins.

     When all of this is done, when times of judging are
necessary, be careful NEVER to condemn anyone to eternal death,
for "there is one Lawgiver, who is able to SAVE and to
DESTROY" and that friend is not you nor I but God alone.

     Christians must judge in this life. Christians will judge in
the age to come. Be a righteous judge - judge with righteous
judgment!  

                                      
All articles and studies by Keith Hunt may be copied, published,
e-mailed, and distributed as led by the Spirit. Mr.Hunt trusts
nothing will be changed without his consent.    

Written in June 1996
by
Keith Hunt

 
Navigation List