The point of judgment is to provide justice.
Judgment isn’t an end to itself. It is the means by which justice is dispensed.
When self-appointed discernment groups set themselves up as judges they should examine their motives to see whether they are doing so to produce justice or to be judges without a cause. Judgment without justice is legalism.
They have said many times that they are licensed by God to deliver righteous judgment, but on what basis? Is it to deliver justice or to perpetuate blame?
Are they the only people in this particular convocation who are given license to judge with what they call a righteous judgment, or are we all, as believers, given equal responsibility and empowerment to deliver judgment? If they can judge us are we also permitted to judge them?
If so, what judgment are we permitted to judge them by, and is justice a part of the process, or, once judged, are they to be held to their guilt without opportunity for clearance?
Where are your accusers?
According to Jesus, we should not judge because we will be judged with the same judgment. He is not eliminating judgment altogether, but he is telling us that to judge we must first ensure that we are without blame.
In fact he says that the one who judges should first of all examine themselves to see of they are free of blame before judging another. He also used this in a living example when lawyers sought to accuse Jesus by presenting an adulteress before him for his judgment.
However, Jesus first asked her accusers to state that they were blameless before he would give his verdict. Each of the accusers slinked away knowing that he was also guilty of some sin that would be equally judged to be a transgression against God. Then he asked the woman where her accusers were, telling her that, if they no longer accused her, neither did he, but that she should go and sin no more.
Justice was dispensed. The end result was that the woman, despite her sin, was given another chance to identify her sin, to repent, and determine to resist the temptation going forward.
That, then, is God’s opinion of judgment at this time. It is a means to an end, which is to bring about a justice which leads a person to change. Jesus came to save the sinner, not to condemn them.
Righteousness is the antidote to sin
How does God save a sinner? We are sent to present the antidote – righteousness. We preach the good news that Jesus has died at the cross to pay the price of our sin and to give us the opportunity to repent and end the regime of sin in our lives. That is justice in action.
The Holy Spirit convinces us of sin, righteousness and judgment. When we hear the gospel preached, we know in our hearts and in our conscience that we have resisted God and been rebellious against Him, but that He is offering us a free pardon through faith in Jesus. Who is being judged in this transaction? It is the wicked one who is judged. See what Jesus says about this.
John 16:7-11 “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.”
The sin in question – the one which holds us back from eternal life – is unbelief. It is rejecting Christ.
Righteousness is of faith, because we do not see Jesus, yet we believe in him. Righteousness is by faith in Christ.
Judgment is of the ruler of this world, the adversary, who is already judged.
People are judged if they reject Christ and continue to be under the sway of the wicked one. They are judged with the adversary’s judgment. God doesn’t need to judge them at this point. They are already judged by their own sin.
Jesus did not come to condemn the world. He came to bring justice to the hearts of all who would turn to him.
John 3:17-19 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
If the Son is not condemning the world, and the Father is not condemning the world, why would the Church be condemning the world? Those who are condemned are judged by their own unbelief. If they reject the Son of God they are condemned already. They have preferred darkness to light. They love their evil deeds too much to repent.
But it is clear that Jesus was not sent into the world to condemn anyone. He came to bring justice because everyone was subject to the sin nature introduced by Adam’s rebellion. The sin nature inherited from the first man prevented us from being able to resist sin. We could not walk in righteousness, no matter how hard we tried, no matter what we did, no matter how much we attempted to follow the Law. We were condemned by that failed nature to a life separated by sin from the Father.
The solution of the cross
The whole purpose of the cross was to redress that situation. It was God’s judgement that the enemy of Christ should be judged, and therefore those who follow him, but that those who reject the devil and determine to follow Christ would be pardoned, forgiven, washed clean and accorded righteousness.
He was not judging us. He was bringing justice. He brought us to justice through the work of the cross. He paid the price of our sin and judgment by justice was dispensed. He was not condemning us. He was saving us.
Saved people are called the just. They are justified. They are no longer guilty.
This is not because of their works, or their deeds. It is because of God’s justice, mercy and grace towards the fallen world. It is by their confession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who justifies us.
We do not clear ourselves. We are cleared by faith in Jesus.
There is nothing we can do to clear ourselves. He has already cleared us at the cross. We cannot even have our own righteousness. We are credited with his righteousness. We become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.
Judgment is overwhelmed by justice to those who believe, but that justice was dispensed through the grace of God. We were judged. We were condemned. But Christ took our punishment – death and separation from the Father – and we were released from the judgment through faith in him. We were justified. Justice was served.
What is a righteous judgment?
What of the claim that the CWs make that they are licensed to judge with a righteous judgment? Well they take it from an event where Jesus had healed a man in a synagogue on the Sabbath and, when he went up to the Temple, was accused of breaking the Mosaic law that says we should not work on the Sabbath.
John 7:21-24 ‘Jesus answered and said to them, “I did one work, and you all marvel. Moses therefore gave you circumcision (not that it is from Moses, but from the fathers), and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the law of Moses should not be broken, are you angry with Me because I made a man completely well on the Sabbath? Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”
What was the context of this righteous judgment?
John 7:18 “He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.
‘Seeking the glory of the One who sent him.’ That is the context by which Jesus tells the lawyers that we should not judge by appearances but by obedience to the call of God on a person’s life.
Jesus was sent to seek and save the lost. He was sent as the Messiah with the signs of the Messiah. He was anointed to heal people, deliver people, and save people. He was appointed to herald the acceptable day of the Lord.
God doesn’t judge by the outward appearance but He judges the heart of the man. This is not a license to disobey God or operate outside of the Word and Spirit whilst saying you believe in your heart, but it does mean that each of us is responsible for the call God has placed on us.
We are all called to bring justice into the world, but not the world’s justice, or the world’s judgment. We are called to bring righteous judgment and assess a person’s viability by their obedience to the call of God on their lives. What are they sent to do? What is their purpose under God?
It is not a license, as the CWs claim, for condemning people for not believing the same things the CWs state to be true. It is not about setting up new laws that imitate the Mosaic pattern for judging people to be morally, spiritually or ethically correct or virtuous. No one but Christ attains to this, not even the CWs. It is our position in Christ that brings us to righteousness, not our human works.
The CWs seek to reintroduce a form of circumcision, written in their own terms, for those they oppose, and by which they judge with their contrived ‘righteous judgment’, which is, in fact, a binding and permanent set of rules by which they seek to hold people and enslave them to their own precepts.
This is not the purpose of righteous judgment at all.
Judgement should aways lead to justice.
There is no justice to seeking to find fault in a person and reiterating that fault ad infinitum in countless articles on an anonymous blog. Justice would seek to find a solution, to dispense mercy and grace where it is necessary, and to do all in our power to find a way to assist a person to be clean before God. The only way to be made clean is through a heart-felt faith confession of Jesus as Lord.
Groups we have discussed here, it seems, have never sought justice as an end to the means of judgment, or they have never made justice their aim in their articles or defence of their judgmental stance.
They only purvey judgment, and that from a position of being hampered by the short-sightedness that comes from having huge beams in their eyes with which they brow-beat their quarry, who may or may not have a speck in their own eye. How could they tell with such a log to heave about?
And there is a definite log-jam of accusations, insinuations, opinions based on half-truths and innuendo on their sites that show the sheer obsessiveness with judgment that seriously mars their own approach to what Christianity is, or what the grace and mercy of God stands for, or what the call of a believer is, or of what the gospel message consists, or the very motive of the cross to bring the justice of true righteousness to a fallen world through faith in Jesus.
If I have a speck in my eye I would like the gentle salve of healing, please. How does a nurse remove a speck from a patient’s eye? With a log? I prefer the attention of a clear-eyed medic who can see that speck and remove it in love, not smack me around the head with their own beam of judgmental attitudes that renders them blind to any kind of assistance they could provide if they were clear of contention, or the indignation of legalism.
It is plain to see, for those of us who do seek the justice and liberty provided by the gospel message, that the CW sites are chockablock full of judgment. It is all unresolved and unresolvable. There seems to be no intention on their part to seek justice, or find a way to close the book on any or all of the claims they make against people.
I, like many others, have commented in the past on their sites and received the judgment, including false accusations, that they and their supporters mete out. I’m not complaining, just pointing out what takes place when anyone ventures into their mine-field of judgment. Anyone can read through their threads and see this, so I am not making it up.
They are judges who will be judged by the same judgment they judge others.
People talk to them about the levels of judgment they apply, and, to date, these groups always, yes, always, attempt to justify their judgmental stance, and will apply that same level of judgment to anyone who tries to let them know just how they come across.
But there is no justice being sought. No end to the judgment. No purpose to it except to condemn and hold the person judged to that judgment regardless of whether they have spoken to God about things and repented or not, regardless of whether they have written in to correct these groups, or regardless of whether they are shown to be incorrect about their assessments or overbearing in their opinions.
Only one Judge
But, look, the only Person with the credentials to dispense justice and judgment is God Himself. He will do so at the end of the age. He will, one day, call time on this age of grace and introduce the time of wrath preceding the time of judgment, when all who are not saved will stand before His throne and be judged for their words and deeds.
Until then, we should seek justice over judgment and allow the Holy Spirit to be the One who follows the Word preached with conviction of sin, righteousness and judgment. We should also examine our own motives on a regular basis, ad not allow ourselves to be caught up in the same kinds of controversy, but rather seek first God’s kingdom and HIs righteousness.
Our task is the good news. Our reward is souls saved as the stars of the sky.