Judge Not


A. In this portion of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives instruction concerning judgment.

1. Judge: "To form an opinion about; to pronounce an opinion upon, to criticize; esp. to pronounce an adverse opinion upon, to condemn." See LUK 6:37.

2. This portion of Scripture is often wrested to mean that it is never proper to judge (criticize, condemn) others' belief system, practice or sometimes even conduct.

3. If the Lord Jesus is here teaching that critical judgment is always wrong, it would be impossible to put His teaching into practice.

a. One could not admonish another against the "evil" of critical judgment, for to do so would put the admonisher in violation of the principle. 

b. One could not even evaluate his own belief, practice or conduct for needed repentance, for such would also violate the principle.

c. God Himself would be restrained from passing judgment on the sins of men, lest He violate His own principle of "Judge not (ever)...."

4. "Come now, and let us reason together...." (ISA 1:18).

B. vs.1-2. These verses do not absolutely prohibit all judgment.

1. In the following verses, Christ gives commandments that require the exercise of judgment. MAT 7:6, 13, 15-16.

2. In v.5, Christ actually shows the circumstances under which judgment may be properly administered.

3. The following passages also require Christians to judge. 

         JOH 7:24; ROM 12:9; 16:17-18; 1CO 5:9-13; 6:3-4; HEB 5:14.

a. It is not being carnal when one judges righteously; it is the mark of the spiritual man. 1CO 2:14-15.

b. The lack of righteous judgment is a mark of carnality. 1CO 3:1 c/w 5:1-2.

c. God is displeased when He looks for judgment and finds it not. ISA 59:15.

4. Christ is rather here teaching us to not judge in such a way as will bring judgment upon ourselves.

5. We shall be judged with the judgment we judge. 

 GAL 6:7-8; JAM 2:13; JDG 1:6-7.

6. When God's children are judged, they are not eternally condemned; they are rather chastened of the Lord. 

 JOH 5:24; ROM 8:33-34; 1CO 11:32; HEB 12:5-8.     

C. vs.3-4. Christ is particularly condemning hypocritical judgment, judging others for their faults when our faults are greater.

1.  Mote: "A particle of dust; esp. one of the innumerable minute specks seen floating in the sunbeam; an irritating particle in the eye or throat."

2. Beam: "A large piece of squared timber, long in proportion to its breadth and thickness, such as is used in house- or ship-building, where beams from important parts of the structure."

3. The Sermon on the Mount is largely dedicated to correcting the errors of Scribes and Pharisees. This was another of them. MAT 23:24: ROM 2:1-3, 17-23.

4. David is an example of a man who sternly judged another for a fault when he had a greater fault. 2SA 12:1-7.

D. v.5. Before judging others we must first judge ourselves and correct our faults.

    PSA 51:10-13; LUK 22:32; 1CO 11:31.

1. The man who casts the beam out of his eye is the one who sees clearly and is able to judge others.

2. By contrast, he who does not correct himself yet corrects others is a blind leader. LUK 6:39-42.

3. Casting a mote out of a brother's eye requires:

a. gentleness. GAL 6:1.

b.  occasionally sternness. GAL 2:11-14; JUDE 1:22-23.

c. respect. PHIL 2:3.

d. patience. 2TI 2:24-25; 4:2.

e. cooperation. 1PE 5:5; PRO 13:18; 15:32 ct/w 1SA 25:17.

E. Forms of judgment which are unlawful are: 

1. judging out of one's sphere. 1PE 4:15.

2. judging unwarrantably. ROM 14:2-5.

3. judging presumptuously or hastily. DEU 13:12-14; PRO 18:13.

4. judging unmercifully. ISA 29:20-21; JAM 2:13.

5. judging inconsistently. DEU 16:18-19; JAM 2:9; 3:17.

6. judging superficially. JOH 7:24; 2CO 10:7.

7. judging conjecturally. 1TI 6:4.

8. judging highmindedly. ISA 65:5; ROM 11:20.

F. Here are some further considerations.

 1. Brethren should be characterized by tenderheartedness and compassion one of  another even as God is of us. PSA 103:13-14; EPH 4:32; 1PE 3:8.

       a. This compassion may extend towards the ignorant. HEB 5:2.

       b. Not everyone in error is a deliberate, scheming enemy of truth and God.

       c.  However, there is such a thing as willing ignorance. 2PE 3:5; ROM 1:28.

       d.  Discernment is obviously needed when judging ignorance. JUDE 1:22-23.

 2. Tenderness and compassion do not rule out necessary rebuke.

       LEV 19:17 c/w PRO 27:5-6; PSA 141:5; JAM 5:19-20.

 3. Be cautious not to take issue with every word spoken in error. ECC 7:20-21.

G.  Thus, "Judge not, that ye be not judged" is not an indictment of all judgment.

1. It is a warning against judging hypocritically.

2. It is a warning against judging unlawfully.

3. It is a warning against not judging when one should do so.

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The Cincinnati Church is an historic baptist church located in Cincinnati, OH.