Judgement is such an important issue in the church and for every person in the world, not just the Christians.
Paul writes about judgement and hypocrisy in this section of scripture for they are connected in some ways and some cases. If I were to summarise this section using a modern saying it would be,
“It takes one to know one.”
Often it is those who are judging others that are the worst offenders for doing the very same things. This was Paul's primary complaint in this section of scripture. But there is even more to the matter of judgement that makes it worse then even the issue being judged.
First up though let us look at what Paul was speaking of in this scripture. He said in verses 1-3,
1 Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3 Do you suppose, O man-you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself-that you will escape the judgment of God?
Those who are committing some form of sin are often the most vocal opponents of others found committing the same sins. And yet their own position is worse on two counts.
First, they are committing the sin and presumably hiding it from others. To do so requires a degree of dishonesty, which makes the actions worse for it magnifies the sin. Second, they are acting in hypocrisy and if there is anything The Lord hates it is a hypocrite.
Look at how Jesus spoke about the Pharisees whom Jesus labelled hypocrites (check Matthew 23 for some examples).
Why did He hate hypocrisy? Because a hypocrite cannot be trusted. They consider themselves to be better than others when they are not, which is pride and arrogance. There is no humility or obedience in hypocrisy and it is these things The Lord seeks His people to aspire to.
And so the hypocrite is judged by God and even worse than the person committing the same sin as they are guilty of.
Taking God's Place
The second problem with judgement is that it is not our place to judge others. Note in the following scripture from 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 that although Paul writes of judging those who are blatant sinners in the church, he rightly shows that it is God who is the real judge of those outside.
12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
Note also the words of James 4:11-12.
11 Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
There is only one to whom judgement belongs and that one is God. No man has the right to judge and when they do, they are taking the place of God. They are putting themselves into the place of God who has the right to judge, condemn and acquit according to His purposes and standards.
But when a man judges another, especially when they are doing much the same things themselves, they are standing in the place where only God can and should stand. This should not be so and we must be careful not to do this ourselves.
Finally there is the issue of self judgement. Too often we are too ready to be critical of ourselves and to judge ourselves wrongly.
It is by this action that many are convinced they are still sinners, even when The Lord died to set us free from sin. It is by self judgement too that the devil keeps people under his evil thumb as he binds them up in guilt and self-condemnation. After all, guilt and self-condemnation are just another form of judgement.
But Jesus came to set us free and to break the binds and bondages that keep mankind under the power of death and the domain of sin. The devil on the other hand will do everything he can to convince us that we are NOT set free.
So do not let the devil have his way. Reject him by turning to The Lord and in faith accepting the freedom from sin that He died to win for us. Look at what Paul had to say about self judgement in 1 Corinthians 4:3-5
3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.
What Paul is talking about here is self-judgement and he is clearly saying not to do it. It does not mean we Christians will escape judgement, but it is not our place to judge others and especially it is not our place to even judge ourselves. Leave it to God for that is His right and His role.
Repentance is also key when we make mistakes. As Paul says back in Romans 2:4-5, it is by our hard and impenitent hearts that we are storing up wrath from God on the day of judgment. But when we turn to God in repentance we humble ourselves under his mighty hand in full recognition of His sovereignty seeking His mercy.
When the people of the world are living sinfully and when they judge others, the solution is to come to God in humility and repent of the wrongdoing seeking His mercy.
And God has offered his forgiveness to us if we do come to Him. Likewise when someone does something wrong against us we too need to forgive if they ask for it and not to judge. That is what God is seeking of His people and we are to leave judgement to Him.
You might also like:
Woe To You Scribes And Pharisees Hypocrites
Greatest Among You Shall Be The Least
You Shut The Kingdom Of Heaven Against Men
Woe To You Blind Guides
Straining Out A Gnat And Swallowing A Camel
You Are Like Whitewashed Tombs
Killing The Prophets
To Serve The Lord Serve His People
Authority Of Jesus
Lord Of The Sabbath
Beware The Leaven Of The Pharisees 2
Marriage In Heaven
Four Reasons Why Cleaning Up Your Act Is Not About Looking Good
Three Ways How To Be A Hypocrite And Then To Avoid It
Five Reasons Why Jesus Didnt Like Lawyers
Three Things To Learn About Leavin Leaven Alone
Its Always Right To Do The Right Thing
Do What You Say
The Cover Up