“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. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” —Matthew 7:1-6
One of today’s scripture portions scheduled in the Robert Murray M’Cheyne Daily Bread Bible Reading Plan is Matthew chapter seven. No doubt, we could have gone to any one of the verses given in this blessed chapter for a devotional thought, however, I believe that the opening of this chapter would provide us with a peculiar blessing in God’s sovereignty and the saint’s responsibility.
Our portion opens with the very famous and oft misinterpreted, “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” For the past few years I have smiled in reading this portion because I’m often reminded of my friend, Paul Washer, who has addressed the misinterpretation often with a sarcastic, “Twist not scripture, lest ye be like Satan.” I smile because Brother Paul is right about that.
Many professing believers (and even a great number of unbelievers) think that this verse means that we are to cast all judgment to the wind, and it certainly does not. The following four verses in themselves demand otherwise. As judgment begins in the house of the Lord, it most certainly begins with believing saints, redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus. We must mark within ourselves how we must continually and perpetually trust, not in our own righteousness, because it falls short of the righteousness and perfect sacrifice of Christ Jesus alone (vv2-4); and even if, by God’s grace, a sin has been corrected in my life or in yours, the judgment to discern the sin and fault of a brother in Christ, must be done with delicate surgery in order to remove the splinter from his eye (v5).
Moreover, verse 6 does not stand alone in this discourse. It is aided by the context of verses 1 through 5, as well as providing further understanding for those preceding verses. If we are not to give “that which is holy unto dogs” nor cast our “pearls before swine,” how will we know without a little discerning knowledge and judgment? We most certainly could not.
Yet, if we are to be obedient to the Lord’s command in verse 6, how can we know that we are not in violation of the Lord’s command in verses 1 through 5. Ah, but one may object and say, “Well, my friend, verses one through five relate to the brethren, those who have been saved by God’s grace.” Yet, says I in answer to the objection, as we are eternal people, saved by the eternal sacrifice of Christ, that soul with whom I am to apply discerning judgment may not be a brother now, nevertheless, he may be, by God’s sovereign grace by and by; and therefore, should not be denied the holy things of God and the precious pearls of the gospel truth and love until he has believed unto salvation and confessed unto righteousness.
These six verses are certainly addressed to the believer in Christ, and applied to our souls by God’s merciful grace. In judgment, we are to honor God’s sovereignty and submit to the circumstances God has ordered in His providence; and moreover, we are to be so intimately submissive to His will, that if the situation should arise that He speaks to our hearts to discontinue the delivery of His gospel truth to one He declares a dog, and He deems to be a swine, then by God’s merciful grace we may surrender in obedience.
Quite often, to discern this will require agonizing prayer, even as our Lord agonized and petitioned thrice on the matter of the cross. Would we be expected to do any less on the application of Christ’s cross upon the soul of a sinner?
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