Sunday, 15 June 2014
For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? 1 Corinthians 5:12
Pay close heed to Paul’s words in this verse and remember them as you conduct your daily affairs. In all analyses of the Bible, context is of paramount importance and it is the one aspect which is most disregarded by those who are either not Christians or who are biblically uninformed Christians who use the Bible as a tool to set their own personal agenda concerning any given issue. Today’s verse is an exemplary response to the misuse of Matthew 7:1,2 which says –
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”
What is the context of Jesus’ words? Who was He speaking to? Under what dispensation was He speaking? And just as notable, what does He then ask His audience to do just four verses later? He asks them to make right moral judgments. Here are His words –
“Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” Matthew 7:6
Almost every time Matthew 7:1, 2 is cited, it is ripped out of its context in an attempt to silence vocal Christians who make moral judgments against perversion within society, government, or even in the church. None of these apply to what Jesus intended and understanding this will allow the Christian to feel secure in their proper, healthy, and God-honoring moral judgments.
In confirmation of this approach, we have Paul’s words which begin with, “For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside?” His words are showing that he is not the arbiter of the conduct of those outside the church, nor does he sit in judgment of them. This does not mean that what he says about their conduct is not valid, but that he is not the one who will decide their fate for their conduct. If Paul speaks of a non-believer as a licentious or perverted person, he is within his rights as a Christian. But he will not be the one to either forgive them or to cast them into hell. That right belongs to the Lord.
On the other hand, there are these types of people within the church. They act out perversion, they are divisive, vulgar, contentious, slanderous, etc (such as he has already mentioned). In those cases, he not only has a right to make a moral judgment about them (as Jesus indicated in Matthew 7:6), but he also has a right to make a punitive judgment as well. And this right extends to the church as a whole. This is made clear by the words, “Do you not judge those who are inside?”
It is a rhetorical question which demands a positive answer. If not they, then who? Unfortunately, in our society, Christians are trapped into believing that they are somehow to be silent over the ever-increasing moral wickedness displayed by those in society – from school teachers and college professors, to actors and musicians, and all the way up to congressmen, senators and, even as becomes ever more prevalent, the President of the United States.
To be a supporter of moral perversion has reached the height of fashion for the liberal left in our nation and it has grown to epidemic proportions. But Christians are continuously told to be silent based on Jesus’ words which have been torn out of context and held up as a banner for the need for “tolerance” against things that are wholly intolerable.
Life application: Right moral judgments do not stop as one exits the doors of the church. Instead, they are to be upheld at all times and against all forms of perversion. However, the punitive judgment for those perversions is not at the discretion of the church. God will judge the immoral and he will condemn them for their wickedness. He is not slack in this either, but is patient, allowing many to humble themselves and turn from their wickedness. Someday though, He will turn and fight against it when the sins have reached their fullness.
Heavenly Father, You have instilled in man a moral compass to know what is right and what is wrong. However, we suppress the truth in our unrighteousness and act out our will against You. Help Christians to realize that we are not to condone this, but to speak out against it, stand up for righteousness, and make right moral judgments which are in line with Your will and Your intent for the people You have created. Help us to act with intestinal fortitude against immorality and perversion as You have laid out in Your word. Amen.