Now that we’ve covered some of the passages that prohibit or discourage judging, it’s only fair that we search the scriptures to see if there are times or instances wherein we are allowed, and even encouraged to judge. The more I meditate on the topic of judging the more nuanced and intriguing the topic becomes and what was to be a short post on the matter seems to be turning into an entire series.
I want to begin with a scripture not attributed to Paul, or some Old Testament figure, but rather to Christ Jesus himself. There are those who seem to have an ongoing problem with Paul the Apostle of Christ nowadays. Some consider that he was too much of a misogynist, that he had a problem with the sisters and so prohibited them from leadership in the churches; others think he was too legalistic, while on the other side of the spectrum he is considered too grace oriented. Personally I believe that if we don’t like what someone has to say, we will diligently seek out something to besmirch their reputation with thereby justifying our dismissal of their position. This however, is not a study on the veracity of Paul as a true Apostle of Christ, or whether or not the Pauline epistles ought to have been included in the scriptures, because I’ve already made my position clear and I think it is a divisive issue that has already been decided by sovereignty itself. This is a study on judging, and the principles of judging, and so we will proceed with the passages that encourage us to judge.
John 7:24, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”
1 Corinthians 5:1-5, “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles-that a man has his father’s wife! And you are puffed up and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged, as though I were present, concerning him who has so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
1 Corinthians 5:11-13, “But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner – not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore ‘put away from yourselves that wicked person.’”
Now before continuing with the scripture passages encouraging us to judge, I wanted to point out something important in the previous verses. It is one of those passages that is often misinterpreted, and because it is misinterpreted we have the tendency to close ourselves off, to become isolated and do nothing to affect the dying world beyond our front door. The verse tells us not to keep company with anyone named a brother who is a fornicator, covetous, an idolater and so on. The key to this passage are the three little words ‘named a brother’. God does not expect us to run off into the hills, He does not expect us to isolate ourselves that we not keep company with those of the world, but He does expect us not to keep company with anyone named a brother that still practices the works of darkness. The Word even goes so far as to warn us not even to eat with such a person.
Hypocrisy is not only vile and abhorrent, it is something God hates with the burning passion of a thousand suns. If someone is calling themselves a brother, yet is still a fornicator, is still covetous is still an idolater, is still a reviler a drunkard or an extortioner, then that person is a hypocrite who will only bring shame to the house of God, who will only cause those of the world to shake their heads at the hypocrisy on display and associate all believers everywhere with that one individual who is a brother in name only yet whose actions betray the darkness of his heart. It is because of this association with those who are brothers in name only, it is because of this generalization and the subsequent rejection of Christ by those of the world due to the actions of those who ought to be His ambassadors that there must be discipline within the house of God, that we might be above reproach and perpetually point the way to Jesus in truth and righteousness of heart.
Matthew 18:15-17, “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear you, take with you one or two more, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.”
So here we are, having covered scripture that forbids us from judging, as well as scripture encourages us to judge, and the question that must be asked is how do we resolve this apparent contradiction of scripture? Are we allowed to judge, or are we not allowed to judge?
Over the next few posts I hope to answer these questions, as well as get into the details of when and how we are to judge scripturally.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.