Saturday, October 4, 2014

Healthy Christians judge rightly

Luke 6:27 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you."

Luke 6:37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned."

Luke 6:47 "Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like"

Today's post is all about identifying the marks of a healthy Christian. Jesus' teaching in Luke 6 is a parallel account of His first ever public sermon in Matthew 5-7, the Sermon on the Mount. In that inaugural sermon Jesus lays out what will be the necessary foundations for the Apostle's New Testament teaching. We could in effect say that what we gather from the Sermon on the Mount constitutes the foundations for the Christian life. Every child of God should desire a healthy Christian walk. Thus in the opening above three verses (Luke 6:27,37,and 47), we see depicted those three marks, which are listed below:

1. Healthy Christians love their enemies. Luke 6:27

2. Healthy Christians exercise right judgment.  Luke 6:37

3. Healthy Christian exercise instant obedience. Luke 6:47

Yesterday we looked at the first mark of a healthy Christian: Loving one's enemies. Today we will explore the second mark: Exercising Right Judgment.

Healthy Christians exercise sound judgment.  Luke 6:37-46
Luke 6:37 states: “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned." Between this verse and its parallel Matthew 7:1, perhaps no other statement has been made as popular and misunderstood as this remark by Jesus. In the parallel of Matthew 7:1-2 we read these words: “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you." 

What exactly did He mean when He said: "do not judge"? If you read later on down to Matthew 7:5, we glean this insight: "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye." The word for "judge" can refer to distinguishing between two options or alternatives, separating or dividing up something. Certainly the idea of rendering a legal decision is included in the meaning of this word in various other passages. It seems here that Jesus is referring mainly to practicing right decision making. To judge something rightly means to see an object or a person as they really are and then to act or respond accordingly.

Such ability to exercise discernment is one of the marks of spiritual maturity (see Hebrews 5:14-15). Healthy forms of judgment or decision making are extolled elsewhere in the Gospels. Perhaps the best commentary verse on Luke 6:37 is in John 7:24 "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” What happens whenever we exercise proper judgment or fail to do so?

a. Right judgment knows how to handle God's resources. Luke 6:38

b. Whenever right judgment is not exercised, vulnerability to error is increased. Luke 6:39-40

c. Whenever right judgment is not exercised, the chance of hurting a fellow believers is increased.  Luke 6:41-42

d. Right and wrong judgment can be easily spotted. Luke 6:43-45

Thus the need for discernment or exercising proper judgment is not suspended by this text. If anything, we need as Christians to exercise caution in this world. Healthy Christians love their enemies and exercise right judgment.

More tomorrow.........