Jesus Commands Us To Judge Correctly
February 27, 2010
Jesus says in John 7:24, “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.” This is a command. A command to not judge? A command to parrot, “Judge not that you be not judged”? No, we can read that that is not what He is saying at all. He is commanding that we DO judge, but to do so in a correct way. Not only by appearances (which can deceive), but rightly.
So how do we do that? It is by having His Holy Spirit’s guidance. For Jesus also says a chapter later, “He who belongs to God hears what God says.” (8:47) And He ends the verse with: “The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”
In John 10:27 Jesus tells us, “My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me.” Therefore, if we belong to Him, He knows us, we know His voice, and we will follow His leading. His voice is the leading of the Holy Spirit (since we worship the Triune God.) As Jesus says in John 16:7, “It is good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” And what will He do? Jesus tells us in verse 8: “When He comes, He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment.”
Indeed, this is how we judge. For it is actually Him judging through us. And if we are filled with His Holy Spirit, we will be making judgments in regard to these three things. And we will have discernment –which means “the ability to judge well.”
Jesus goes on to say in verse 13 of John 16, “But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all Truth.” And verse 14: “He will bring glory to Me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you.” If worship services are not uplifting Jesus, speaking of what He did for us and what we must in turn do in following His commands, but are instead exalting experiences, grandiose testimonials, a certain man or ministry, angels, or exciting manifestations of the supernatural, then that spirit could not be The Spirit of Truth. For the Holy Spirit only exalts Jesus. And He only teaches what Jesus taught (–or the Word of God, who is Jesus –see John 1:1,14 & Rev. 19:13.)
For Jesus again says, “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:26) I take note of the words “all” and “everything” in this verse. Especially when I see how many “Christians”, including many preachers, focus on only certain Scripture passages that are not too unbearably convicting… or that will support a pet doctrine of theirs –even if it be taken out of context.
So… the true Holy Spirit will guide us into all Truth, will remind us of everything Jesus taught, and will help us judge correctly.
Part of this judging is to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” (1 John 4:1) The way we test is to test their words and behavior against what God’s Word says. It’s true that verses 2 and 3 tell us, “Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.” However, in comparing Scripture with Scripture, we know that someone’s words can be deceptive, and if a person is claiming to believe in Jesus, His death, burial, and resurrection, yet continues in sin, such as “sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed… such a man is an idolater– [he then has no] …inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” (Eph. 5:3,5)
So it is their behavior that we are to also test, as well as their words. Both are “their fruit” which Jesus refers to in Matt. 7:16 that we will recognize the false prophets by.
Verse 6 of Eph. 5 goes on to warn: “Let no one deceive you with empty words [like, "Oh, I believe in Jesus..."], for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.” –For God hates disobedience, and He will condemn all such people to Hell. (Matt. 18:7-9 & Luke 13:3 & Rom. 1:18 & 2 Thes. 1:8,9)
Let’s look at what 1 Cor. 5:12,13 command: “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. ‘Expel the wicked man from among you.'” And who is this wicked man? Verse 11 tells us the type of man and the judgment (action) we are to take against him: “You must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.” And 2 John 1:7-11 includes such a judgement also against those who are deceivers / false teachers. Let’s note that John pronounces two judgments against them: The action of shunning (v. 10), and… deeming it “wicked work.” (v. 11)
These are right judgments. And they are to be applied by all those who have God’s Spirit in them. –Always with the leading of That Spirit. –And with 1 Peter 4:11 in mind: “If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God.” Certainly by applying this, one should consistently make correct, fair, appropriate, and “right judgments” –as Jesus said to do.