I have a friend that I like very much who is as lost as a goose flying north in a snowstorm. He talks about how he went forward and was congratulated (by Billy Graham personally) on his salvation but his life bears no “Christian Fruit”. He is a super nice guy, but that is not based on Biblical teachings. I recently mentioned a pastors convention and the question was asked, “How much percentage of your parishioners are saved?” This guy says, “Who are they to judge?”, etc.
My question is this, what does the verse, “Judge not, that ye be not judged” Matthew 7:1, and the several other like verses mean to Christians? Am I not allowed to see a man with no Christian fruit (who is currently living in sin with a women, but not being convicted) that claims salvation and talk to him about his need for salvation? I’m somewhat confused because I see so much of this type of “Christian” today.
Thanks so much for a very good question. Matthew 7:1 starts out warning us to be careful about judging others, “Judge not, that ye be not judged”. We need to always “look at ourselves” before we “look at others.” It gives an example of trying to judge someone else for a tiny “mote” in his/her eye, when we may have a huge “beam” in our own (vss. 3,4). The point is clear, we are not ready to judge another person, until we have judged ourselves.
That point is affirmed in other Scriptures as well. “But let a man examine HIMSELF…” (Holy Bible, I Corinthians 11:28). “For if we would JUDGE OURSELVES, we should not be judged” (Holy Bible, I Corinthians 11:31). That is an exact echo of the meaning of Matthew 7:1,2. The Bible principle is clear — we reap what we sow. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Holy Bible, Galatians 6:7). If we go around with a critical spirit, looking for faults in others, then that is exactly how others will treat us.
So the Bible is very clear — BE WILLING TO JUDGE SIN IN YOUR OWN LIFE FIRST. If we do not, then verse 5 tells us what people are going to think of us and our criticism — that we are “hypocrites.”
Having done FIRST THINGS FIRST, then the Bible does tell us that there is a time to judge others around us. Notice that same chapter (Matthew 7), and verses 13-23.
Verses 13 and 14 deal with eternal life. There is the “broad, wide” way that leads to destruction (verse 13). Notice that “MANY there be which go in thereat.” MANY are following the wrong road, and thus are not going to have eternal life. Then there is the “narrow, strait” way that leads to life, eternal life (verse 14). But carefully notice how many are taking that road — FEW. So the end result of those verses is that most people upon the earth are taking a road which is leading them straight to hell. How can that be, when so many people have a “religion?” Because someone is leading them astray.
That is where verses 15-23 come into focus. These “leaders” are “false prophets” (verse 15). Why do “religious” people follow false prophets? That verse tells you why, because they come in “sheep’s clothing.” They appear to be “children of God.” They appear to “know the Lord” (verses 21-23). So how do you know who is, and who is not? The Bible tells you to JUDGE THEM according to their fruit (verses 16-20). They claim to be saved and leading people in the right way, but are they? You have to judge their fruit to know. Their fruit is “corrupt” and “evil.” So the Bible tells us that WE MUST JUDGE THEM, or be in danger of being led away in error.
A “noble” Christian is one who JUDGES EVERYTHING that he hears. What is the standard by which all things are to be judged? The Word of God. “These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, AND SEARCHED THE SCRIPTURES DAILY, WHETHER THOSE THINGS WERE SO” (Holy Bible, Acts 17:11). Everything they heard, they went home and judged according to the Word of God. People had better get used to that, because that is exactly what people will face when they stand before God. “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the WORD that I have spoken, THE SAME SHALL JUDGE HIM in the last day” (Holy Bible, John 12:48).
Please notice the example given of “false prophets” in Matthew 7:21-23. It is a classic example of “ravening wolves” in “sheep’s clothing.” Notice carefully verse 22. MANY are going to say this to the Lord. Not a few, but MANY. What are they going to say?
They are going to say, “Lord, Lord.” They are going to know the name of the Lord, and use it frequently.
They are going to say that they “prophesied in thy name.”
They are going to say that “in thy name have cast out devils.”
They are going to say that “in thy name done many wonderful works.”
These people surely must be saved, right? They always talk about the Lord. They go around prophesying in the Lord’s name. They cast out devils in the Lord’s name. They do wonderful works, miracles, in the Lord’s name. They have to be saved, right? WRONG. Look at verse 23. The Lord is going to say to them, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Those people are “religious,” but “lost.” WE HAVE TO JUDGE THEM, OR PEOPLE WILL BE LED AWAY IN THEIR ERROR.
Now let me ask you a question. Can you see from those verses some modern-day leaders that we should judge? Leaders that appear to be “sheep,” but are really “wolves?” Leaders that teach their people to use the Lord’s name frequently? Leaders whose emphasis is almost entirely “prophesying, casting out devils, and doing wonderful works or miracles?” It is about impossible to miss. Verse 22 exactly describes the Charismatic Movement of our day. “Many” are being led away into their error.
We are in a desperate situation in America. We have Christians who are not willing to judge anything. They are not willing to first judge themselves, and repent of their sin. Nor are they willing to judge false doctrine when they see it or hear it. We find so-called Christians living in open sin, and seemingly with no shame. We find professing Christians who are going to Charismatic churches, and seemingly cannot see the multitude of unscriptural doctrines and practices. We find a multitude of men joining in with such movements as the “Promise Keepers,” whose goal is to “break down denominational barriers.”
What are those “barriers?” Doctrine. Bible doctrine. For the sake of “unity,” they are willing to forsake their stand upon God’s Word. They have twisted Matthew 7:1 to its limit. OUR PROBLEM IS THAT WE ARE NO LONGER WILLING TO JUDGE OURSELVES, OR OTHERS. Because of this, we are seeing the giant build up of a “one world church.” A church where “no one judges anyone or anything.” In our day, the Charismatic Movement, and the Promise Keeper’s Movement are being used to build such a gathering. In such days, who will stand up and judge according to the Word of God? Who will stand upon the Word, and the Word alone? Will you be that one?