The Problem Of Judging People (3)

Feature Article The Problem Of Judging People 3
MAY 8, 2022 LISTEN

MANY PEOPLE, particularly Christians, have been taught erroneously that they are not supposed to judge one another. Those who teach this way often quote Matthew 7:1-2 to buttress their argument. However, this inaccurate interpretation of Scripture has been appropriately discussed in the previous editions. Paul, the apostle, explains it clearly that Christians judge themselves, but God judges unbelievers (1 Corinthians 5:12-13).

It is important for us to understand that Christians are expected to judge themselves in order to build up one another, correct one another and save one another. But we are not called to judge one another to destruction. If our motive or purpose for judging is to promote self-righteousness, tear apart, break away, destroy, shame and disgrace, then, our action is not inspired by God (Romans 14: 10, 13).

Often times I hear some Christian leaders teach that, “Christians will judge angels.” But they do not make it clear whether they will judge the elect angels who are sinless and therefore serve in the presence of God or the fallen angels who do the bidding of Satan. Sometimes many questions flood my mind about our ability to judge angels.

One question you must ask yourself is: How can Christians judge angels when many consider it morally inappropriate to judge their own behaviours, or find it difficult to judge fellow human beings who sin against themselves? We should know that our ability to judge angels, whether the elect or fallen will largely depend upon our ability to judge our fellow Christians who practice sin.

I believe Paul carefully and intentionally discussed the judging of Christians, firstly, in 1 Corinthians chapter five and then discussed, secondly, the judging of angels in 1 Corinthians chapter six. The apostle wrote, “Don't you realise that we CHRISTIANS WILL JUDGE ANGELS? So you should surely be able to resolve ordinary disagreements here on earth,” (1 Corinthians 6: 3, NLT).

Paul said we Christians will judge angels, but I am convinced that before the time comes for us to do that we should practice it with fellow believers who practice sin. Paul said the church should be able to resolve ordinary disagreements here on earth.

Now, if a Christian cannot judge cases of misconduct involving believing couples or neighbours, how can he be trusted with the responsibility of competently judging angels? As people born of God and filled with the spirit of wisdom, the apostle Paul says Christians should be able to settle their own disagreements before they may think of judging angels.

However, as we attempt to determine the cases of believers, we must always draw a line between those who are tempted to slip or fall into sin and those who deliberately practice sin. Examples could be unmarried Christian men and women including apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors/bishops and teachers and other leaders, who keep ungodly sexual relationships.

Now, for the church to be pure as Christ Jesus wants it to be, church discipline must be enforced, and sinful behaviour must be judged. Remember that the church is the Body of Christ. Jesus Christ dwells in His children to reveal the glory of the Father in the world. But when the church deliberately lives in sin, the glory of God cannot manifest the way God wants it to be.

That is why Paul spoke about the enforcement of discipline and judgment in almost all his epistles to promote righteous and holy living in the church of God. In a letter to Timothy, Paul instructed him to rebuke even ministers of the gospel who persistently sin.

There are many ministers of the gospel who deeply live in sin than their church members. They indulge in sexual immorality, drunkenness, idolatry, occultism, necromancy, exploitation and other sins, yet they mount the pulpit every day to preach and teach. Most of these sins come out, but the offenders are often covered. But Paul said these things ought not to be so.

“Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. As for THOSE WHO PERSIST IN SIN, REBUKE THEM in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. In the presence of God and of Jesus Christ and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality,” (1 Timothy 5: 19- 21).

Yes, these are also biblical instructions that must be preached, taught and obeyed. The Apostle Paul we all like to quote in our preaching and teachings everyday said it. He wrote them in a pastoral letter to instruct his own son in the Lord, Timothy. Paul knew Timothy was a young minister, yet he charged him with this responsibility.

Interestingly, these instructions were not given to Timothy alone but also to Titus. Paul told Titus also to “…exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you,” (Titus 2: 15). If these teachings were good for the churches Paul, Timothy and Titus shepherded, then of course, they are good for us also.

Brethren, judging sinful conducts and enforcing discipline in the church is how the New Testament ministers are supposed to handle the practice of sin in the Church of Christ. We must live our lives as the early church lived their lives in readiness for the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

There must be no room for pampering stubborn Christians and postponing salvation. No one knows the day or hour of the coming of our Lord. For now, the truth is that whenever a person dies their Christ has indirectly come. And since we do not know when we will die, we ought to be watchful as the 10 wise virgins did in the parable our Lord gave in Matthew 25: 1- 13.

BY James Quansah

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