In part one we found that judging is appropriate when the source of a judgment is God and not self. Part two suggested ways we might know whether a judgment is from God. Knowing whether a judgment is from God or not is a good start but it isn’t the whole picture. We can know a judgment is from God yet bear that judgment in the wrong spirit. That is what this post will explore.
John 3:17 says, “For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” The cross, as we have said, was God’s consumate judgment. Verse 16 makes clear that the cross expressed God’s love, not His condemnation (John 3:16). So judgment and condemnation are different. When God judges, it is for our salvation.
What about when we express God’s judgments? Do we carry His judgments into the world in hopes that the world will be saved? Or is it to condemn and accuse? If the latter, we violate the spirit of Christ even if our judgment is biblical and correct.
Homosexuality is a hot-button issue for the church right now. Calling homosexuality sin is a judgment. According to scripture, this judgment is from God, not from self. So we judge rightly when we call homosexuality sin. But to what end do we express this judgment? Do we speak a word in season, hoping someone will turn to Jesus to be saved from sin (Prov. 15:23)? Or is our aim simply to denounce a person? Paul warns that gays (among others) won’t inherit the kingdom of God. But he goes on to talk about the cleansing and forgiveness available to everyone in Christ (1 Cor. 6:9-11). This is the proper aim of judgment: salvation, not destruction.
John 1:17 says, “the law was given through Moses, grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” Grace and truth: this is the judgment of God. Truth without grace is the law. The law only condemns to death; it cannot bring life (2 Cor. 3:6; Gal. 3:21). As a covenant, the law was incomplete. Jesus fulfilled the law because He rose from the dead (Matt. 5:17). He didn’t only bring death but death *and* resurrection.
When we speak truth does it continue on to grace? Are we preachers of death only? Or of life out of death?