Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
John 3:18 – Scripture of the Day (February 10, 2014)
Picture this. You’re in the passenger seat of a car that is speeding down the Interstate at 100 mph, and your spouse/significant other/friend is behind the wheel. As you pass the posted sign that advertises the speed limit at 70 mph, you say to the driver, “Hey, you need to slow down! You’re speeding!” Haven’t we all done something like that?
Now, imagine that your spouse/significant other/friend turns to you and retorts, “Who are you to say that to me? You’re not the judge! You can’t judge me! You can’t condemn me! You’re judging me right into a speeding ticket! You’re judging me right into a fine! You’re judging me right into jail time! How dare you?!?!”
It’s hard to imagine someone saying something like that to you in such a situation, isn’t it? I mean, come on! It’s a pretty ridiculous thing to say, considering the circumstances. After all…
- You just saw the 70 mph speed limit sign, and therefore you saw the speed that the law of the land was allowing in that area.
- You then saw that the speedometer of the car your spouse/significant other/friend was currently driving was at 100 mph, 30 miles over the speed limit advertised by the law of the land.
- Therefore, you recognize that your spouse/significant other/friend is guilty of violating the law of the land, and in fact is ALREADY guilty of it even though so far he has not been stopped by a police officer, given a ticket, pronounced guilty by a judge, and given a punishment of a fine and/or jail time.
- So even though you are not a police officer or legal magistrate and did not in fact write the law of the land concerning the speed limit in that area, you know what the law of the land is and therefore have no problem telling your spouse/significant other/friend that they’re breaking that law because you are concerned about them (and yourself also.)
- And you recognize that you’re not in fact “judging” them into anything. If any negative consequence – any condemnation from a cop or a magistrate – comes upon them, it is their own fault, not yours. They are the ones breaking the law, not you.
Which is why I’m sure that, if your spouse/significant other/friend was ludicrous enough to say something like that to you, you would retort that such a statement was extremely foolish, to say the least.
Any idea where I’m going with this?
How many times have you tried to tell someone that they are in sin, and yet no matter how kindly and gently you tell them (Eph. 4:15; Gal. 6:1; 2 Tim. 2:24-26) they come back with a similar statement of “How dare you judge me?! You’re not the judge, God is! You’re judging me right into hell! Who gave you that right?!”
Granted, I’ve seen in the church more times than not people admonish others over a perceived violation of nothing more than 2 Opinions 3:16 rather than any actual scriptural command or principle that’s actually found in the Bible, and in such cases the retort that God is your judge rather than them is correct (Rom. 14:1-4, 10-12).
However, that is not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about a situation in which you encounter someone who violates an actual command or principle that is revealed in the Word of God. In such a situation, are you really “judging them into hell” by simply telling them that they are wrong and in sin, especially if you do so the way in which God commanded? Are you REALLY condemning them, or are they in fact already condemned? Think about it…
- You have read in your Bible the actual commands that they are disobeying, and you have taken into complete and honest account EVERYTHING that God’s Word says about that particular matter (Ps. 119:160). (Very important, because a lot of times we don’t do this, you know…)
- You have seen with your own eyes them disobeying that verse, and you have already talked with them about it to make sure of it. (Also important, because a lot of times we either listen to gossip or we jump to conclusions, something God doesn’t want us to do – John 7:24)
- Therefore, you recognize that their belief in God is in fact weak in this particular area due to their disobedience (cf. James 2:14-26) and they are guilty of breaking the laws of God, and in fact are ALREADY guilty of doing so in the sight of God.
- So even though you are not God and his Word did not originate with you, you know what his Word says about this matter, you also recognize that his Word has commanded you to not keep quiet about the matter, and so you have no problem “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15; Gal. 6:1; 2 Tim. 2:24-26) to this person because you are in fact concerned both about their soul and yours.
- And you recognize that you’re not “judging” them into hell at all. If any condemnation comes upon them, it will come from God, not you, and in fact has ALREADY come upon them barring their repentance…because they’re the ones sinning, not you.
Don’t let the “you can’t judge me” people intimidate you, folks. While we are not to judge hypocritically or with unrighteous standards or according to appearance (Matt. 7:1-6; John 7:24a), we are in fact commanded to judge righteously (John 7:24b). In other words, judge with the Righteous Standards that have already been put in place which will be used on that last day (John 12:48; Rev. 20:11-15).