First Presbyterian Church

302 Summit Street | Winona, Miss. | 662.283.2487

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Judging, Discernment, and Applying God's Word

Posted by Ryan on September 23, 2013 at 10:50 AM

   On Sunday night we had some very good discussion on some of the various components of the Christian life. One of the things that we discussed was “judging.”

   Sometimes you will hear people say something to the effect of, “It’s not for us to say...” Somehow Satan has inserted into Christian circles the idea that Christians are not to “judge.” After all, Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matt. 7:1)? Satan is very skilled at twisting God’s word.

   When Jesus spoke there (as the context shows), He was condemning people who had added to God’s word and pronounced others guilty before God on the basis of something other than God’s Law.

   While it is true, on the one hand, that Christians are not to “judge” that does not free us from our responsibility to be discerning. In fact, we do not judge per se, God has already judged in His word, and we simply apply His judgments. God’s word is His Law, His commands for how His people are to live.

   In fact, Jesus continues in Matt. 7:6 by commanding the saints to judge, discern, and show wisdom in dealing with people. In Matt. 7 the Lord Jesus Christ is commanding believers to be merciful and slow to judge, yet not freeing them from the responsibility to discern someone’s character from his life and response to the gospel.

   God has given commands in His word for how His people are to live. If a person refuses to live by God’s standards, he is probably not a Christian at all.

   For example, I’ve mentioned before that I’ve heard people say, “I’m a Christian and all, but I don’t go to church...” In light of God’s word, such a statement is quite damning. It’s no sin to doubt someone’s Christianity when he or she refuses to follow God’s commands.

   We do not get to decide which of God’s commands and God’s judgments to follow. We must obey all of them, and continually seek His mercy for when we fail.

   In Matthew 7, Jesus is warning His disciples about folks who may give “lip-service” toward spiritual things, but show by their lives that they have no desire for the true things of God, or to repent and serve Christ the King.

   As God’s people, it is our duty to proclaim God’s truth and be discerning as we apply it in all our interactions.

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