JUDGE NOT?

Today the most quoted verse in the bible is “judge not that you be not judged,” however; there is question as to how our Lord’s command is being interpreted. It would appear from our text that Paul had no fear of judging or leading others to judge, when it was done correctly. 

clip_image002 “Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision.” Philippians 3:2

To the culture Paul was addressing, dogs were not beloved pets but dangerous scavengers.  When Paul used the term evil workers, he called his hearers to discern good from evil in people, and a false circumcision is a false religious leader. 

The contrast that Paul draws is between those who walk in the spirit and those who place their confidence in the flesh, verse 4.  It matters not that a person calls himself a Christian, if they have not had a change of heart.  We all begin with animosity toward God because of the sinful, rebellious disposition within us, but the Christian repents of sin and turns toward God. Repentance is a matter of direction not perfection. 

Paul warns against those false professors who identify with Christ but inwardly deny Him by magnifying religious, human, and moral “goodness” in men.  Paul could identify with religious prowess, as stated in chapter 3, “If someone thinks he has good reasons to put confidence in human credentials, I have more:” 3:5.  Paul was not speaking from religious conceit, or as a self appointed judge, but as a good shepherd he sought to protect his flock from dangerous wolves, i.e. false prophets.

Paul, however, was transformed by the power of Christ, and as a result he could lead by example, “be imitators of me, brothers and sisters, and watch carefully those who are living this way, just as you have us as an example” 3:17Such talk on Paul’s part was not empty conceit but good Biblical discernment between good and evil; the good being produced by the grace of God. 

That shepherd who does not teach his flock how to effectively discern good from evil is not a good shepherd; neither does he walk in the steps of His chief shepherd. “I am the good shepherd,” Our Lord said, “The hired hand, who is not a shepherd and does not own sheep, sees the wolf coming and abandons the sheep and runs away.  So the wolf attacks the sheep and scatters them.” John 10:11-12

Today, men are preaching a prosperity Gospel that God exists to serve men rather than the reverse, that walking down an aisle is equivalent to a transformed life, that man is not so corrupted to affect his will so that he can still choose Christ without being regenerated first, and the best way to build a church is to not offend people by preaching them the Gospel. 

In light of such gross Biblical error, the need for good shepherds is greater than ever before!

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