Judge Not? A Biblical Case for Christian Humility

*Why are Christians So Judgmental & Intolerant?*

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SERIES INTRO:

Christians are often accused of being pompous, arrogant, judgmental, and intolerant.  Often, Christians find their own Scripture being quoted back to them. The most commonly heard verse is:

“Judge not, that you be not judged.” (Matt. 7:1)

From those leveling these accusations at Christians, there is truth in what they say, but there is also error.

In this series, I will be exploring these accusations, and analyzing humility, tolerance, and related ideas from a Christian, biblical worldview, ending the series by analyzing the much-used (and over-used) passage of Matthew 7:1.

In the last article, we concluded:

CONCEPT #1: All people are image-bearers of God and have eternal worth.

**Read PART 1 of “Judge Not?” here.**

Now, let’s explore Christian humility…

 

No One Earns (or Deserves) Salvation

All Christians have been called “out of darkness” into God’s “marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). Here, and elsewhere in Scripture, it’s made clear that only through God’s intervention can salvation be obtained. We’re all dead in sin, and only God can bring a dead person back from the dead (Eph. 2:1; Col. 2:13). Thus, salvation is a free gift from God. It cannot be gained through our own effort.

(Despite the popular misconception that Christianity teaches that being “good” gets you eternal life, this isn’t what the Bible teaches; only the work of Jesus Christ can wipe away sins and eternal separation from God.)

Further, no one deserves salvation. God has given us all minds and freewill, and in Romans 3:23, Paul tells us sadly,

“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

This includes both non-Christians and Christians. Though saved (and if truly saved, doing their best to live according to the perfect example of Jesus Christ), Christians are still imperfect sinners.

What does this all mean for us concerning humility? To put it bluntly, no Christian has accomplished (or can accomplish) what Jesus Christ did by dying on the cross, so no Christian has a right to be arrogant.

Jesus said,

“Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:34-36).

All Christians were slaves, and no Christian has ever set himself free.

What Jesus Christ, God incarnate, accomplished on the cross only God could accomplish. Any amount of sin, no matter how small, separates us from a perfectly good, holy God. God, our Creator, loves us and wants us to know him, but he’s also perfectly good and just, and he can’t simply overlook sin. If he simply excused sin and evil, he would no longer be good and, thus, no longer God. Yes, there are things God can’t do, things against his very nature, and God’s very nature is perfectly god and just.  But it is also perfectly loving.

What could he do with this conundrum? The only thing that could be done: God became a man, lived a perfect life that none of us can, and experienced death, the penalty for sin.

Being both God and man, he was the perfect sacrifice and atoned for the just punishment for all of humankind. The work is finished, completed by the only one who could do it. And now all that can be done is to accept or reject this free gift.

This is the Gospel. This is the good news of Jesus Christ.

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Considering all that we’ve discussed above, can any Christian justify an arrogant or pompous attitude? Paul tells us the correct mindset of one who truly understands salvation alone through Jesus Christ:

“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23).

Since everything we have comes from God, we can ask,

“What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?” (1 Cor. 4:7)

God created us. God died for us to free us from our sins. God has liberated us from death, both spiritually and, one day, physically. Thus, Christians should not be arrogant, boastful, or sinfully proud. Christians should be understanding, patient, and kind to fellow believers and unbelievers alike. To Christians who are otherwise, I say: You should know better.

Paul, writer of much of the New Testament and the church’s greatest missionary, had been a persecutor of the church before Jesus appeared to him and changed his heart. He had aggressively arrested Christians and even saw some put to death when he was known as Saul (See Acts 8:1-3). But Christ showed him grace and called him out of darkness, just like he did to all Christians. Therefore, Christians should have the same humility as Paul:

“I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Timothy 1:12-17)

I recommend to all my fellow Christians to reread 1 Timothy 1:12-17 often, meditate on it, and pray over it.  We should all strive for the same humility displayed here by the church’s greatest missionary.

Thus, we can add our next biblical concept…

CONCEPT #1: All people are image-bearers of God and have eternal worth.

CONCEPT #2: No Christian has earned his or her salvation, so no Christian has a reason to be pompous or arrogant.

NEXT: #3 – Speaking Truth in Love

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GOD FROM THE MACHINE has published it’s first book! Searching the Bible for Mother God is for educating and evangelizing those in the growing “Mother God cult.” Visit our page here.

**Read PART 1 of “Judge Not?” here.**

 

Judge Not? A Biblical Case for Human Worth

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Christians are often accused of being pompous, arrogant, judgmental, and intolerant.  Often, Christians find their own Scripture being quoted back to them. The most commonly heard verse is:

“Judge not, that you be not judged.” (Matt. 7:1)

From those leveling these accusations at Christians, there is truth in what they say, but there is also error.

In this series, I will be exploring these accusations, and analyzing humility, tolerance, and related ideas from a biblical worldview, ending the series by analyzing the much-used (and over-used) passage of Matthew 7:1.

To begin, we must talk about human worth…

#1 – A Biblical Case for Human Worth

All People are Image-Bearers

The writers of the Bible teach that all humans are made in the image of God, and thus, all humans and all human life has great value.

In the creation account, Genesis 1:27 tells us,

 

“God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”

 

Gender, race, nationality, religion, or even belief or unbelief in God doesn’t matter.  According to the Christian worldview, all people are image-bearers of God.

Further, a person’s value is not based on whether he or she is handicapped (physically or mentally), young or old, friend or enemy, or inside or outside the womb.

Nor is our worth based on our social standing, economic status, or sexual preference. This means that lawyers, politicians, warlords, porn stars, reality show stars, cops, rappers, rapists, teachers, garbage men, janitors, fast food workers, CEOs, oil tycoons, pimps, Islamic terrorists, white supremacists, toll workers, and MMA fighters are all made in the image of God.

Unfortunately, that image has been warped by sin. (And this is extremely important to always remember.) Despite this, all human life is priceless because all humans are image-bearers of the one true God.

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Ramifications

The implications of humans as image-bearers can be seen in Genesis 9:6, where we’re first told because humans are made in God’s image, we’re not to commit murder:

 

“Whoever sheds the blood of man,
    by man shall his blood be shed,
for God made man in his own image.”

Most of us (fortunately!) have no problem with following this command, but James, in his New Testament letter, applies this biblical truth in a way that we’re all much more likely to struggle with:

 

“But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.” (James 3:8-10)

 

So, because we’re all made in the image of God, we shouldn’t just murder, but we shouldn’t even “curse” others.  The clear ramifications of this teaching is that we should not even speak harshly about others.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus also warns against insults and name-calling (Matthew 5:21-26). The Greek word often translated “insults” is “raca,” which is a term of abuse, a term that degrades people. “Raca” suggests that the person insulted has no value.

Jesus is teaching against dehumanizing others. To dehumanize someone is to not recognize that person as an image-bearer of God.

If fact, Jesus equates this sort of anger and hatred of others to murder. Before murder becomes a physical act, people often “murder” others in their mind (and with their mouths) by dehumanizing them:

 

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” (Matthew 7:21-22)

 

Furthermore, we also have this statement by Paul in Galatians 3:26-28:

 

“…for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

 

As modern Americans, we cannot even grasp how groundbreaking and scandalous this statement was in Jesus and Paul’s time.  And though this verse speaks specifically of the equality and fellowship among Christians, as we can see from what we discussed above about all humans as image-bearers, respect of others (at the very least), even non-Christians, is a biblical value.

Along with the above teachings, we also have the commands to love your neighbor as yourself (Lev. 19:18; Mark 12:31), to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matt. 5:44), and to even do good for those who hate you (Luke 6:27), all commands Jesus highlights in the famous Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).

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The Real Good Samaritan

Being a “Good Samaritan” has become a phrase in modern English to denote a person who practices kindness to strangers, but the deeper meaning of the parable is lost on modern audiences because they don’t know the full context.

In a discussion in Luke 10:25-37, a lawyer sums up the whole teachings of Scripture as,

 

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

 

 

Jesus says he is correct, but then the lawyer challenges Jesus by asking,

 

“And who is my neighbor?”

 

Jesus then tells a parable: A man, a Jew, is attacked, robbed, and left for dead by the side of the road. Two Jewish religious leaders walk by without helping him. But then it’s a Samaritan who stops and cares for the attacked man.

People often pick up on that the hypocritical religious leaders left the man there to die, but they don’t realize just how shocking it would’ve been to Jesus’ audience that a Samaritan stopped to help him. The Jews and Samaritans absolutely hated each other! It was a hatred that was deep and bloody.

We’re not going into the history here, but think of the hatred between modern Israel and Palestine; think about the hatred between the Bloods and the Crips; think about the hatred between white supremacists and Black Panthers. The hatred between ancient Jews and Samaritans was strong.

Jesus ends the parable and asks the lawyer:

 

“Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He [the lawyer] said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

 

Thus, what is Jesus’ answer to, Who is my neighbor? Your enemy. Love your neighbor. Thus, love your enemy.

Finally — and most importantly — God showed just how priceless all people are by becoming a man and being tortured and murdered on a cross for all people. God did this so we can be free for the penalty of our sins and spend eternity with him. (But, it’s also important to note that though God did this for all people, it’s still a gift that must be accepted.)  Thus, all people have eternal worth to God. And if every person has eternal worth to God, they should all have the same worth to us.

Thus, we come to our first biblical concept…

 

CONCEPT #1: All people are image-bearers of God and have eternal worth.

 

NEXT: #2 A Biblical Case for Christian Humility

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