Judging; why the confusion?(ESV Translation)
There are two types of judging. (a) To discern a situation to be right or wrong according to observations. (b) To set or commit a sentence of punishment and or condemnation upon someone. In this study, we will be focusing on the understanding of condemnation judgment. Let’s look at some scriptures below. Jesus’ words below as recorded in the Gospels on the subject of judging and judgment.
John 5: 19-34. 19 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. 22 The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. 25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26 For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself. 27 And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment. 30 “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. 31 If I alone bear witness about myself, my testimony is not deemed true. 32 There is another who bears witness about me, and I know that the testimony that he bears about me is true. 33 You sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth. 34 Not that the testimony that I receive is from man, but I say these things so that you may be saved.
Here we see the Word of God through Jesus as Judge.
John 8: 13-18.13 So the Pharisees said to him, “You are bearing witness about yourself; your testimony is not true.” 14 Jesus answered, “Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. 17 In your Law it is written that the testimony of two people is true. 18 I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me.” Here we see Jesus and God the Father as Judge.
Read John 12: 44-50. 44 And Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. 45 And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. 46 I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. 47 If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. 48 The one who rejects me and does not receive my words has a judge; the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day. 49 For I have not spoken on my own authority, but the Father who sent me has himself given me a commandment—what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has told me.”Here Jesus explains clearly, if we reject God’s Word, the Word is judge over us.
Luke 11: 17-19 17 But he, knowing their thoughts, said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and a divided household falls. 18 And if Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul. 19 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. Here they reject Jesus and Jesus says that their sons will be their judges.
Matthew 7: 1-2 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Jesus warns us not to condemn anyone. G2919 (twice), G2920
John 7: 24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
John 8:50 Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge.
Read John 16: 6-11 Jesus, towards the end of his ministry, before he goes to the cross, makes it clear that the “ruler of this world is judged. How can this be? He has not yet been to the cross! Satan is judged by His testimony and or actions.
Above, we see God’s “Word”, through Jesus, as judge, to those who hear it, receive or reject it. Let’s look at the two types of judging in the scriptures located in the New Testament. (Some verses may cover more than one type of judging.)
The original Greek words used in N.T. scripture for judge, judgment, judged etc. Have many different meanings. They must be taken in the context of where they are used. Some words like “judgment” mean by a tribunal. Where as some seem to be exclusive to passing sentence of condemnation. G350 meant exclusively to discern.
There were 16 Greek words translated to Judge, judgeth, judgment, judging ect… They are (as in the KJV Strong’s Concordance) G2920, G2917, G4232, G1349, G1345, G1341, G1106, G2250, G144, G2923, G2919, G1348, G350, G2922, G1252, G2233 (there were even more!) Here we see the complexity of Greek language in definitions and how these many words were translated into such a small group of English words.
Two types of Judging
A) Discernment of a situation or individual as being right or wrong:
Luke 7:43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.”
Luke 12:57 “And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right?
Acts 4:19 But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge,
1 Corinthians 2:15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.
1 Corinthians 11: 31-32 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.
(B) Pronounce or Commit a sentence of punishment and/or condemnation.
Romans 2:12 For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.
James 2:12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. (See Gal:5 1-15 for the Law of Liberty, which is to “love your neighbor as yourself” and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”)
1 Corinthians 5:12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?
1 Corinthians 6:2-3 Or do you not know that the saints will judge (G2919) the world? And if the world is to be judged (G2922) by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge (G2919) angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!
The big question is this: Are we to Judge others? And if so, how?
This is what this study all comes down to. What, when, if and how are “we” to judge? Jesus instructs us not to judge or we will be judged. St. Paul tell us we are to judge angels? Is St. Paul out “of line” in saying this? (Paul is clearly referring to the “angels” as the fallen angels in this passage.) If we look again closely at the words Jesus speaks at the beginning of this study, we see that it is the Word of God that is judge. Jesus in John 1:1 is called the Word. Now this gets interesting, St. Paul tells us that “Christ be formed in you” (Gal. 4:19, Romans 8:9-11, Col. 1:27-29). So it is not us who judge, but Christ in us. What happens when we have faith in Christ? We hold fast to the Word He spoke, therefore it is reflected and evident in our lives. To have Christ in us, is to have the Word alive and active in us! Our actions, as Christians, reflect, us in Christ and Christ in us. (John 14:20)
Here is a simple analogy.
You go to the local grocery store and as you head down isle 7, you stop to pick up an item that has fallen off the shelf to the floor. You turn, stop and pick that item up and place it back on the shelf. There was a person in front of you who has also passed by it and did nothing. That person looks back to see you pick it up and says to himself; “What a jerk! It’s not his job to do that! He thinks he is so good!” Now, there is a third person who saw you pick up the item and says to himself, “Man, why didn’t I do that? I should have picked it up!” Why the hate in the one man? (John 15: 18-19)
Well, I must tell you that that is exactly what God has done for us. It was out of love that God called us in Christ before we knew him. Consider Naaman in 2 Kings 5, he never asked God for a healing. It was the Israelite girl who offered the hope, though Naaman was an enemy to her people. Or in the book of Jonah, where the sinful, non-Hebrew city of Nineveh received a prophet, sent by God to them, when they never even asked God for one. This resulted in the city turning from sin and being saved from destruction.
That individual in the analogy is convicted by your actions and in his heart, he begins to accuse you of being in the wrong. In a way, by example, you have judged him. His own words convict him by passing judgment on you! This very thing happened to Jesus as he healed people, taught truth and showed love unconditionally. Some of the people and leaders accused Him of being evil or tried to find wrong in Him because they were shamed by His actions of compassion and love. They were shamed by the true Word He spoke, which was God’s Word as the scriptures above make clear.
In the same way, we can be a positive example to the lost and a judgment to those who deny God’s Word. Demonstrating God’s Word in love is a better testimony then speaking it. We are in the sinful flesh and at war with it as we seek God, while the prideful fallen angels set themselves up as gods. They are judged by the Word, which is Christ in us. He must be alive and working in and through us! So, we are NOT to judge. It is God in Christ*, and Christ in us who is Judge. *(See 1Cor. 11: 1-16.) à (Must Read; Heb 11:7)
In summary: There is a critical lesson that is demonstrated and taught by Jesus Christ Himself. That simple doctrine is to “Walk The Walk”. Talking about Christ is a great thing, but living it is the proof of Christ in us as we are to be “new creatures in Christ”. (2 Corinthians 5:17) How else can we produce fruit to God unless the Word is working in you?
Get Christ in you! Search the gospels for scriptures on Christ as being the “Bread”, the “Word”, the “Light”, our “King” ect. in us: Ask God to help you be a shining light in the dark, that He would be glorified in your actions made possible by His power in you by the blood of Jesus Christ, our Savior, Redeemer and King. God blesses those who seek Him!