You Be The Judge
"You're judging, and the Bible says for us not to judge!"
How many times have you heard a reply like this while examining religious error in the light of the scriptures?
The scripture referred to is Matthew 7:1- - -"Judge not, that ye be not judged." But, in the same chapter, verse 20, we read, "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." And, as Gutherie Dean said so well during a gospel meeting, "We can be pretty good fruit inspectors" while we let the word of God do the judging.
What does Matthew 7:1 and Luke 6:37 really mean? Does Jesus prohibit civil judgment of the courts upon evil doers? No. This is approved throughout the Bible (example: Romans 13). Does He prohibit the judgment of the church upon those who walk disorderly? No. Both He and the apostles have commanded this example: 1 Cor.5:12; 6:1-4). Does He forbid private judgments of wrong doers? No. We are to judge men by their fruits (Matt.7:15-20). Does He prohibit rash unkind judgments, a fault-finding spirit, a disposition to condemn without investigation? Yes. The context proves this to be the case. He is dealing with an unrighteous attitude. Furthermore, Jesus taught, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24).
Judgment By The Word
In the judgment day God shall judge the secrets of men's lives and judge them according to the gospel (Romans 2:16) through Jesus Christ as Judge (John 5:22). Jesus also said, "the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day" (John 12:48).
The word says that some religion is vain and some is pure (James 1:26-27). "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven," said Jesus, "but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 7:21). "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" (Matt.15:9). "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error" (1 John 5:1,6). These scriptures reveal that some religions are false; their doctrines originate with man, not God; and their worship is unacceptable. Only those who do the will of God practice pure religion. Now, let's inspect the fruit of various religious groups and let the word of God judge whether it be vain or pure.
By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them
1. Some deny the divinity of Christ. The won (which will judge us in the last day) says "Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead" (Romans 1:3, 4). Nonetheless, some deny this.
2. Some reject the law of Christ. The word says, "But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious" (2 Cor. 3:7,11). And that which remaineth is the law of Christ. But there are many who reject it.
3. Some forbid eating meats at certain times and forbid some of their number to marry. The word says, "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meat, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth" (1 Tim. 4:1-3). Know any religious group that does this?
4. Some recognize one in authority who exalts himself to be head of the church on earth. The word says, "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped so that he is as God sitteth in the temple of God shewing himself that he is God" (2 Thess. 2:3, 4). This happens today and many are deceived, but the Bible further states, "there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Tim. 2:5).
5. Some glorify men instead of Christ. Their religious names, organizations, plans of salvation, work of the church, and worship are without divine authority. The word says, "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ" (1 Pet. 2:5). The church was purchased with Christ's blood (Acts 20:38). "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end" (Eph. 3:21). "Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up" (Matt. 15:13). "The seed is the word of God" (Luke 8:11).
Beloved, is the religious group with which you are identified practicing pure religion or is it vain? Was the church of which you are a member purchased with Jesus' blood or did it originate with man? Is its name, organization, plan of salvation, work, and worship found in the word of God? If you continue in your present condition, will you be saved or lost? Read what God has to say, then -- you be the judge!