“Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”
— John 7:24
Hello, Friends! 😊
How many times have you judged someone or a situation based on what you saw before you knew the truth? Have you run out of numbers, yet? It might seem to be a laughing matter but for those who died wrongful deaths, or, were wrongfully imprisoned, find no reason to roll on the floor, hysterically.
And like the few … I too got the message and had to come into the knowledge of the truth to escape the bondage and recompense caused by misjudgments. I never knew how much of an effect judgment by sight had compared to judgment by truth. I learned the hard way (many years ago from a fallen state) how to rise up and judge, righteously. It took a penitent heart to turn from the error (by the power of God) and to learn to judge as Jesus commanded—RIGHTEOUS!
And, by what means did I use to ascertain the truth about righteous judgment? The word of God through discipleship under the pastor/bishop God gave to feed me with knowledge and understanding.
Let’s define key words from our focal verse (above)—
First, “judge” properly means, to distinguish, i.e., decide (mentally or judicially); by implication, to try, condemn, punish. According to our focal verse, it refers to those who conclude in their process of thought to be right in judgment, but are dead wrong, because the high thing (intellect) in them exalts itself against the truth. See how dangerous it can be to make a decision before ‘truth’ is revealed? Look at how simple it is to judge based on what we thought, then force a conclusion with a sentence … not with any truth mind you, and not with any time put in to search for the right answer? How many times have we missed this one? This is the way of the ‘slothful’ in judgment.
“The sluggard (slothful) is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.”
— Proverbs 26:16
Second, “appearance” properly means, sight (the act), i.e., (by implication) the visage, an external show (or appearance). This is in line with those who walk backward, that is, they walk by sight, not by faith—which is not forward, of course. It shows a distinguished mark between God’s submitted sheep who naturally walk forward vs. non-submitted sheep who not only walk backward, but in many other directions, and conduct themselves unrighteously.
As for the submitted sheep (church folk), any backward move constitute an act of unbelief. We who know the truth … walk in truth …and… we are known by God because we strive to walk by faith, not by sight, according to the scripture (2 Corinthians 5:7). We look unto Jesus Christ who is the Author and Finisher of our faith, not upon our own reasonings and judgments especially in times to make critical decisions (Hebrews 12:2).
Third, “righteous” means, equitable (in character or act); by implication, innocent, holy. This word is used to single out certain people as just, right, or conformable in relation to justice or righteousness, from God’s perspective. It mainly pertains to those who walk in accordance with what God requires.
Fourth, “judgment” means, decision by vindication or condemnation.
Special Reference: From the ethical point of view, we are commanded in scripture not to judge others according to appearance (John 7:24), or according to the flesh (John 8:15). The reason not to judge others (by sight or the flesh) is because our judgment, at best, can only be based on partial knowledge (or biased intel). Remember, we only know in part, and therefore, should strive to know it to the fullest. The counsel of the Lord is available and needed so we can judge, righteously through the Spirit. Without the Spirit of Truth we have NO perfect point of reference.
Another critical point to note is that, we are not ‘entirely’ aware of the inner lives, motives, and principles of others. We are not fully acquainted either with the ancestral conditions of their actions, or the possibilities of justification, or of progression, or adjustments their future may contain. That information (if it is given) will come from the Lord and given directly to His chosen vessel (pastor/bishop) to help those in need to overcome their past, and current secret faults … just to mention a couple.
Both the Lord Jesus Christ and Paul clearly express caution in one man’s judgment over another even if the outward evidence seem to convince those present (John 8:11; 1 Corinthians 4:5). This is the reason we are enjoined to exercise patience and forbearance in the interest of an individual, and of the church.
This teaching is incorporated in the parable of the tares (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43) and in Paul’s teaching in Romans 14.
~End Reference: Zodhiates
~Modified: D. Rudolph Gibson
Leaders of Truth—
We cannot escape the truth of the matter—God’s pastors/bishops are both the absolute necessity for His Church to grow righteously, and to be built up in Him as established before the foundation of the world—they watch for our souls and give God an account of our order, and steadfastness of faith in Him; they teach and preach to us in all wisdom, so that they may present us perfect in Christ Jesus.
Did you know that not many in the church are knowledgeable of the roles of God’s pastor/bishop? Many think of him/her as the preacher who delivers the messages on Sunday’s and Bible Study nights. But, that’s the easy part of their call and appointment.
Although, the majority of pastors and bishops are not called of God to His pulpit (but by another source), the few who are His chosen vessels readily feed us with knowledge and understanding … straight across the board!
I am reminded of what Paul wrote, “We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.”
— 1 Corinthians 4:10-13
Followers of Truth—
We learn to be responsible true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ to walk obedient under the authority He placed in our local assemblies. We need to know those who labor among us, or we will suffer the risk of eternal judgment.
There are so many things to learn under God’s leadership. For, instance:
- Doctrine of Christ.
- Repentance from dead works.
- Faith toward God.
- Doctrine of Baptisms.
- Laying on of hands.
- Resurrection of the dead.
- Eternal judgment.
— Hebrews 6:1-2 … and this is only the tip of the iceberg….
These are critical areas for our spiritual growth after we have completed the first stage of the salvation process—to repent, and believe the gospel; to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and to receive (or, continue to wait to receive) the gift, that is the baptism, of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 4:17; Mark 1:15; Acts 2:38).
We can live a righteous judgment lifestyle if we follow those righteous leaders God appointed to each local assembly for His Church, overall; they follow Him through daily cross bearing; the fellowship of His sufferings; naturally caring for the state of the people; and so much more….
Truth before judgment is the absolute value of righteousness and godly knowledge (of the truth) before any answer is given. For, without truth there is NO righteous judgment. That’s right, and without truth there is NO God. But, He is truth and the Spirit of truth …AND… He liveth and reigneth, forever!
Consider the following truth passages:
- (John 14:16-17) And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
- (John 15:26-27) But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
- (John 16:12-13) I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
- (1 John 4:6) 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.
We know that God is eternal. He cannot cease to exist. Therefore, He cannot lie, i.e., He cannot fail to be who He is—the Spirit of Truth WHO will not allow any liar (by lifestyle, i.e., who loves to lie) to dwell with Him … only the upright (righteous) shall dwell in His presence (Psalm 140:13).
In order for us to judge righteously, we must be upright, know the truth …and… yield, submit to (and obey) the Spirit of truth:
- hear the truth;
- believe the truth;
- receive the truth;
- love the truth;
- do the truth;
- walk in truth….
Finally, KNOW GOD FOR WHO HE IS ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES—the Eternal Spirit of Truth; and the Truth Source.
- (John 8:31-32) Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
- (3 John 1:4) I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
Please, be sure to know the truth, then judge righteously, or else it will backfire!
In Christ We Do Remain
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