Nepaug Bible Church - http://www.nepaugchurch.org - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes - http://www.nepaugchurch.org/pm/pm20121003.htm
THRU THE BIBLE EXPOSITION
Matthew: Jesus As Israel's Messiah And His Kingdom
Part XI: Christ As Israel's Messiah By His Surpassing Righteousness
P. The Biblically Consistent Righteousness Of Christ's Subjects Regarding Judging
Lesson: God does not want us constantly to critique other people, but to make sure we are upright in our own lives before we pass Biblical judgments on others, and to be careful to voice our judgments only if we know that doing so will edify and be received toward the betterment of our hearers' lives!
- When Jesus said that one's righteousness had to exceed that of the scribes and the Pharisees if he were to be a part of the Kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:20), he had to clarify to His Hebrew listeners how that could be, for the Pharisees adhered to the principle of Halacha, "concern for every jot and tittle of performance" regarding the Mosaic Law, Zondervan Pictorial Ency. of the Bible, volume Four, p. 748.
- Matthew 5:21-7:6 provides many illustrations of Jesus' point, with Matthew 7:1-6 exampling how His kingdom righteousness on the subject of judging far surpassed that of the Pharisees (as follows):
- The Biblically Consistent Righteousness Of Christ's Subjects Regarding Judging, Matthew 7:1-6.
- The Pharisees notoriously passed judgment on others around them: Jesus alluded to this in His Luke 18:9-14 parable of the Pharisee and the publican who went up to the temple in Jerusalem to pray. The Pharisee thanked God that he was not a wretched sinner like the publican due to his righteous works of fasting and giving tithes where the publican, a man who knew he extorted money from others, confessed to God that he needed God to be merciful to him as a sinner. Jesus concluded that the publican returned home justified versus the Pharisee who relied on his own and thus imperfect righteousness, Romans 3:23.
- Thus, Matthew 7:1-6 shows how the Pharisees missed God's righteous standard on judging (as follows):
- Jesus' Matthew 7:1 call to "judge not" literally means "stop passing judgment" (me krinete = pres. impv. indicative of krino, "pass judgment" with the subjunctive negative adverb, me, "not," U. B. S. Grk. N. T., 1963, p. 22; The Analyt. Grk. Lex., 1972, p. 240-241). Errant judging activity was ongoing with the Pharisees, and, for everyone's sake, including the Pharisees, it needed to cease.
- The reason for this call comes from the fact that in the same way one judges another, he himself will be judged not only by other people, but by God, and that to the same measure they judge, Matthew 7:2.
- However, contrary to the beliefs of some, this does not mean we should never make a judgment about another person, for in Matthew 7:5, Jesus acknowledged the need to address the speck in a brother's eye! Besides, Scripture in various places directs us to judge others such as Church leaders who must judge who they must not quickly publicly recommend or condone (1 Timothy 5:22). Jesus' point is NOT that we should never judge others, but that we must CORRECT our OWN lives BEFORE we can BIBLICALLY judge others lest we receive retaliatory judgment from others and also from the Lord, Matthew 7:3-5:
- Christ expressed His opposition to a party hypocritically beholding and thus judging the "speck" (karphos, "speck, chip, a small piece of straw, chaff, wood, etc.", Arndt & Gingrich, A Grk.-Engl. Lex. of the N. T., 1967, p. 406) that was in his brother's eye when he had a "beam of wood" (dokos, Ibid., p. 202) in his own eye, Matthew 7:3.
- Jesus noted the great hypocrisy of one telling another to remove the "speck" in his eye when he had a "beam" in his own eye, indicating that the critic is often blind to his own problem as shown by the illustration of the man's judgment being skewed due to the blindness created by the beam in his eye, Matthew 7:4. Not only would God judge such a critic, but others would retaliate, denouncing him with his own judgment made in his blind miscalculation, declaring him to be a hypocrite!
- Accordingly, Christ directed that we clean up our own life before judging another, Matthew 7:5.
- In judging others, Jesus added we must criticize only if our critique will be received, or the critiqued party will retaliate even if our criticism is correct. We must not cast our pearls of corrective wisdom before swine, lest they trample them under feet and turn again and tear us to pieces, Matthew 7:6 NIV.
Application: May we heed Christ's admonition on judging that we judge in righteousness and wisdom.