For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? – 1 Peter 4:17
Meditation: Today’s passage is not the most comforting. We speak of judgement. No one really enjoys judgement. We would just prefer to see ourselves as winners, but without clear judgement, we are prone to error and greater sin. Therefore, let us embrace the need to judge ourselves and where required others as well.
The Apostles knew a thing or two about unjust judgement. For example, as a Pharisee who persecuted the early Church mercilessly, Paul was a chief prosecutor who sought out Christians and dragged them bound to Jerusalem for judgement before the Sanhedrin. This prominent position gave Paul a fearful reputation among Christians. Yet God chose him to be His evangelist to the Gentiles. Following his abrupt conversion at the hands of Jesus on the road to Damascus, Paul’s subsequent missions to bring the Gospel to the far flung body of Christ among the Gentiles deeply impacted his respect for proper judgement.
To the Corinthians, Paul wrote, “For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world” (1 Corinthians 11:31-32). And to the Philippians, he wrote, “Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain” (Philippians 2:14-16).
Finally, you may recall that Jesus Christ said, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matthew 7:1-2). The balance of this passage warns the faithful not to judge one another without first addressing the issues that would invalidate your judgement or make it impossible for you to discern sin effectively. Therefore, judgement must be done circumspectly, but rest assured, we are duty bound to love one another even if it requires judging another’s sin in order to turn them back to the peace, joy, and righteousness found only at the side of our Lord Jesus.
Call to Action: Consider these words of Jesus, “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (John 5:30). We are called upon to discern matters in the world whether they be godly or ungodly, in Christ or Anti-Christ, true or false. In all these matters, we must use the same measure as Christ: God’s Will. God’s will is revealed to us almost exclusively by the Word of God, the Holy Bible, and in light of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, I beg you to hold forth the Word of God to shine it’s light in a perverse world.