Who Has the Right to Judge?
by Tom Stewart
April 4, 2000
Scripture is plain that God is the Judge of All the Earth (Genesis
18:25), and implicitly has the right to judge. When the LORD Jesus Christ declared
that "all power
[or, authority] is given unto Me in Heaven
and in Earth" (Matthew 28:18), we were given the foundation
of the understanding that He is the KING of Kings, and LORD of Lords (Revelation
19:16) that will soon return to judge the Earth. "And
I saw Heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called
Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war" (19:11). Jesus testified that the Father
"hath committed all judgment unto the Son" (John
5:22). Therefore, it is correct to say that the Son of God has the right to judge.
"I can of mine own self do nothing: as
I hear, I judge: and My judgment is just; because I seek not Mine own will, but the
will of the Father which hath sent Me" (5:30).
But, what mere man has the right to judge? "Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?" (Isaiah 2:22). Unless the Son of God authorizes a man to exercise judgment, that man is a pretender and usurper, much like the Antichrist. "Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God" (2Thessalonians 2:4). However, if the LORD Jesus Himself decrees the circumstances in which a man can and ought to exercise judgment over another man, then that judgment is righteous judgment. "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24).
"Judge not, that ye be not judged" (Matthew 7:1) is the commonly quoted verse for why Christians aren't supposed to judge. But, remember that the LORD Jesus COMMANDED us to "judge RIGHTEOUS judgment" (John 7:24). "Judge not, that ye be not judged" (Matthew 7:1) was spoken to those who had "beam[s]" in their own eyes. They were "hypocrites", meaning that they were guilty of the sins they judged in others. "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" (Matthew 7:3-5). Notice that the LORD is NOT saying we should not judge by casting the mote out of thy brother's eye, but that we need to see clearly when we judge, and not be hypocrites. The LORD is warning us about judging others when we are guilty ourselves, "for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again" (Matthew 7:2). It is ONLY the righteous that can judge righteous judgment, because only the righteous can SEE clearly. They have no "mote[s]", or sins, to block their vision.
"God's people are to imitate God in the exercise of holy judgment, i.e., 'Judge not, that ye be not judged... Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you' (Matthew 7:1, 6). Lest an improper interpretation of verse one (i.e., that Christians should not judge) hinders us from exercising GODLY judgment, verse six reminds us that God's people MUST DETERMINE THE DIFFERENCE between 'holy' and 'dogs', 'pearl' and 'swine'. The very concept that Christians should not judge, flies in the face of the teachings of the New Testament. The Apostle Paul gave us the example of readiness to judge, i.e., 'For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed' (1Corinthians 5:3)" (excerpted from our more comprehensive article, "Judge Righteous Judgment" ---New Window).
"But HE THAT IS SPIRITUAL JUDGETH ALL THINGS, yet he himself is judged of no man" (1Corinthians 2:15). A Spiritual man is a man who follows the Spirit-- he is righteous. A righteous man is not judged by any man because he hasn't done anything wrong that needs judging. He follows the Spirit, not the flesh. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Romans 8:1). There is "condemnation" to them who walk "after the flesh", and that is why righteous judgment is needed. It is our duty to "judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24). "He that is Spiritual judgeth ALL things" (1Corinthians 2:15). Because righteous judgment is God's COMMAND to the "Spiritual" man, our obedience to Him is joyfully given. "It is JOY to the just to do judgment: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity" (Proverbs 21:15). God wants judgment, and we must want what God wants or else we can't walk WITH God. "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3).
In conclusion, remember these two powerful verses showing the authority we are to have in judging righteous judgment.
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