Judge with Righteous Judgment

Text: John 7:24

When it comes to what the Bible says about judging, many people only think of Matthew 7:1 (“Do not judge…”). They ignore the context and claim that Jesus condemned all types of judging. However, Jesus taught that there are certain judgments that we must make. We are to “judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). What does this mean? How can we make these judgments?

What Does It Mean to “Judge”?

  • Several definitions for the Greek word krino – to separate, put asunder, to pick out, select, choose; to approve esteem, to prefer; to determine, resolve, decree; to judge, to pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong (Thayer)
  • There are prohibitions against certain types of judging – hypocritical judgments (Matthew 7:1-5); condemning others for their opinions (Romans 14:1-3); attempting to declare final judgment in place of the Lord (James 4:12)
  • But we have to make selections, determinations, and pronounce things as being right or wrong – impossible not to do this; we need to be sure these judgments are righteous and not by appearance

Why We Cannot Judge According to Appearance

  • When we judge according to appearance, we are judging by the wrong standard – the standard is God’s word (John 12:48); using any other standard will lead us to the wrong judgment
  • Judging according to appearance is fundamentally about what we think about what is being judged – we are not to rely on what we think (Proverbs 14:12; Jeremiah 10:23); we are to trust in God rather than relying on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5)
  • What we think about something (how we judge it) can be shaped by many different factors – popularity (Exodus 23:2), culture (Romans 12:2), upbringing (Genesis 19:4-5), experience (Job 4:7-9), preference (Amos 7:1-6), or partial information (Proverbs 18:17); none of these are the right standard

How to Judge with Righteous Judgment

  • This is about determining what God thinks about something
  • Righteous – observing divine laws, approved of or acceptable of God (Thayer); that which is righteous is defined by God’s word (Romans 1:16; 2 Timothy 3:16)
  • How do we judge with righteous judgment? – determine what God’s word says (Isaiah 8:20); carefully evaluate what is being judged by God’s word (Acts 17:11; 2 Timothy 2:15)

The Result of Judging with Righteous Judgment

  • We will obey the Lord’s commands and abstain from sin (1 Peter 2:11-12)
  • We will accept the message of the gospel and reject false teachers/teaching (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22)
  • We will not condemn others over matters of opinion (Romans 14:1-3) – but we will correct others when they are in sin (2 Timothy 3:16-4:2)

Conclusion

  • Many people want to claim that the Bible condemns judging of any kind
  • Not only is this impractical, but Jesus said we must judge – to do so with “righteous judgment
  • We need to be sure we’re using the right standard (God’s word) and apply it as He intended us to do

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