“For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.” — Isaiah 33:22
You’ve heard it “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” People say this all the time. The problem is that Matthew 7:1 quoted all by itself is out of context. I saw today’s verse and that verse immediately popped into my head. Let’s look a little deeper into what the Bible says about judging and answer the question: Who’s the Judge.
It has been my experience that when someone quotes Matthew 7:1 it is usually because they believe no one has the right to judge them; not to even admonish from the Bible. Because when they are judged they are afraid that the sin in their lives will be exposed. But you will see when we put it in context, Matthew 7:1 is not saying that we should not or cannot judge, it is saying that when we do we need to be careful in “how” we do it. To get the whole gist of what Jesus is saying in this passage we need to read Matthew 7:1-5:
Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.
God never says that we should not judge … on the contrary, God expects us to judge. Jesus was pointing out that in order to have a clear picture of “how” to judge others we must first remove anything in our own life that might be clouding our view. That does not mean that we must first be perfect before we judge others because if we needed to be perfect then no one would be good enough to be the judge. A good judge will judge himself. Because as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:30-31: “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep [many are dead]. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.” The fact of the matter is that if we make a choice NOT to judge ourselves and make improvements and good choices, then God will judge us Himself. Many of the trials and tribulations that we face in life are simply the result (consequence) of our refusal to judge ourselves and correct things when necessary.
When you do a study on “judge” or any other form of that word in the Bible you will find that it is used over 700 times. In fact, the Bible has a whole book entitled “Judges” that was written at a time when everyone did what was right in his own eyes. This was when God first instituted the Judge. So then, back to our question: Who is the Judge? Let me present just a few Bible passages that speak to this:
The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment. (Psalm 37:30)
Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the Lord, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph. (Amos 5:14-15)
The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace. (Isaiah 59:8)
Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (1 Corinthians 1:10)
But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. (1 Corinthians 2:15)
Now when I read the above passages it becomes blatantly clear that WE are the judge. I see that the Bible says:
- If we are righteous (same as saved in God’s eyes) then we “talk” judgment
- To hate evil and love good we must judge
- Our lack of peace in the world today is a direct result of people refusing to judge
- Likeminded people (Christians) likemindedly make judgments
- When we are spiritually minded we have the characteristic of being able to judge all things
Friend WE are the Judge. As saints we are going to judge the world! (1 Cor 6:2). Satan has handed us a lie. He wants us to believe that it is wrong for us to judge because he knows when we judge as we should that we are continually judging ourselves first and preparing ourselves to better serve the Lord. This pleases the Lord and anything that pleases the Lord is something that Satan will use to make us doubt our faith and please our flesh.
In fact, if we are not the Judge than we must ignore all of the passages above as well as others, like Romans 16:17-18; 2 Corinthians 6:17; 2 Timothy 3:5-6 and 1 John 4:1.
God expects us to be the Judge, if not then we cannot trust these Scriptures and if we cannot trust some of the Bible then we cannot trust any of it. Our standard for truth and righteousness is God’s Word not our own feelings or opinions or what someone else tells us we should or should not do. Don’t believe the lie. Because when you do you are guilty of judging. You cannot prove a lie without judging it against the truth.
It is true as we look at today’s verse in Isaiah, the LORD is the ultimate Judge. He will judge our works against whether or not we did them to the glory of God or out of a love for our neighbors. Then we will be rewarded according to those works that stand the test of the fire (2 Cor 5:9-11). We know this as the Judgment Seat of Christ and all believers will stand there. But though our works might burn like wood, hay and stubble we will still be saved from the wrath of God (1 Cor 3:15). He will also judge the unbeliever at the Great White Throne, but this will be to determine the severity of punishment because when we die in unbelief we cannot go to heaven (John 3:18).
God’s word is truth, either you believe that or you do not. Study it out. You be the Judge.
Things to Think About and Do
1. Look up Romans 16:17-18; 2 Corinthians 6:17; 2 Timothy 3:5-6 and 1 John 4:1 and meditate upon what these passages say about judging.
2. Look up Proverbs 24:23, what does it say about judgment?
3. What must we first do before we judge someone else?