The Cutting Word — Part 2

Last week I examined the current wide-spread resistance to judgment. We saw from the scriptures that God’s judgment of good and evil cannot be avoided and that those who do good welcome judgment, while evil-doers resist it.

If you read last week’s post, I hope that at the very minimum, you understand and believe that proper judgment begins with God’s Word — after all, God is The Lawgiver and Judge.

Do not speak evil of one another, brethren. He who speaks evil of a brother and judges his brother, speaks evil of the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who are you to judge another?
— James 4:11-12

At first glance the verses above seem to say that a brother can never be judged but James 4 clearly has a stern tone for those who are straying from The Lord. This chapter is addressed to proud “adulterers and adulteresses” who are to ‘purify their hearts from double-mindedness.’ This passage says that believers who are in sin should not judge and this Truth fits well with the Matthew 7 passage from last week’s post which says 

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
— Matthew 7:1-5

Jesus is communicating ‘You will be judged as you judge others, so if you judge harshly you will be judged harshly. And woe to the one who judges wrong when he himself has wrong in his life.’ In other words, woe to the thief who judges and calls another a robber! This is hypocritical judgment and God hates hypocrisy. In fact, even the world dispises hypocrisy. Hypocritical church-goers who judge others and then do exactly the same works they judge to be wrong cause much damage to Jesus, His name (see Exodus 20:7) and His church.

Now what about the honest Christian who knows that God loathes lying and who speaks The Truth with their heart and mouth (see Psalm 15:1-2)? When a liar is set before this believer can he or she say “I see a liar before me”? Of course they can! This believer is judging or discerning based upon God’s Word and is judging rightly with a good heart. In this vein, consider 1 Corinthians 2:12-16 which says

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.
— 1 Corinthians 2:12-16

Did you catch that last sentence? The spiritual man properly ‘judges all things’! How is this possible? It’s because as a spiritual man he has both The Holy Spirit and God’s Word! This spiritual man isn’t judging according to his own lusts, selfish interests or opinions, rather he is judging according to God’s Word — and that makes all the difference. 

In the New Testament, the Koine Greek word for “judge” is typically a form of κρίνω (pronounced Cree-NO) which means to cut/separate and pronounce a verbal verdict concerning right and wrong. Right judgment consists of words that cut between good and evil. In Matthew 25:31-46 we see The King sit on His throne of judgment using His cutting Word to forever divide doers-of-good from evil doers.

God is The Final Judge who will sentence all and send them to their punishment or reward, but He also allows His people to use the senses He has given them to discern between good and evil and to call evil “evil” and good “good” (see Hebrews 5:14). In fact, throughout history God has consistently committed verbal judgment into the hands of men who know and follow Him. Below I’ve included scriptures that show God’s chosen prophets, priests and kings judging — in fact, there is a whole book of the Bible (called Judges) that details the lives of people that The Lord raised up to judge Israel!

Make no mistake, proper spiritual judgment or discernment administered according to God’s Word by His chosen people is very, very Biblical, good and right! Don’t ever let anyone convince you otherwise. 

Additional scriptures: Exodus 18:13-26, Leviticus 10:8-11, Leviticus 13:1-6 (the priests evaluates the man in light of God’s law and then pronounces him clean or unclean), Deuteronomy 17:8-13, Judges 21:25 (lack of godly judgment), 2 Samuel 12:1-15, 1 Kings 3:3-28 (especially verses 9 and 28), Ezekiel 44:23-24 (speaking of priests), John 5:24-30, Romans 1:28-2:3, 1 Corinthians 5:1-13, 1 Corinthians 6:1-12 and James 2:1-13.