Admonition, Reproof, Rebuke, and Judging
the meanings and necessities of
Jesus said through Luke, “Pay attention to yourselves. If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him. If he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times comes back to you and says, ‘I repent,’ forgive him.”
Paul said to Timothy, “I solemnly charge you … Proclaim the Word! Take your stand, whether the time is favorable or unfavorable. Confute, admonish, call near (to God), in all longsuffering and teaching.”
He said to the believers at Rome, “I have been persuaded about you, my brethren, that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able to warn one another (about sins).”
We now come to a subject that is both completely misunderstood and despised by very many people in the churches. It is the Scriptural directive to judge one another. Biblical judgment includes the full range of correction, including warning or gentle reproof, admonishing and confuting, and strong or vehement rebuking. All of these ways of judging one another are commanded in the Word of God for all who are Christians. In fact, no one who is a Christian can stand aloof from these kinds of judgment. All who are Christians will submit to correction by other Christians and give correction to others; for Biblical judgment is part and parcel of the love of God and the holiness of God.
It has been stated that the verse, “Judge not, so you will not be judged” is the most quoted verse in the Bible. If this is so, it would not be surprising. (That is because rejecting Scriptural correction is one of the most constantly held positions of people – held by non-church and church people.) Nevertheless, “Judge not, so you will not be judged” is one of the most misinterpreted declarations of Jesus in the Bible. I will return to it later.
I will start by stating that the very thing that many people accuse others of being guilty of is very often a fact of their own characters. When believers correct others, very often they are wrongly accused of being “holier than thou” or “judgmental” or “promoting bondage” or things like these. These statements reveal an attitude and discrimination on the part of the accusers that is contrary to the workings of the will of God. It is pure prejudice and error to presume that a believer who is obeying the Word of God by correcting someone is wrong. That is because, in order to establish error on the part of the reprover, there must be irrefutable proof that he/she is correcting from human or fleshly motives. Because people cannot see into the hearts of others and because, almost always, an indicting manifestation is not present, people themselves are in sin that prejudicially reject believers who are submitting to the commandments of God to correct those who err. In fact, the “holier than thou” verdict applies to them. To assume the position than people do not need to be corrected according to God’s Word is assuming the very “self-righteousness” that they accuse the correctors of possessing. It is very telling that this kind of weak and fleshly mind-set has entrenched itself in the processes of people who claim to be both humble and faithful to God in holiness.
To the Word: In the book of Proverbs, the following statement is made, “For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching is light, and reproofs for discipline are the way of life.” Although this maxim is given during instruction about keeping oneself from sexual sins, it is a complete statement per se. As such, the second phrase needs repeating for emphasis: “Reproofs for discipline are the way of life!” This is so because the Scriptures reveal that everyone is born in sin and shaped by iniquity. They further teach that people cannot do anything good in and of themselves. (It is not relative, human good that is the subject here, but true goodness instead. Once Jesus was asked what good thing must be done to enter eternal life. His first reply was, “Why do you ask Me about what is good? There is only One Who is good.”) Apart from being born of God, no one can do anything that is good. The Word teaches that everyone has gone astray from God and His good just like sheep go astray from their shepherd. Also, the Scriptures declare that because of this condition of sin, all humanity is held prisoner to sin and darkness and, therefore, everyone is a slave of sin and can only do the bidding of sin. To complete the teaching, the Spirit of God reveals that in this state it is impossible to please Him! When God redeems someone, the rest of that person’s entire life is a journey of reconciliation to God. This is what Jesus meant when He said, “I am the road, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father, except through Me.” God is holy and restores all redeemed people to His holiness. He does not enter into the darkness of those who were formerly prisoners of darkness. No! He transfers all of the saved into His light and holiness. This is why reproofs for discipline are the way of life. The former lives of all those who God saves from sin were permeated with sin and waywardness. Their new lives of redemption are lives ruled by the ways of the disciplines of the Holy Spirit of God. In the very nature of the case, saved humanity must be taught how to live in the holiness of God. In the very nature of the case, according to the Word of God, this teaching involves all godly instruction and correction for all righteous living. All unredeemed men live their lives in darkness and are alienated from the life of God. From the time that anyone is born of God, that person lives the rest of his life in the instruction of the Word of God; the Word that gives the knowledge of how to believe and obey God. This believing is defined by Jesus Christ as submissive love to Himself. He summarized it this way, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” At the very heart of the matter, all commandments of God are instructive and corrective, always declaring on the one hand what must be done and on the other what must not be done in order to please God. Men have no light or understanding of God or His goodness apart from God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Because of this, everyone who will live with God must be instructed and corrected by Him. It is telling that anyone who says that he/she is a “believer” would resist this process, the only process by which all believers partake of God’s holiness. All who resist do so because they have not understood the seminal truth that is revealed in the maxim of Proverbs: Reproofs for discipline are the way of life.
Some other Scriptures that plainly show the process of partaking of God’s holiness through corrective judgment follow. Through Peter, God said, “For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the good-message of God?” For what purpose does judgment begin with believers who are God’s household? It is for purification, in order to avoid the judgment of eternal condemnation from the Lord. Judgment is certain. It is inevitable! All will partake of it. One of God’s salient titles is “The Judge of all”. According to Paul, all will be judged concerning their good and bad deeds. For those who are disciplined under the present judgment of God by His Word and through His people, the judgment is refining and produces good works which are recompensed with good rewards. For those who presently resist the discipline of God in His Word and through His people, the judgment is severe because it recompenses evil works with condemnation. This very process is seen in what Paul taught, “If we judged ourselves thoroughly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.”
Again, all believers are called by God from darkness into His light. Upon the power of His call, believers cease to be children of darkness and become children of light. His light is fundamentally restorative light. It is not theoretical light. The restoration is accomplished through His discipline upon His children. His discipline runs the full range from warning, confuting, and strong rebuking to the persecutions of men.
God unambiguously declares in His Word that all of His children submit to His discipline in order that they may partake of His holiness. Indeed, He declares even more. If anyone does not submit to His discipline, that person is not His child, but is illegitimate. Jesus said, “This is the judgment: the light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of the light because their works were evil. For everyone who practices evil hates the light, and does not come to the light lest his works be reproved. But whoever does the truth comes to the light, so that it may be manifested that his works are wrought in God.” He said through Paul, “you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) proving what is well-pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather confute them. For it is shameful even to mention the hidden things being done by them (of the darkness). But everything confuted by the light is manifested, for it is light that makes everything manifested. This is why it is said: ‘Rise up, sleeping one, stand up from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ Be very careful, then, how you walk – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Do not get drunk with wine, for that is excess. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, singing and psalming in your hearts to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Submit yourselves to one another in the fear of Christ.” In a parallel letter to another assembly of believers, Paul said, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing in grace in your hearts to God.” This is transcendent. It is sublime. The very songs of Scripture that believers sing are to be sung to one another for, among other lofty things, admonishment. The effective reality of this truth is as far removed from those who will not submit to correction as light is from darkness. The very high place of joy – singing – which characterizes the lives of believers is commanded so that, by being taught and corrected by its expression, we can be filled with the Spirit of God! This mindset is very far removed from the haughty who will not be corrected by others, but who instead find fault with Christians who seek this high and rich way of refining (loving) one another in obedience to Christ. Jesus made it very clear that the haughty who reject His commandments would not enter into the kingdom of God. He said, “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not by any means enter it!" and ‘Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Among the many attributes of children, one of the most prominent is their receptive humility. Children are pointed up this way as examples of those who receive teaching and correction. They are not haughty. They humbly submit to admonition. In fact, this particular characteristic is a constant one in their lives as children. It is seen in its constant counterpart commandment to their fathers – which directly brings us again to the subject being explicated – Jesus said through Paul, “Fathers, nurture your children in the discipline and admonition of the Lord.”
The discipline of correction or reproving and being reproved is just as fundamental to Christianity as are prayer, love, faithfulness, repentance, and holiness. Like these other characteristics, it is part of the warp and woof of Christianity. Just like there is no such thing as a believer who does not love or receive love from others, to use one of the attributes just named, there is no such thing as a believer who does not admonish or receive admonition from others. From the very beginning of the Scriptures of Christianity until their end, the commandment to reprove and the expectation of reproof are thoroughly grounded. These facts are established throughout the Gospels. Jesus was constantly instructing and correcting His followers and taught them that the hallmark of their discipleship would be that they would serve one another just as He had served them! In fact, in the Gospel of Mark, the very first thing that Jesus said was, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe the good-message.” Jesus expected – commanded – immediate and contradistinctive change in the lives of all who heard Him. The first letters of Paul were written to the believers in Asia Minor and Thessalonica. In his letter to the believers in Asia Minor he taught about the superiority and freedom of faith over-against the bondage of the Mosaic Law. After developing this truth he compared their counterparts, the fruit of the Spirit over-against the works of the flesh. After this last comparison, he made this summing statement about how believers must live: “Brethren, if anyone is overtaken in some transgression, you, being spiritual, restore him in a spirit of gentleness.” The word that is translated restore means “to make complete, to repair, to put in order”. As people who live by and conduct themselves in the Spirit, Christians are commanded to admonish other believers who are overtaken in any sin so that they can be recovered in the Holy Spirit. In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul gave these summary commandments among others: About their leaders he said, “We ask you, brothers, to know those who labor among you and exercise leadership over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work.” Then, he gave these five dictates for all of the Thessalonians, “Be at peace among yourselves. And we exhort you, brethren, admonish the insubordinate, console the fainthearted, hold on to the ones who are weak, be longsuffering toward all.” These commandments instruct all believers in the ways of the Holy Spirit – the ways in which all Christians must live. In his last letter, which was to Timothy, Paul made the statement that is quoted at the beginning of this page. I will repeat in here. “I solemnly charge you … Proclaim the Word! Take your stand, whether the time is favorable or unfavorable. Confute, admonish, call near (to God), in all longsuffering and teaching.” Just before he said that, he said, “All Scripture is God–breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be made complete for every good work.” Even though this letter, like his first one from Paul, was written to Timothy and not to an assembly, Timothy was commanded to hold himself out as an example for all believers to follow. In the first letter Paul said to him, “Let no one despise your youth, but be a pattern for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. Until I come, attend to the public reading of Scripture, to calling near (to God) and to teaching…Attend to these matters; give yourself wholly to them in order that your advance may be clear to all men. Watch yourself and the teachings. Persevere in them. For in doing this you will save both yourself and your hearers.” These commands that were given to Timothy are also established elsewhere in Paul’s writing as commandments for all of God’s people. In what can properly be considered as Paul’s most sublime writing – the circular letter that became known as Ephesians – he makes this declaration about the function of the entire assembly: “An He (Jesus) gave, indeed, the apostles, and the prophets, and the good-message tellers, and the shepherds and teachers, for the complete equipping of the holy ones (believers) for the work of service, to building up the body of Christ until we all arrive at the unity of the faith and in the full-knowledge of the Son of God - to a complete man - to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. This is in order that we no longer be infants, being tossed by waves and being carried around by every wind of (false) teaching, by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him Who is the Head, that is, Christ. (It is He) from Whom the whole body, being fitted together and being brought together through every joint of supply according to the operation of the proper working of each part, makes the growth of the body for building itself up in love.” In addition to this thorough-going revelation, the word that translates as “complete equipping” above is the word that translates as “restore” in Paul’s summing injunction to the believers in Asia Minor that was dealt with above.
The injunctions for Christians to constantly admonish, instruct, and rebuke one another so that we can share in God’s holiness are firmly established throughout the New Covenant Scriptures; from their beginning to their end. They are perpetual attributes of Christians.
By all that has been stated, it should be obvious that admonition, rebuking, and correcting are all long ways to spell love. In fact, if you do not admonish your brothers and sisters, you do not love them. This truth is of ancient standing and was established very early in the covenantal history of Israel. In Leviticus, the third book of the Pentateuch, God said through Moses, “Do not hate your brother in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor in all rebuking so you will not share in his guilt.” This commandment was established very early in the laws of ancient Israel because it is timeless, as it is based on the timeless and eternal character of the love of God. The very next commandment given through Moses is of the same nature. It is another one that is held forth by Jesus for His people to obey. In fact, He said it was the second greatest commandment from God; one which is timeless and never falls: “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am Jahveh.”
Lastly, it is time to examine the often quoted and misinterpreted command of Jesus, “Judge not, so you will not be judged.” First, His teaching must be quoted. Through Matthew, Jesus said, “Do not judge, so that you will not be judged. For with what judgment you judge others with, you will be judged, and with the measure you measure others with, it will be measured to you. Why do you see the splinter in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the log in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the splinter out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a log in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother's eye. Do not give what is holy to the dogs, nor throw your pearls to pigs, lest they trample them under their feet, and then turn and lacerate you. Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone asking receives, and the one seeking finds, and to the one knocking, it shall be opened. Or which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Therefore, everything that you wish for men to do to you, do the same for them. For this is (fulfills) the Law and the Prophets.” This teaching, like its counterpart in Luke, has nothing to do with admonishing, correcting, or reproving others. Rather, it has everything to do with fulfilling the love of God towards men. What Jesus is commanding through these instructions is to not judge someone unworthy of your love; do not judge someone unworthy of your acts of loving-kindness and, therefore, hold back deeds of mercy from him. That and that alone, is the meaning of these Scriptures! The churches have done to this teaching what they do to about everything else in the Scriptures. They have spiritualized it into something that it is not; something foreign to the teachings of Jesus. If you’ve read my other writings on this web site, you know that I firmly maintain that churchiosity is a religion different from Christianity. It is really Christianized-Stoicism, which has not simply placed a veneer or a gloss over the Scriptures of Christianity, regarding their interpretation, but has buried the true meaning of the Word under layers and layers of thickly applied doctrines of men. This case now considered is a prime example. The clear meaning of these Scriptures is that Christians are not to sit in judgment over people who are in need, regarding that need, but rather are to meet it! Everything in this teaching of Jesus declares this! All of these commandments are given in one of God’s paramount declarations to men when He spoke through His Son from His holy mountain. The churches call this setting “The Sermon on the Mount”. This “sermon” is a profound discourse of the explicit and defined love of God that must be practiced by everyone who will enter into eternal life! Jesus said in this very teaching that only they who practice these things will enter life. They who disobey them will not. Behold the teaching: Jesus began by declaring that they, and they alone, who make themselves poor, hungry, and thirsty so that other needy people can have, eat, and drink are the ones who the kingdom of God belongs to. Then He taught that these people of His are the power and witness of God among men and that in this obedience the Law of Moses was both fulfilled and superseded. Then He taught about the superiority and depth of His kingdom and righteousness over the Law of Moses and the righteousness based on that Law. After these comparisons, He returned to the subject of deeds of mercy. He included instructions on prayer with deeds of mercy, or alms-giving, because the two subjects had in common their public observation. It is very significant that when He taught about prayer, He set it in its proper sphere. (This is one of the two times in the Word where Jesus taught His disciples how to pray. In the other instance in John, He taught through example. Here He taught through explicit command.) He taught that prayer must consist of reverence for God and the request for the manifestation of God’s kingdom, especially realized in deeds of mercy towards those who are needy. Then He declared that the fasting revealed at the beginning of His teaching and fulfilled through deeds of loving-kindness must be unfeigned and done in total realistic, loving joy! Then He gave three related truths that were meant to enliven faithfulness to these commandments. First, He taught about the utter folly of laying up your treasures upon the earth, where decay and thievery ruin them. Instead He commanded to lay up your treasures in heaven (implied: through obedience to these commandments of His). Secondly, He taught about the light of the eye, a subject not comprehended by churchiosity. In the mindset of His environment, someone who had a clear eye was a benevolent person. A clear eye signified a compassionate person who acted upon the needs of the needy by meeting those needs. On the contrary, someone who had an evil eye was a stingy or greedy person; a person who withheld substance from the needy and, therefore, did not relieve them from their needs. The word that translates evil means hurtful or harmful. In this case it means to hold back from someone what is due to them according to their needy circumstances. In that sense the needy are hurt; their oppressive situation is continued through the self-importance and lack of love of one who had it in his ability to provide the remedy but did not. In this very reality, Jesus said, “The lamp of the body is the eye. If, therefore, your eye is clear, your whole body will be shinning. But if your eye is harmful, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” Jesus declared that if the very member of your being that is created to see needs and relieve them is defective through selfishness, you are completely in darkness and undone. You are blind to God and His Love! “How great is that darkness!” Third, Jesus made what is one of His paramount and most powerful declarations of fact in all of the Scriptures. “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon!” Having said everything above, Jesus provided God’s promises to His people who are obedient to His commandments of love and sacrifice their substance in the relief of needy people. He went on to say, “Therefore – for this reason – I say to you…” The promises that He gave next are based upon the commandment to not be anxious about your condition because of the loving and sacrificial obedience to the preceding injunctions. In that realm of obedient trust He promised that God’s children would receive their food and clothing. He admonished about God’s providing care for His creation and affirmed that His children are more important than birds and field grass (the examples of creation that He used). He then summed up the promises with a commandment of encouragement. He said, “Seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness and these things (food and clothing) shall be added to you.” A more appropriate way to translate this Scripture is, “Make of the utmost importance God’s rule and do His deeds of mercy and food and clothing shall be added to you.” Then He gave another word of admonition. He said, “Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Then, then, immediately He gave the commandments and instructions of concern: “Do not judge, so that you will not be judged…” It is unambiguous, it is unmistakable, that by the thoroughgoing connections of all that Jesus taught and commanded in this unified group of directions that “Judge not” and all that He appended to it can only mean “Do not, in judgment, hold back your food, your clothing, and your substance from those who need them.” His commandment is total. The totality is seen in two areas. First, it is revealed in the warning that the measure of mercy that you extend to others will be extended to you by God. That is very sobering since God gives and demands totality! Second, it is seen in the commandment that all hypocrisy about love must be avoided. In returning to the eye of light, Jesus commanded that His followers are to perform their acts of giving in the way of full and complete love and that if they do not meet this standard then they are hypocrites who are wrongly concerned about their fellow believers’ isolated failures of love. This is the meaning of the splinter in the eye and the log in the eye. Only after a believer has first abundantly fulfilled the complete demands of love is he fit to correct his brother or sister about their singular acts of failed love to needy people. If you have the offense of a log in your eye, that is, many failures to give to the needy, you are a hypocrite for trying to remove the offense of the splinter, that is, a singular failure to give to the needy, from the eye of your brother!
From here to the end of His profound teaching upon the mountain, Jesus sums everything up in absolute terms of eternal judgment: Life for the ones obedient to these commands and instructions and death for the ones disobedient to them.
Before ending, I will take up two more related things; one here in Matthew and the other in Luke. In this group of commands here in Matthew, Jesus made the following statement: “Do not give what is holy to the dogs, nor throw your pearls to pigs, lest they trample them under their feet, and then turn and lacerate you.” This instruction was meant to restrict His loving-kindness from a certain type of people. This is clarifying. There were people of a certain kind who were judged by Jesus as unworthy of His love! He calls them “dogs” and “pigs”. These are not to be understood as two separate groups, but are the same type of people viewed two ways. This way of speaking and writing was a common feature in Jewish communication for the purpose of elaboration and emphasis and is called “doubling” in theological terms. It is as ancient as the Jewish Wisdom Literature. Several centuries before Jesus, a philosophy arose in the Greek world that was unlike any before or after it. It did not take the normal course of emphasizing unity and coherence within the society for the common good but rather stressed that the only way to true freedom and happiness was in individual independence; through each individual’s self-sufficiency. However, this self-sufficiency was not simply realized through personal awareness but could only be known through real independence from all material things and societal conventions. It taught that people were trapped in wealth, mere possessions, and societal norms, falsely believing that in pursuing and holding to these things their happiness would be attained. Furthermore, this philosophy taught that the only way for people to understand and embrace true freedom was for the possessors’ of this freedom to confront society at large about its dependent adherence to things and conventions so that people would feel a sense of shame and abandon these things for the life of truth. Regarding possessions, the followers of this teaching were not hypocritical but thoroughly practiced what they preached. They did not own homes or lands and the only possessions that they owned were the clothes that meagerly covered their bodies, the walking staffs that identified them, and the spartanic kits that they used for eating. These kits, which were simple pouches, often contained only a cup or a bowl. Regarding social conventions, these philosophers departed widely from Christianity. For the methods that they used to shame society about its norms were crude, offensive, and obscene. They endeavored to shame society by shocking it and thereby making it realize that if it was shocked, it was not free but was depended on outside things for its happiness. All manner of indecency was engaged in by these teachers. Their leading teacher, a man named Diogenes, was called Diogenes the Dog by his contemporaries because of the very dog-like acts of public indecency that he engaged in. The word dog is the same word that is used by Jesus when He made His declaration of restrictive judgment. The transliteration of the word is Cynic. The group of philosophers that followed the teachings of Diogenes took this title, which was first applied to them in a dishonorable way, as a badge of honor. They saw themselves as the watch-dogs of society, by using the methods spoken of, to herd and arouse society to truth. The public acts that the Cynics constantly engaged in included urination, defecation, masturbation, other kinds of fornication, cursing, obscenities, and personal harangues. To add to this lifestyle of “freedom”, they did not work, but begged for their food, rather, demanded their food – as owed to them by society – and did not wash, but reveled in the fact that their bodies and clothes were dirty and smelly, like pigs. Even after successfully “shaming” or arousing pity in their listeners and receiving food from them, often they would break out against the very same benefactors with insults and obscenities, always justifying their actions as helping those people to “see the truth”. By the first century, the Cynics (the dogs) were known to be in every city in the Roman Empire. During this time, not all Cynics were as hostile, non-conforming, and insulting as the original ones were, but enough of the first type remained to still characterize the movement and to cause Jesus to render His verdict. According to Jesus, the Cynics, and all dog-like and pig-like people who openly and manifestly took arrogant and demanding positions while intentionally using perversion, obscenity, and insult were not to be shown deeds of mercy and relief. Today, the same law of Christ applies. While the ancient Cynics are no more, their modern overbearing and perverse counterparts can still be found.
In Luke, Jesus added the following and clarifying statements to the command, “Do not judge and you will not be judged.” He said, “Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Pardon and you will be pardoned. Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you in return.” The words, do not condemn, and you will not be condemned and pardon and you will be pardoned are extensions of the commandment not to judge. They are fully related to it. Judge and condemn appear together in this commandment to cover the full breadth of what must be avoided. In this relationship, “judge” emphasizes the inner attitude and “condemn” focuses on the outward expression. The word condemn means to declare or speak against. “Pardon”, instead, is what must be practiced. Any faults that the needy are guilty of, whether they are personal to the benefactor or impersonal to him, must be forgiven and their needs must be met. All believers must constantly stand in the attitude of forgiveness so that the way of nonjudgmental remedy will be open to all who are in need. “Give and it will be given to you…” once again reveals that these commandments deal with giving to needy people and declare, like the prior injunctions, that all who do these things will be rewarded. They who pardon will be mercifully rewarded with pardon and they who give will be abundantly rewarded with the good things of God. Furthermore, the fact that this group of commandments includes godly lending of goods also proves that they, like those in Matthew, deal only with giving to the needy and not with reproving sins.
So, it is very clear from everything that has been established that the churches’ doctrine that “Judge not…” means do not reprove your brother concerning his sins is a complete failure! If you listen to churchiosity and do not correct your erring brethren, you are not listening to Jesus Who reveals that reproving your brethren is one of the main ways that you love them!
In summarizing, I usually restate the case in concise form. Here, however, I will restate two Scriptures as completely summing up God’s will about admonition, reproof, rebuke, and judging. They are at once clarifying and demanding.
“It is for discipline that you endure: God deals with you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? For if you are without discipline, of which all (believers) have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.”
“If we judged ourselves thoroughly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord (through one another), we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.”
Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”