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The Rev. Dr. Robert Bowman: “Judge Not…” (Matthew 7:1-6)

February 21, 2008

One of the most misunderstood and misapplied passages of Sacred Scripture is our Lord’s instruction in Matthew 7:1-6 about “judge not, that ye be not judged.”  A helpful exposition on this passage is the Rev. Dr. Robert Bowman’s sermon titled Judge Not… and I think it is very much a needed corrective to the erroneous interpretations of this passage.  Dr. Bowman points out that our views of God, of others, and of ourselves all come into play here:

The Lord Jesus tells us to judge justly based on the authoritative Word of God. We are to judge what is preached for soundness of doctrine. We are to rebuke sin and unbelief. What He says here, is “stop playing God.”
The Pharisees believed they were exempt from God’s judgment because they thought they perfectly measured up to God’s standards. The problem was they those were their own invented standards, not God’s. If we judge people by our own standards, Jesus says we will be judged the same way. “Self righteous judgment becomes its own gallows,” says John MacArthur.
Jesus here says that the sin of the one being criticized is nothing compared to the size of the sin of the one doing to criticism. And, here, He says that the sin is self-righteousness, which is the sin of unbelief. This is a sin that proclaims self as the ultimate authority, denying God’s love, grace and mercy, even the Gospel itself. Our Lord calls us to stop and consider the sin in our own lives. Isa. 6.

What I think Dr. Bowman is saying here is that we are called to judge righteously rather than self-righteously.

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