Was Christ discarding principles of right and wrong when He said “Judge not that you be not judged?” You need to know!
There was a statement made by Jesus that may be the most misquoted sentence in all history. This one statement has been misused for political purposes quoted in support of homosexuality and abortion and thundered from Christian pulpits to promote the teachings that are sometimes the opposite of what Jesus actually taught. Are you wanting to look at what Jesus actually taught? We may challenge what you believe. Stick around as we ask, did Jesus really say that?
Do you know what is the most misquoted made by Jesus? You’ve probably heard someone misuse the very verse we’re going to talk about. It’s used to promote all kinds of religious and political ideals that are not what Jesus taught. If you want to be a true Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, then you need to know what He really taught, not what someone else says He taught.
The teachings of Jesus Christ are summarized in what is commonly called the Sermon on the Mount. Now this sermon Jesus covered a wide range of subjects as He explained how His disciples were to live. Now one of His statements in the Sermon on the Mount is so misquoted it is used to fundamentally change what Jesus taught. If you want to live in a daily walk with your Creator then you need to understand that even many Christian preachers have grossly misquoted Jesus.
On Beyond Today we’re dedicated to discovering the true teachings of Jesus Christ. Now do you have a Bible in front of you? If not, you need to get one because we’re going to look at what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount. Let’s turn to Matthew 7:1 Matthew 7:1Judge not, that you be not judged.
American King James Version×where Jesus says, now get to your Bible and open it up in Matthew 7:1 Matthew 7:1Judge not, that you be not judged.
American King James Version×He says…
Now how many times have you heard someone saying Jesus said not to judge anyone so who am I to say that sex out of marriage or abortion or worshipping trees and rocks is wrong. Was Jesus teaching that there are no standards of right and wrong? We all just sort of do what we feel? Well let’s look at Jesus statement not to judge in its context.
Matthew 7:1 Matthew 7:1Judge not, that you be not judged.
American King James Version×Judge not, that you be not judged.
Matthew 7:2 Matthew 7:2For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again.
American King James Version×For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
Jesus says that how we judge others is how we are judged. He then continues,
Matthew 7:3 Matthew 7:3And why behold you the mote that is in your brother’s eye, but consider not the beam that is in your own eye?
American King James Version×And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?
Matthew 7:4 Matthew 7:4Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull out the mote out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye?
American King James Version×Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?
Matthew 7:5 Matthew 7:5You hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of your own eye; and then shall you see clearly to cast out the mote out of your brother’s eye.
American King James Version×Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Now Jesus’ teaches that people have specks in their eyes, wrong ways of viewing life. He doesn’t say that there are no views that need to be corrected. He does say to first judge yourself because you may have a plank in your eye. Now Jesus is obviously using a hyperbole. You can imagine someone with a plank stick out of his eye, a 2 x 4, knocking people down and causing mayhem trying to help someone else get a speck out of his eye.
Jesus says before you judge someone else you must first judge yourself.
Now think about it, this means that Jesus must have expected His followers to understand a clear definition of good and evil and judge whether an action especially your own action or someone else’s is right or wrong. We always want to start with judging others when we should begin with judging ourselves. Yes, Jesus’ statement about judging is often to promote that there are no moral standards. The result is you and I live in a society where morality is sort of a smorgasbord of concepts of right and wrong based on each individuals feelings. Now this brings us to the next logical question.
What did Jesus teach as the standards of right and wrong? The answers are right here in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, so we just go back a little bit. Matthew 5 and we start here in verse 17 Jesus taught His disciples
Matthew 5:17 Matthew 5:17Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
American King James Version×Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
Another translation puts it this way…
Matthew 5:17 Matthew 5:17Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
American King James Version×Do not think that I have come to get rid of what is written in the Law or the Prophets I have not come to do that instead I have come to give full meaning to what is written.
Did Jesus really say that? He says that He came to give God’s law its full meaning. Now He continues
Matthew 5:18 Matthew 5:18For truly I say to you, Till heaven and earth pass, one stroke or one pronunciation mark shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
American King James Version×For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
Matthew 5:19 Matthew 5:19Whoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
American King James Version×Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Did you get that? Jesus said that He didn’t come to destroy the law of God that is taught in the Hebrew scriptures. You know the basis of all biblical moral law is contained in the Ten Commandments, Worship only the only Creator God, don’t use images in worship, don’t use God’s name in a profane manner, remember the Sabbath day, honor your parents, don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t covet other peoples possessions. Jesus doesn’t wipe out God’s law as the basis of human conduct in fact He actually expounds upon the motives for right and wrong actions promoting a radical concept of how to judge. Let’s continue here in Matthew 5, lets start now in verse 21, if you have your Bible follow along. Jesus says
Matthew 5:21 Matthew 5:21You have heard that it was said of them of old time, You shall not kill; and whoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
American King James Version×You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’
Matthew 5:22 Matthew 5:22But I say to you, That whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whoever shall say, You fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
American King James Version×But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.
Jesus teaches that His followers aren’t just concerned with not committing immoral actions but they are concerned with having morally pure thoughts and emotions that murder is a result of hatred. To stop the violence we must first change the human being. He continues in verse 27
Matthew 5:27 Matthew 5:27You have heard that it was said by them of old time, You shall not commit adultery:
American King James Version×You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY.’
Matthew 5:28 Matthew 5:28But I say to you, That whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.
American King James Version×But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
Jesus teaches that the act of adultery is a result of sexual thoughts. Control the sexual thoughts and you control the sexual actions and His radical concept of judging, it’s not just immoral to commit adultery it is immoral to look at pornography.
Are you beginning to understand just how radical Jesus’ teachings are concerning judging between right and wrong? Jesus is clearly teaching that judging any action, whether our own or even somebody else’s isn’t a matter of individual standards but must on the moral law established by the Creator of life and it is a wise person that heeds the words in the Sermon on the Mount and lives by them.
Now we have a lot to cover today about this one verse that is so often misquoted but before we continue I want to tell you about the free we’re offering for you today. If Jesus is so misquoted even in this one verse in Matthew 7 how many more of His sayings have been misquoted? If you claim to be a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ then you need to know what Jesus really taught. That’s why you need to first begin by reading the Gospels.
Go to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and then read this free booklet, Jesus Christ the Real Story. Do you know who Jesus said He was, how He fulfilled Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, how He taught His followers to live? This booklet will help you discover the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. You will find that even His Gospel message has often been misquoted, it has been used to create a sometimes counterfeit Christianity. This booklet is absolutely free, we’re not going to ask you for money. Go online right now to BeyondToday.tv to read or order your free copy of Jesus Christ the Real Story. Or if you would like one delivered right to your home you can call toll free 1-888-886-8632 that’s 1-888-886-8632 or go online to BeyondToday.tv. And you can follow Beyond Today on Twitter and join our Facebook fan page.
Ok, let’s summarize what we’ve been covering so far. Judge not that you be not judged is the most misquoted statement made by Jesus Christ. But when we read this statement in the context of the verses around it Jesus says to first remove the plank from your own eye. Think of that hyperbole that image of someone doing that before helping someone get the speck out of his eye. That means that before you judge someone else’s actions first judge yourself.
We also saw that earlier in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus clearly claims that moral law of the Hebrew scriptures outlined in the Ten Commandments formed the basis of His teachings on right and wrong. It is the standards that a Christian can use to judge that not only murder or adultery are wrong actions but hatred and lust are wrong emotions. Jesus not only gives His followers standards of judgment but teaches a radical concept that we’re just not to judge actions but even thoughts and motivations.
So now let’s look at how Jesus develops His radical concept of judgment taught in the Sermon on the Mount by going to the end of the Sermon on the Mount by going to Matthew 7. So we go to Matthew 7 and Jesus says, He’s talking about His future return. He says…
Matthew 7:21 Matthew 7:21Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.
American King James Version×Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
Are you surprised by what Jesus said here, do you understand this? It is not enough to simply believe in the person of Jesus Christ, Jesus says that right here. That’s what He said. We are play acting when we claim to be a Christian but live our lives by our own standards and ignore God’s purpose. Christianity has enough uncommitted believers, what Jesus wants are dedicated disciples, those willing to do as He said, do the will of His Father. He continues…
Matthew 7:22 Matthew 7:22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works?
American King James Version×Many will say to Me in that day,
That day means when He returns
Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’
Mathew 7:23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Does that statement give some cause for concern? It’s a truly frightening statement made by Jesus Himself. He says that many of His followers, that’s the context, will with great excitement greet Him at His return only to be told by Him, I don’t know you because you practice lawlessness. You know have you been told that Jesus came to free you from the law God? You know that may be what some preachers say. It’s not what Jesus said. Jesus Christ is returning to establish His Father’s Kingdom on this earth. He is not coming as a baby in a barn this time but as King of Kings to judge all humanity. Get your Bible out, read the words of Jesus for yourself. Go to Matthew 5, 6 and 7. It’s right there. Now He finishes the Sermon on the Mount with a parable, He says
Matthew 7:24 Matthew 7:24Therefore whoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, which built his house on a rock:
American King James Version×Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:
Matthew 7:25 Matthew 7:25And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell not: for it was founded on a rock.
American King James Version×and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
Matthew 7:26 Matthew 7:26And every one that hears these sayings of mine, and does them not, shall be likened to a foolish man, which built his house on the sand:
American King James Version×But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:
Matthew 7:27 Matthew 7:27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
American King James Version×and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.
Did Jesus really say that? Are you living your Christianity on the Rock or on the sand? I mean think about what we’ve learned about the teachings of Jesus just by looking at a few places in the Sermon on the Mount. When people say that it is wrong to judge an action like adultery or an emotion like hatred because Jesus doesn’t judge them, those people are perverting the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Understand now when I say this, no human being has the right to condemn another person, that’s God’s prerogative. But Christians are to clearly judge whether an action is right or wrong by God’s standards. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to this earth to be tortured and die a horrible death to pay the penalty for our wrong actions. It is absurd to think that He would go through death by crucifixion for us only then to teach, yeah wrong actions really aren’t that important anyways. Think about how utterly useless is the death of the Son of God for our wrong actions if God isn’t going to judge wrong actions. It’s absurd.
Now many Christians say that they are waiting for Jesus Christ’s return but because of centuries of misquoting Jesus, He said many won’t recognize Him when He does return. They will be too busy with lifestyles that Jesus Himself calls practicing lawlessness. Jesus expects His followers to learn to judge good and evil just as He judges good from evil. In fact, one of the reasons for His return, now listen to this, one of the reasons for Christ’s return is to be judge of all humanity, judge! The apostle John gives us a vision of that time in Revelation 19. He says, now he talks about the return of Jesus Christ as King of Kings and it’s an awesome time, a time when God will send His Son to save humanity. It is also a serious time when Jesus comes as the judge of humanity. Now listen to this, listen to John’s powerful description.
Revelation 19:11 Revelation 19:11And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he does judge and make war.
American King James Version×Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.
For many people this is a scary description of Christ’s return, just as Christ is our Savior He is also the judge of humanity. If this is all there is to the story, this is frightening but just because Jesus Christ is coming back to judge doesn’t mean that you have to fear His coming. Ask God to forgive you for your wrong choices and learn to do good. You know God doesn’t want to punish you, God wants to make you His child. Jesus Christ wants to save you and you can be prepared for that day, the day of the return of Jesus Christ. But you can’t do it by buying into the absolute lie that somehow God doesn’t care about good and evil and you can do whatever you want. The Creator of life has given us the rules of life. Jesus Christ upheld those rules. He died because you and I break those rules and He expects you to learn how to judge your actions and the actions of others by those rules.
Now when you order your free copy of Jesus Christ the Real Story we’ll also send you a free subscription to the Good News magazine. Now if you’re looking for answers to life’s most important questions this is for you. The Good News is a bi-monthly publication available to you at no cost. In every issue you will find articles on subjects like marriage and family what the Bible teaches you about the most vital questions in your life, how to make sense of today’s confusing world news, how to understand the Bible in the post modern society we live in and God’s amazing plan for humanity and for you personally. Go online to BeyondToday.tv to order your free subscription to the Good News or call toll free 1-888-886-8632 that’s 1-888-886-8632 and you can follow Beyond Today on Twitter and join our Facebook fan page.
While we’re joined by our two fellow hosts for Beyond Today to help us understand what we’ve been talking about today, this comment this statement that has been made by Jesus is probably the most misused or misquoted statement ever made by Jesus. What did Jesus really mean when he said judge not lest you be judged?
Well I think Gary, He was cautioning His hearers and those who read that instruction to be very, very careful that we do not get into territory that belongs to Jesus Christ, Himself and that is the area of judgment. You read through the scriptures and judgment belongs to God. Judgment is mine says the Eternal it says in other places. Judgment refers to a finality that can only come when you know all of the facts, when you know all of the heart when you know what is in the mind of an individual and to enter into a matter of judgment whether it involves something that judging evil or even judging righteousness that is in the purview of God. And it is of the heart and God is telling us that if we take that to ourselves then we are treading on His territory and its something He isn’t going to take lightly when it comes to our judgment or looking upon us.
And its our judgment, we can’t condemn other people.
No that’s only God’s.
We can’t use our standards.
It’s interesting that there’s two sides judge not that you be not judged. It’s important that we put the emphasis back on us as individuals that we need to be careful about our perspective so we better be looking at ourselves first before we are looking at others and so that brings a whole other, how many of us want to condemn ourselves? How many of us want to be judged and judged harshly? Well we don’t. And so Christ is telling us, watch your attitude, be careful of yourself, that’s where you have to have your first priority.
Well obviously there’s standards.
There is standards and you made a comment a minute ago that judgment has to be by a standard and that standard has to be God’s word it is the Ten Commandments and if we start getting into that territory, we’re not perfect we may fudge on those standards we may not fully understand them, we may fully understand the spiritual intent of everything and it becomes our standards and the judgment we render is not going to be a perfect judgment so again it cautions us not to get into the fullness of that in terms of a finality of an evaluation of someone and how we look at them.
Well how then has this has this been misused. How has that statement been misused? Obviously we are not to condemn and we’re not to take a prerogative that’s not ours but then how do people misuse that?
I think a lot of people use it as just a license to do what you want. If you say well don’t judge me, you shouldn’t judge me because Jesus said that’s not what you should do, well that means I can do whatever I want and you have to accept my behavior. But did Jesus really say that? No, He said judge not that you be not judged, yes He really did say that but that’s not He meant by it that just do whatever you want. There is a standard, there is a standard you have to live by and Christ said that you have to abide by that standard.
This scripture then is taken to allow behavior to allow certain actions or deeds and to justify them all in the sense of trying to be spiritual but in the same sense because there is no standard applied it winds up allowing a lot of things to happen that really tears down ones character and really do harm to society.
Yeah but you can’t justify that. I think that’s a key word. We use it to say, well I justify my behavior because Christ said don’t judge. There are laws that God has established that He’s going to judge by and it’s just like everyday life, you can’t drive your car 80 miles an hour in a 35 mile hour zone for long and not expect to get a ticket. There’s going to be consequences for breaking natural laws and spiritual laws as well. So certainly we have separate what’s right from wrong as best we can, apply it for ourselves and discern those situations and do what’s right.
Ok let’s use an example. Someone says I think it’s ok for me to live with my girlfriend we’re not married but we’re going to live together, now as a Christian you say wait a minute the scripture says you shouldn’t do that and they respond with you’re judging me. So what is the difference between making a judgment and condemning? How do we deal with it when they say Jesus says not to judge me, how do you deal with that?
Well if you understand the word judgment you’re not fully making a judgment on that person’s life, you’re evaluating an action you may be evaluating a temporary situation, you’re evaluating a deed and that is more in line with how other scriptures teach us to flee evil or to deal with issues that are clearly matters of right and wrong. You have to make evaluations. You can’t go through life saying I can’t judge that, that’s not my business that’s up to you. That just opens the door wide open for any type of behavior justification but we do hold to a standard of evaluation where we are required to evaluate in terms of how we should live based upon the standard of God’s word again in a right way to be able to help to another individual that may be heading off down a wrong path and making some mistakes that are going to hurt them through life style choice to evaluate that, to urge warning to give advice, that’s not getting into that realm that Jesus was talking about. That gets into areas of helping a person through evaluation that’s based upon standards.
And you can apply those standards to yourself then. You know those behaviors are inappropriate, there not acceptable to God so you need to discern that you need to differentiate what’s acceptable to God and what’s not and apply it to yourself. So in a sense we shouldn’t condemn those people, they don’t understand, they’re not applying the right principles in their life. God hates the sin but He still loves the sinner and we need strive to have that perspective as well. They don’t understand but as for me and my house I need to do what is right, I need to follow God and apply His standard in my life.
What you just said is the most important thing in understanding this and that is being able to judge sin as wrong but love the sinner. Now we can’t do that the way God does because He’s perfect and we’re not but we should strive. We should be able to recognize sin and be able to judge that is against God. This is a wrong choice and at the same time we should be able to love the person who’s making the choices. It’s a whole lot easier when you look at yourself and say I’m also a sinner and I need some mercy here too.
In just the few seconds we have left, how important is it that we understand Jesus is judge? We know Him as Savior we know Him as Master, how important is it that we really recognize Him as Judge?
You kind of talked about that at the end of the last segment that Christ is going to judge the world, we’re all going to stand before the judgment seat of Christ is what your Bible says. So there will be a judging, Christ will take a look at our lives and how we measure up to His standard. Often times we face that with fear and worry and regret and you know I’ll never be able to measure up to the standard of God. And yet God talks about the blessings that can come from that judgment as well. He talks about good and faithful servants will be blessed to be a part of His family forever. So yeah, Christ will judge the earth but necessarily mean just strict condemnation.
There’s so much more that we can talk about but I would really like to send you a free copy of Jesus Christ the Real Story. This booklet will help you discover the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. You will find that even His Gospel message has been often misquoted. And when you order your free copy we’ll also include a free subscription to the Good News magazine. Both are free, we’re not going to ask you for any money. Go online right now to BeyondToday.tv to read or order your free copy of Jesus Christ the Real Story or call toll free 1-888-886-8632 write this down 1-888-886-8632. When you go online to BeyondToday.tv you can watch Beyond Today programs and commentaries. Be sure to follow Beyond Today on Twitter and our Facebook fan page.
The Sermon on the Mount, sometimes called the Constitution of the Kingdom of God teaches us that if you want to be a true follower of Jesus Christ, if you want to have a meaningful daily relationship with your Creator, if you want an eternal reward in the family of God, then you must first get the plank out of your eye which means you must judge yourself for yourself by God’s standards of right and wrong.
Ask God to open your mind to the spiritual reality of the Sermon on the Mount. Study the words of Jesus in Matthew 5, 6 and 7 and live by them. Ask God to forgive you for breaking His rules and thank Jesus Christ for taking your penalty for breaking those rules and you’ll become a person who builds his house on the Rock. Join us next week on Beyond Today as we explore what the Bible really teaches. Thanks for watching.