Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that you be not judged.”
The most quoted Bible verse used to be John 3:16, for God so loved the world. Now it is judge not lest ye be judged. Unfortunately those who are so quick to quote it are missing the meaning from the context and have no idea what it actually means. For them, to disagree with their idea of anything, especially sinful behavior, is judging them. To speak out against anything that is sinful is to judge. That shows a distinct ignorance of the term judge. A judge doesn’t determine the right or wrong of an issue, he only determines if a person’s actions match the right or wrong criteria, then determines the result which should be taken against the person for those actions. In other words, the judge passes judgment or condemnation on the defendant. To observe an action and relate that the action violates some law is the purview of law enforcement. They point out whether something is right or wrong, but they don’t pass judgment. They leave that to the judge. Jesus tells us we aren’t in the place of God, the judge. We can warn people that their actions are against God’s will and that the consequences of those actions may be dire. But the final determination of those people is His domain. He tells us what that will be, but it is still His purview. Don’t try to hold someone to some standard then write them off when they fail when you can’t meet that standard either.
5 “…First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly…”
However, we can’t warn people about the consequences of their actions while we’re doing the same thing as they. It makes it appear as though we are above sin. Examining ourselves will also make us more compassionate toward others. We’ll see them as in the same boat as ourselves.
6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine…”
Don’t waste your time arguing with those you know won’t listen. Everyone needs to hear and know the truth, but there are times when we know our message won’t be heard nor appreciated. At those times it may be best to be silent and wait. Perhaps God will provide another more opportune time.
8 “…everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened”
The Greek words used which are translated ask, seek, and knock are of the tense which has ongoing action. In English the idea would be ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking. The idea Jesus was proposing was persistence. It’s not that we have to bug God to death to get what we want. It’s the idea that we need to keep that communication with Him open, continually. It’s not easy. When His timing is different than ours it seems like He’s not listening. But we are assured that He is and that He cares. So we must keep bringing our petitions to Him.
12 “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them…”
Idea of treating others as you want to be treated is clear enough. Wondering how it’s tied to the previous statements with the therefore. The only thing I can think of is that we’ve looked at how God gives us what we need, not necessarily what we want. Therefore, we should treat others the same way. We’re not trying to compel others to do things for us, instead we’re making sure our actions toward them are what God would do.
13 “Enter by the narrow gate…broad is the way that leads to destruction…”
Jesus Himself said He is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, but by or through Him. Only one way. And it may not be pleasant. In fact, He said all those who follow Him will face persecution. All other roads lead to the same destination, Hell. That’s pretty broad. But really, what difference does it make how difficult the road is if you know you’ll reach Heaven at the end. That doesn’t make it easier, but it does give us hope to persevere and stay the course.
15-20 “Beware of false prophets…Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”
He is specifically speaking here of false prophets, those who would teach anything other than the truth of the gospel. And, interestingly, He says we will know them by their fruit, by the actions they produce. I encounter many who insist we cannot know a person’s heart as only God can see into the human heart. And yet Jesus says we will know them by their fruits. I think it’s more confusion regarding determination and judgment. I can see what a person is by the fruit they produce, but I don’t have the authority or power to pass final judgment on them. Can condemn the actions as they don’t match what the scripture says, but the person is judged by Christ. I can’t say with 100% certainty whether a person is a Christian. But if the only fruit they produce is contrary to Christ and they don’t produce any fruit consistent with Christ, then it’s pretty obvious they don’t belong to Him. Jesus said His followers obey His commandments. We may fail in that, but we keep coming back to the source. I’m pretty sure someone who consistently does things against Christ is not His.
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven…”
Just acknowledging that Jesus is Lord is not enough to enter His kingdom. Even satan knows He is Lord. The will of the Father is that a person acknowledge their sin, repent of their sin, and accept the gift of salvation that Jesus offers. Those who do that are the only ones who are able to enter His kingdom.
22 “…have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name”
Works won’t get it either. These people even did their works in the name of Jesus. But they never surrendered to Him. They never repented of their sins and turned to Him. They never established a relationship with Him. Here is one of the reasons we say that Christianity is not a religion, but a relationship. A relationship with Christ. If He doesn’t know you, you don’t get in. Salvation is the ultimate example of it’s not what you know, it’s Who you know.
25 “…it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock”
A foundation. Any building must have some form of solid foundation. If you take out the foundation, a building will fall. So is the life that is built on Christ. He is the only true, solid foundation. A life built on Him will not fall, even though it faces much adversity. Doesn’t mean we won’t lose shingles or break windows, but the house will stand.
29 “…He taught them as one having authority…”
Difference between one teaching from within, what they truly know, and one just passing on what they heard. In this case, we know that Jesus actually had the authority as He was God. Part of it may have been the hypocrisy of the scribes and Pharisees. I’m sure the people knew their leaders didn’t always do as they taught. Difficult to teach Christ when you don’t know Him yourself.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.