Did Jesus Judge the People Who Rejected Him? (Y1.T2.D38)
Updated: Apr 14, 2022
Unsplash; "Timothy Eberly"
No, he didn't. In John 12:47–48, Jesus states:
If anyone listens to my sayings, and doesn’t believe, I don’t judge him. For I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He who rejects me, and doesn’t receive my sayings, has one who judges him. The word that I spoke will judge him in the last day.
This is why I love reading the Bible so much. No matter how many times I do it, God offers me new insights. He provides me with information necessary to my current circumstances. For years I’ve quoted memory verses about how we should not judge others, but until today, I missed the part where Jesus exemplified this.
And if he did it, so should I.
Now to be clear. Jesus didn’t judge non-believers, but he provided instruction on how to address sin within the brethren:
If your brother sins against you, go, show him his fault between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained back your brother. But if he doesn’t listen, take one or two more with you, that at the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the assembly. If he refuses to hear the assembly also, let him be to you as a Gentile or a tax collector. (Matthew 18:15–17)
When someone accepts Christ as Savior, they are asking God to be lord and master of their lives. This makes them citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20) and, therefore, subject to God's laws.
Paul reminded the church in Corinth of this same thing:
But as it is, I wrote to you not to associate with anyone who is called a brother who is a sexual sinner, or covetous, or an idolater, or a slanderer, or a drunkard, or an extortionist. Don’t even eat with such a person. For what do I have to do with also judging those who are outside? Don’t you judge those who are within? But those who are outside, God judges. “Put away the wicked man from among yourselves." (1 Corinthians 5:11–13)
With that said, we need to be careful; there is a fine line between actual sin and perceived sin. Consider what Paul wrote to those in Rome.
Why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (Romans 14:10)
Who are you who judge another’s servant? To his own lord he stands or falls. Yes, he will be made to stand, for God has power to make him stand. (Romans 14:4)
Paul wasn't contradicting himself. The church in Corinth needed to stand up against a congregant who was blatantly sinning—having sex with his father's wife (1 Corinthians 5:1)—while to the church in Rome, Paul addressed divisions related to what was or wasn't okay to eat (Romans 14:1–3).
Therefore, when it comes to non-believers, I leave the judgment to God. And when it comes to nonessential practices, I leave them to God as well. But when interacting with believers with outright immoral behavior that defies God or injures the neighbor I've been called to love, I need to say something, gently and privately at first—and then in a spirit of intervention and love.
It's Not Always Easy
42 Nevertheless even many of the rulers believed in him, but because of the Pharisees they didn’t confess it, so that they wouldn’t be put out of the synagogue, 43 for they loved men’s praise more than God’s praise.
44 Jesus cried out and said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me, but in him who sent me. 45 He who sees me sees him who sent me. 46 I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in the darkness. 47 If anyone listens to my sayings, and doesn’t believe, I don’t judge him. For I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 He who rejects me, and doesn’t receive my sayings, has one who judges him. The word that I spoke will judge him in the last day. 49 For I spoke not from myself, but the Father who sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. 50 I know that his commandment is eternal life. The things therefore which I speak, even as the Father has said to me, so I speak.” (John 12:42–50)
1 Now accept one who is weak in faith, but not for disputes over opinions. 2 One man has faith to eat all things, but he who is weak eats only vegetables. 3 Don’t let him who eats despise him who doesn’t eat. Don’t let him who doesn’t eat judge him who eats, for God has accepted him. 4 Who are you who judge another’s servant? To his own lord he stands or falls. Yes, he will be made to stand, for God has power to make him stand.
5 One man esteems one day as more important. Another esteems every day alike. Let each man be fully assured in his own mind. 6 He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it. He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks. He who doesn’t eat, to the Lord he doesn’t eat, and gives God thanks. 7 For none of us lives to himself, and none dies to himself. 8 For if we live, we live to the Lord. Or if we die, we die to the Lord. If therefore we live or die, we are the Lord’s. 9 For to this end Christ died, rose, and lived again, that he might be Lord of both the dead and the living.
10 But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11a For it is written, (Romans 14:1–11a)
17 Israel will be saved by Yahweh with an everlasting salvation.
You will not be disappointed nor confounded to ages everlasting.
18 For Yahweh who created the heavens,
the God who formed the earth and made it,
who established it and didn’t create it a waste,
who formed it to be inhabited says:
“I am Yahweh.
There is no other.
19 I have not spoken in secret,
in a place of the land of darkness.
I didn’t say to the offspring of Jacob, ‘Seek me in vain.’
I, Yahweh, speak righteousness.
I declare things that are right.
20 “Assemble yourselves and come.
Draw near together, you who have escaped from the nations.
Those have no knowledge who carry the wood of their engraved image,
and pray to a god that can’t save.
21 Declare and present it.
Yes, let them take counsel together.
Who has shown this from ancient time?
Who has declared it of old?
Haven’t I, Yahweh?
There is no other God besides me, a just God and a Savior.
There is no one besides me.
22 “Look to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth;
for I am God, and there is no other.
23a I have sworn by myself.
The word has gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and will not be revoked, (Isaiah 45:17–23a)
24 They will say of me,
‘There is righteousness and strength only in Yahweh.’”
Even to him will men come.
All those who raged against him will be disappointed.
25 All the offspring of Israel will be justified in Yahweh,
and will rejoice! (Isaiah 45:24–25)
12 So then each one of us will give account of himself to God.
13 Therefore let’s not judge one another any more, but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block in his brother’s way, or an occasion for falling. 14 I know, and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean of itself; except that to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. 15 Yet if because of food your brother is grieved, you walk no longer in love. Don’t destroy with your food him for whom Christ died. 16 Then don’t let your good be slandered, 17 for God’s Kingdom is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then, let’s follow after things which make for peace, and things by which we may build one another up. 20 Don’t overthrow God’s work for food’s sake. All things indeed are clean, however it is evil for that man who creates a stumbling block by eating. 21 It is good to not eat meat, drink wine, nor do anything by which your brother stumbles, is offended, or is made weak.
22 Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who doesn’t judge himself in that which he approves. 23 But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because it isn’t of faith; and whatever is not of faith is sin. (Romans 14:12–23)
Help me not judge, so I won't be judged. Help me not condemn, so I won't be condemned. Help me set free, so I will be set free (Luke 6:37). For with whatever judgment I judge, I invite You to judge me on. And whatever measure I used upon another, I ask you to measure me by that as well (Matthew 7:2). You alone know and see the human heart (1 Samuel 16:7).
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