Summary: God is no respector of persons but we are and that is what makes us judge others wrongly. Continuing study of the Book of Romans.
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Pastor James May
JUDGING THOSE THAT JUDGE
(Romans series #5)
Judging other people by outward appearance is foolishness. God is our judge and He judges by what is in the heart. The relationship that is in the heart will always manifest itself in the outward appearance and attitudes sooner or later. Here is an illustration from a book titled “Bible Truth” by H. A. Ironside, which points out the foolishness of judging from the outward appearance.
Bishop Potter was sailing for Europe on one of the great ocean liners. When he went on board, he found that another passenger was to share the cabin with him. After going to see the accommodations, he came up to the purser’s desk and inquired if he could leave his gold watch and other valuables in the ship’s safe. He explained that ordinarily he never availed himself of that privilege, but he had been to his cabin and had met the man who was to occupy the other berth. Judging from his appearance, he was afraid that he might not be a very trustworthy person. The purser accepted the responsibility for the valuables and remarked, It’s all right, Bishop, I’ll be very glad to take care of them for you. The other man has been up here and left his for the same reason!
This self-righteous and judgmental leader of the “church” had been judged as suspicious just as quickly as he had judged his traveling companion.
Paul says to those who would pass quick judgment on another that they are without any excuse for doing so. He has been focusing on the sinner all during the 1st chapter of Romans and now he shifts to those who consider themselves as the Children of God and who judge one another according to their own set of rules and beliefs.
The whole time that Paul was preaching to the sinners of their need to repent, there were those who considered themselves righteous, standing by and nodding yes and saying Amen to his words. But now Paul turns to those who have stood by smugly, in their own self-righteousness, and says, “Who made you God? What gives you the right to judge another when you are in danger of facing the wrath and judgment of God for your own pride and arrogance!”
The sin of judging another person simply because they are different or believe different, or act different, or dress different is as big a sin as another!
People who judge other people without even giving them a chance or examining the life that they live are just like their sinful brothers. They both have an attitude of malice, gossiping, arrogance, pride, unloving and mercilessness. They might think that they are doing the Lord’s work for Him but God needs no help in judging sin or knowing the heart of a man and we have no right to attempt to take God’s place in this process.
One of the biggest problems that we have is the fact that God has left us, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, to decide what is moral or immoral for each of us. There are some things like murder, theft, lying and such that are the same for every man but then we come down to the nitty-gritty, day-to-day things that don’t seem to be covered by the seemingly greater issues. That’s where each of us begins to form our personal opinions, our personal convictions and to do what Paul says to the Philippians in 2:12, "…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."
When we are convinced that our walk with the Lord is just and holy and that we are walking according to the Will of God, that’s when we become dangerous in our attitude of pride and self-righteousness unless we guard our heart diligently.
Then legalism sets in and we decide that anyone who believes differently or who does things that we have been convicted of is living wrong and bound the fires of Hell. Legalism produces pride in the heart that we are the only ones correct and that no one else can possibly make it to Heaven unless they are just like us. Then we begin to lay out rule after rule, law after law until finally we think that we have hemmed in other people and laid out the exact boundaries of what we believe to be righteous and holy living.