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Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Mind of Christ # 2

The Mind of Christ # 2

It ought to be observed also, that His antecedent state of glory, and His acquired or consequent state of exaltation, are two perfectly distinct and separate states. The opponents of our Lord's true and proper Divinity think it enough to say, in answer to all the arguments for this truth brought from the glory and power ascribed to Him, that He received all this at His resurrection and ascension, and that this power and glory are not His natural perfections - but His acquired honors, and of no more ancient date than the work of redemption. "But this is to confound the distinct states of glory which belong to Him; the glory which He had with the Father before the world was, and the glory which He received from the Father at the redemption of man; one the glory of nature - the other the glory of office; one the glory of the eternal Logos, or Word - the other the glory of the Son of Man; in short, one the glory of His eternal Divinity - and the other the glory of His mediatorial Person, as God-man."

Let us now attend to a brief exposition of the different parts of this wonderful passage.

"Who being in the form of God." What is meant by the form of God? Not, a some assert, His power to work miracles. This power is nowhere else so called - if this were its meaning, the apostles were as truly in the form of God as Christ Himself,for they also wrought miracles as well as He. Whatever it means, it was possessed previous to His being in the likeness of men, and laid aside when He became in fashion as a man; but Christ was in the likeness of men thirty years before He wrought any miracle, and, in fact, never to the last laid aside this power. Moreover, as the "form of a servant," and "the likeness and fashion of a man," signify true humanity - the form of God, to which these expressions are put in contrast, must mean true and proper Divinity. It refers, then, to the visible manifestation of the Divine glory in heaven, similar - but transcendently superior, to the Shekinah, or symbol of the Divine presence, in the Holy of Holies, upon the mercy-seat, between the cherubim.

"Thought it not robbery to be equal with God," deemed it no usurpation to receive the honors, and exercise the rights of Deity. This expression is rendered by some expositors thus, "He did not covet to appear as God." If this be the true interpretation, it rather strengthens than weakens the argument for Christ's Divinity. For if He were not God, what condescension was it in Him, as man, not to covet to appear as God? Is it any condescension in the constable of a village not to covet to appear in the state and character of royalty? 

"But made Himself of no reputation,"  or as the words literally rendered mean, "He emptied or divested Himself" of this manifestation of His glory; He laid it aside, as  a monarch might the robes and regalia of his state, as a sovereign. Of His Divine nature Christ could not divest Himself - of His Divine state or manifestation, he could.

"And took upon Him the form of a servant," by serving not only God - but others.

"He was made in the likeness of men." Instead of appearing as God, He came as man; for being made in the likeness of men, signifies that He was truly human.

"And being found in fashion as a man." In what fashion should, or could He be found, if He were only man? What was there wonderful, or worthy of remark in this, if He might not and could not have appeared in some other fashion?

"He humbled Himself." How? By becoming "obedient unto death." Here is the proof and display of His humility, His being obedient unto death, His being willing to die, and submitting to the stroke of mortality. His death was a voluntary act; He chose to die, and it was condescension in Him so to do. But it may be well asked, "If He were nothing but man, what choice had He in the matter, or what condescension did He display in submitting to it?" If He were only man, mortality was His lot, His condition, and in no sense His choice, and could not, therefore, be any voluntary humility. How is that to be humility in Christ, which is necessary in every one else? Only on the ground, that while in one view of His Person He is truly and properly man, in another view He is more than man.

"Even the death of the Cross." Crucifixion was the most torturing and degrading method of execution; being accursed by the law of the Jews, and ignominious by that of the Gentiles; the punishment of the lowest slaves, and worst of felons.

Now, then, look at the mind of Christ as set forth in this most wonderful transaction. He Who was truly and properly God, who manifested Himself by a visible glorious light in heaven, and received the adoration of the celestial hosts, instead of coming down upon earth for our redemption in the splendor of Divine majesty, took upon Him a servile condition, and displayed His condescension by becoming man - but though man, yet being also Lord of all things, He was superior to the necessity of dying, and became subject to death only because He chose to die. To die was, therefore, in Him astonishing humility; but the climax of all this stupendous condescension, was His submission to the death of the Cross. If we take into consideration, then, the Deity of Christ, the argument of the apostle is conclusive, and his example complete; but without this, you will hardly find either his argument, or the humility of Christ Jesus.

~John Angell James~

(continued with # 3)

The Mind of Christ # 1

The Mind of Christ # 1 

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5).

You know full well, that the seat of all true religion is in the soul, and that it forms the character and guides the conduct by the power of an inward principle of spiritual life. True godliness is, in short, being right-minded. A question, however, arises as to what a right mind really is, and what kind of prevailing disposition the gospel requires in those who profess to believe it. This is answered by the apostle, where he says, "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus," (Phil. 2:5-9). And he then goes on to show what Christ's mind was. This whole passage deserves your closest attention, both on account of its doctrinal truth and its practical bearing, for it shows in a very striking manner the intimate connection between Christian truth and practice - and how the truth is employed by the sacred writers to enforce Christian practice. The most sublime doctrines of our holy Christian religion, are all practical in their design and tendency - they are not mere theory or academics - but are all of them "the truth which is according to godliness." If there is any mystery of religion which is great and high above the thoughts of men and angels, it is, without doubt, the incarnation of the Son of God; and if there be any place where this important truth is clearly and magnificently represented, it is this passage. The terms are at once so sublime and majestic, that it is impossible anything more sublime or majestic could be said; the meaning is so noble and so well established, that nothing more powerful could be imagined.

The design of the passage is to enforce the injunctions of the preceding verses, that is, to repress all selfish considerations of our own rights, interests, and dignity, and in the exercise of a kind and condescending regard to the welfare of others, to fore go for their advantage what we might claim for our own. "Look not every man on his own things - but every man also on the things of others." The disposition which the apostle enjoins is that particular species of Christian virtue which stands opposed to a stiff and tenacious maintenance of outward distinctions,personal rights, and social rank and precedence; and which consists of a meek humility, and benevolent condescension for the sake of promoting the comfort and interests of our fellow Christians. And because this is the most difficult lesson for our proud and selfish hearts to learn in the school of Christ, he enforces it by the power of the most cogent and splendid example which the universe contains, I mean that of our Lord Jesus Christ. Whatever, therefore, is the right view of the passage must of necessity contain an instance, on the part of Christ, of great and striking condescension, and of profound humility, or it would not be relevant to the occasion. Whatever exposition of it leaves out this, or does not bring it prominently forward, cannot be the right one.

Whoever will attentively, and without the bias of preconceived notions or systems, consider this passage, will observe that the apostle points out three different states or conditions of our Lord Jesus Christ - 

1. The first is a state of antecedent infinite dignity and glory, expressed in the words, "Who being in the form of God."

2. The second is a state of subsequent humiliation, described thus, "but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant."

3. The third is a state of consequent exaltation, set forth in what follows, "Therefore God has highly exalted Him."

Now the obvious design of the apostle's argument is to prove the benevolent and condescending humility of Christ, by descending from the first of these states to the second. Had there been no previous dignity and glory, there could have been no subsequent condescension, because condescension necessarily involves the idea of a stoop or descent from some previous dignity or elevation; a resignation of some claim to a superior station, a foregoing of some advantage or preeminence. And, at the same time, it is necessary that such humiliation should be perfectly voluntary. So that in our Lord's case, if there were any condescension at all, he must have had a previous and dignified existence, from which he stooped in becoming man; and in which he must have acted with perfect freedom of choice, without being under any other obligation than the constraint of his own benevolence. If there had been no previous state of glory; or allowing there had, if he had been under any obligation in doing what he did - either of authority or justice - there could have been no benevolent condescension.

~John Angell James~

(continued with # 2)

The Woman at the Well of Samaria (and others)

The Woman at the Well of Samaria (and others)

When once, by the operation of the Spirit on our conscience, we have been stripped of:
formality,
superstition,
self-righteousness,
hypocrisy,
presumption,
pride, 
and the other delusions of the flesh that hide themselves under the mask of religion - we have felt the difference between having a name to live while dead, and the power of vital godliness - and as a measure of divine life has flowed into the heart out of the fullness of the Son of God - we desire no other religion but that which stands in the power of God - by that alone can we live, and by that alone we feel that we can die.

And, at last, we are brought to this conviction and solemn conclusion - that there is no other true religion but that which consists in the continued teachings of the Holy Spirit, and the communications of the life of God to the soul.

And with the Spirit's teachings are connected...
all the actings of faith in the soul,
all the anchorings of hope in the heart,
all the flowings forth of love,
every tear of genuine contrition that flows down the cheeks,
every sigh of godly sorrow that heaves from the bosom,
every cry and groan because of the  body of sin,
every breath of spiritual prayer that comes from the heart,
every casting of our souls upon Christ,
all submission to Him,
all enjoyment of Him, and
all the inward embracements of Him
in His suitability and preciousness. 

~J. C. Philpot~
__________________________

Through the Inward Conflicts, Secret Workings

Through the inward conflicts, secret workings, mysterious changes, and ever varying exercises of his soul, the true Christian becomes established in a deep experience...
of his own folly and God's wisdom,
of his own weakness and Christ's strength,
of his own sinfulness and the Lord's goodness,
of his own backslidings and the Spirit's recoverings,
of his own base ingratitude and Jehovah's patience,
of the abounding of sin and the super aboundings of grace.

He thus becomes daily more and more confirmed in...
the vanity of the creature,
the utter helplessness of man,
the deceitfulness and hypocrisy of the human heart,
the sovereignty of distinguishing grace,
the fewness of heaven taught ministers,
the scanty number of living souls,
and the great rareness of true religion.

~J. C. Philpot~
___________________________

Wrought with Divine Power

"Our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction" (1 Thess. 1:5).

Most men's religion is nothing else but a round of forms... some have their doings, some have their doctrine, and others have their duties.

And when the one has performed his "doings", the other learned his "doctrines", and the third discharged his "duties" - why, he is as good a Christian, he thinks, as anybody. While all the time, the poor deceived creature is thoroughly ignorant of the kingdom of God, which stands not in simply in word - but in power.

But as the veil of ignorance is taken off the heart, we begin to see and feel that there is a power in vital godliness - a reality in the teachings of the Spirit - that religion is not to be put on and put off as a man puts on and off his Sunday clothes.

Where vital godliness is wrought with divine power in a man's heart, and preached by the Holy Spirit into his conscience - it mingles, daily and often hourly, with his thoughts - entwines itself with his feelings - and becomes the very food and drink of his soul.

Now when a man comes to this spot - to see and feel what a reality there is in the things of God made manifest in the conscience by the power of the Holy Spirit - it effectually takes him out of dead churches, cuts him off from false ministers, winnows the chaff from the wheat, and brings him into close communion with the broken-hearted family of God.

Our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction". (1 Thess. 1:5).

~J. C. Philpot~

Saturday, June 9, 2018

The Glory of God In Resurrection # 2

The Glory of God In Resurrection # 2

When we come to the sense of the weakness and futility and worthlessness of the natural life as before God and hate it, and are horrified at the thought of it being exposed at all, we do not want it to be seen, oh, how different this is from so many who display the flesh, even in the service of God. It is themselves you are meeting all the time in the work of the Lord. They like to wear labels, their office written in large letters on the label, displaying themselves in the work of the Lord; "I am So-and-so and this and that!" Even if they do not wear a label, you can read it. What you meet is the natural man, his love of prominence and love of being seen and heard, known; rushing about with bundles of papers under his arm, so official. That never can result in the glory of God; that, or any other form of the flesh, does not bring glory to God. It is taking glory FROM God to the flesh. However, when we have been bought very low, to shrink from the very thought of that, of any flesh coming into view, taking the attitude that they took at the tomb, "Lord, don't you uncover that, it is too awful to contemplate now!" that is a very good position, because, once we have got there, there is the possibility of seeing the glory of God.

The Sovereignty of God Working for the Glory of God

Now, as our time has practically gone, the only other thing that I must say is this - the element, the feature, of sovereignty in all this for the glory of God; how the sovereignty of God is working for the glory of God. Take the man lame,for instance. Well, he had been thee many years and the story would imply that others had been there and got healed, but every time he lost the chance, and still he was kept there all those years, "and when Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he had been now a long time in that state..." Why? Was it an accident? The man might say, "Oh, how unfortunate I have been!" He might have spoken as men of the world speak today - "How unlucky I am! When there is healing going and the waters are disturbed, others get the good. I miss it every time; what an unlucky man I am! Somehow or other, I must be the one left every time!" Was it chance, misfortune, bad luck, anything like that?

Again pass to chapter 9, the man born blind, the inquiry: "Who sinned, this man, or his parents, that he should be born blind?" The man might have said, "How unfortunate I am! I, among thousands, an born blind, I am the unlucky one, mine is an unfortunate lot, destiny has played a hard trick with me!"

Pass on to Lazarus. He is sick, desperately sick, and either Lazarus,or his sisters, or both, might have said, "What a misfortune, how unfortunate! We do have to suffer, others do not suffer like this, a lot of people escape, but we here are the unfortunate ones, the ones who seem to catch what is going every time".

And the Lord's reaction every time is, "Oh no, it is not like that, this thing has been in hand from the beginning, the Father and I have had it in hand!" Strange as it may seem, this man lying there was not there by accident, and did not miss the opportunities because he was unlucky. The Lord saw to it that he did not get them. The Lord had that matter in hand. The man born blind - it was not an accident of birth. The Lord had the matter in hand - that the works of God might be shown in him. Lazarus - oh, it was not just that he was caught and overtaken by some sickness, that they were the unfortunate family. No, "this sickness is not unto death but for the glory of God". God has it in hand.

The thing that I do want to say is just this: that if we are called into the sphere of the works of God, that is, into the way of the glory of God, we are going to be made the sermon, we are not going to preach a sermon. It will not just be that we are preaching the truth. We are going to be made that, and what happens in our lives under the hand of God will preach far louder than any words of ours. The Lord is going to make us living epistles and going to take hold of our lives and do those things in our lives which make it necessary for the power of His resurrection to be seen. And then, not by the teaching that we give, but because that truth, the doctrine, has been made a living thing in us in the power of God, others are able to look on and say, "Well, that one is the embodiment of the truth!" and that matters far more than all the addresses and discourses that could be given; that is far more powerful. "Now unto the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places might e made known through the church the manifold wisdom of God" (Eph. 3:10) that is, by the things through which we go.

That is a challenge, of course. It is not a pleasant thing. You would far sooner go to a Bible College and go and preach to the heathen than to present your body a living sacrifice to God and let Him take you down again and again into situations where the miracle of resurrection is necessary in order to preach through  you like that. But that is the thing that counts, that matters. I am not always sure that a great deal of glory comes to God by the things of the Lord preached, but I am positive that a great deal of glory comes to God when the thing is done in a life and the work of God is resurrection, the work of God leads to His glory.  That is a difficult way, a painful way, no way which you or I would covet for ourselves and rush after, but nevertheless it is the way of Divine glory. And when we think again of being in the work of the Lord, do not let us think about taking so many meetings and organizing so much activity, let us think rather, the work of God is this: raising the dead to get glory to Himself. There is no place and way and sphere in which more glory comes to God in resurrection. I do like the apostolic rejoinder, "You crucified Him, hanging Him upon a tree, but God raised Him" - you went as far as you could, you determined that should be the end, but God raised Him, and the laughter of God comes in there, the laughter of all heavenly intelligences comes in with "But God!"

Well, may the Lord give us to see His glory as in what He does in resurrection.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(The End)

[I have been using T. Austin-Sparks for many years, and, from time to time, let readers know that his ministry writings are not copyrighted. T. Austin-Sparks always, always said that God freely gave him his Christian knowledge and so, T. Austin-Sparks desired to "FREELY give His divine knowledge to everyone. Any book with his writings, published by various publishers, can only have the front page, title page, publishers name, and publication date - all can be copyrighted except for T. Austin's writings. I give you below the "official" wording as to what the T. Austin-Sparks foundation allows.]

[In keeping with T. Austin-Sparks wishes that what was freely received should be freely given and not sold for profit, and that his messages be reproduced word for word, we ask if you choose to share these messages with others, to please respect his wishes and offer them freely - free of any changes, free of any charge except necessary distribution costs and with this statement included.]

Saturday, June 2, 2018

The Glory of God In Resurrection # 1

The Glory of God in Resurrection # 1

You notice that the opening of John chapter 5 has to do with the lame man at the Pool of Bethesda, and the Lord's making him to rise up and walk, and the resultant persecution. Then at verse 17 we have, "Jesus answered them, My Father worketh even until now, and I work ... Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of Himself, but what he seeth the Father doing; for what things soever He doeth, these things the Son also doeth in like manner...As the Father raiseth the dead and giveth them life, even so the Son also giveth life to whom He will" (vv. 17-21).

"And as He passed by, He saw a man blind from his birth. And his disciples asked Him, saying, Rabbi, who sinned, this man, or his patents, that he should be born blind? Jesus answered, Neither did this man sin, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him. We must work the works of Him that sent Me, while it is day; the nigh cometh when no man can work" (John 9:1-4).

"But when Jesus heard it, He said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified thereby" (John 11:4).

"Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou believedst, thou shouldest see the glory of God?" (John 11:40).

Our brother has led our thoughts in the direction of that all-important work of the Cross in clearing ground for God and for us. We are able to pass over for a few minutes to the other side of the Cross, the Life side, and these words in John 11:4 contain the essence of things: "not unto death, but for the glory of God". You notice things which are set over against each other there, not even, "not death, but Life", or "not unto death, but unto Life'; it does not say that (although that is how it works out, or that is the way) but the opposites are death and the glory of God. Death stands against the glory of God and the glory of God is altogether ruled out where there is death. But, on the other hand, the glory of God rules out death, and where the glory of God is, there is no death.

Now, we have in these several passages references to the work of God or the works of God: "My Father worketh and I work", "My Father worketh", Neither did this man sin, nor his parents; but that the works of God should be made manifest in him", "Said I not unto thee, that, if thou believedst, thou shouldest see the  glory of God?" So that the work of God, or the works of God which are unto the glory of God, are works of resurrection. Resurrection is God's way of getting glory, and if we are really coming into the sphere of Divine activities and the works of God, we must expect that everything in those works of God leading to the glory of God, will be in terms of resurrection; so that the works of God in us and through us by His Son, Jesus Christ, will be resurrection works. And in order that glory might really come to the Lord, we, being brought into the presence of the utter necessity for the Lord has got to work. There will be no doubt about it that the Lord has got to work and unless the Lord does work, then that is an end of it. And if the Lord's works are resurrection, then, the necessities unto which we shall be brought will be necessities for resurrection. This will mean that we shall have to have a very deep realization, on the one hand, of the hopelessness of the situation, and a deep strong apprehension, on the other hand, of the God of resurrection. And the Lord will see to it that we have a very lively sense of how bad things are and how necessary it is for Him to enter in.

No Place for the Glory of God in the Flesh

This story of Lazarus, for instance, does bring out, among other things, this: that the Lord will see to it that we have a horror of the uncovering of the flesh. You notice when they came to the tomb and the Lord said, "Take away the stone", they stood back horrified. "Lord, by this time he stinketh." A horror of really what the flesh is from God's standpoint: the real corruption that is there, the real hopelessness of things there.

Do you realize, that it is an important factor in the realm of the works of God that we have a horror of the flesh? There is a necessity for the cutting off, the putting away, of it. It does not come into the realm of the work of God. Let me just add to the strength of what he said by this: that the Lord would have us, rather than work in the energy of the flesh, have a perfect horror of the flesh in the presence of the Lord Jesus. It is not until we have that loathing, that awful sense of what the flesh is before God, that we can come into the great work of God on that side of Divine life. That is one thing. I do not think that anybody ever really knows the works of God and glory of God in resurrection until they have come to a very deep apprehension of the utter worthlessness and abhorrence of the natural life as in the sight of God, so that it cries out, "Woe is me, I am undone!" That is what Lazarus would have said if he could have spoken from the tomb. At any rate, that represents his position. "Woe is me, for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips" (Isa. 6:5). Until we come to that, we cannot know the glory of God because thee is no place for the glory of God in the flesh. No flesh shall glory in His presence.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 2)

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Road By Which the Spirit Leads God's Children (and others)

The Road By Which the Spirit Leads God's Children

"As many as are led by the Spirit of God - they are the sons of God" (Romans 8:14).

All true Christians are under the leading and teaching of a power which is Almighty, though unseen - even the power of the Holy Spirit. They no longer turn to their own way, and walk in the light of their own eyes, and follow their own natural heart's desire. The Spirit leads them. The Spirit guides them. There is a movement in their hearts, lives, and affections, which they feel - though they may not be able to explain; and a movement which is always more or less in the same direction.

They are all led...
away from sin,
away from self-righteousness,
away from the world!

This is the road by which the Spirit leads God's children. Those whom God adopts as His children - He teaches and trains. He shows them their own hearts. He makes them weary of their own ways.

They are all lead to Christ.
They are all led to the Bible.
They are all led to prayer.
They are all led to holiness.
This is the beaten path along which the Spirit makes them to travel.
Those whom God adopts - He always sanctifies.
He makes sin very bitter to them.
He makes holiness very sweet.

When they are taken into the wilderness, and taught to see their own emptiness - it is the leading of the Spirit.

It is He who leads them to Sinai, and first shows them the law - that their hearts may be broken.
It is He who leads them to Calvary, and shows them the Cross - that their hearts may be bound up and healed.

It is He who leads them to Pisgah, and gives them distinct views of the promised land - that their hearts may be cheered.

Each and all of God's children is the  subject of these leadings. And each and all is led by the right way, to bring him to a city of habitation.

Settle this down in your heart, and do not let it go: the children of God are a people "led by the Spirit of God", and always led more or less in the same way. Their experience will tally wonderfully when they compare notes in Heaven.

~J. C. Ryle~
___________________________

This Precious Anointing!

This holy anointing of the Spirit will impart clearness to your mind, so that you shall have a right judgment in all things.

It will impart sweetness to your temper;
gentleness to your spirit, and will give you
a lowly, loving, self-condemning heart.

It will make your behavior towards others more Christlike. It will fill you with charity and love; the grace of kindness will be in your heart, and the law of kindness on your lips.

This precious anointing is so soul transforming,
so Christ assimilating in its influence, that it is impossible to partake of it in any degree and not be like Jesus.

When you see a religious professor who is...
proud in heart,
lofty in spirit,
covetous in his aims,
condemning others,
justifying himself,
unsympathizing, or harsh;
you see one who is lacking this anointing.

He is not sitting at the feet of Jesus.

~Octavius Winslow~



Saturday, May 19, 2018

Righteous Judgment

Righteous Judgment

Read Matthew 7:1-5

"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. And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, "Let me remove the speck from your eye"; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

In our society of so-called "tolerance," we are often struck with an opposition of people who cry that we have no right to judge them. In fact, I've even heard some go so far as to claim that "Jesus never judged people. He even taught that we are not to judge!" Strangely enough, they will quote Matthew 7:1 in attempts to convince others that Jesus has condemned all judging.

In the first two words of this passage, Jesus does tell us to "Judge not..." But these two words have been perverted and twisted to teach that when one calls the actions of another error and expresses that continuance in such ways will condemn the soul, that individual is judging, which is supposedly "condemned" in the Bible. But from the context of this passage, what judging is forbidden? Is it judging that makes a distinction between right and wrong? Is there never a time and place for seeing and reprimanding a fault?

If we take the view that judging is completely and totally forbidden, then that would make the doctrinal and moral purity of the church impossible to maintain. This would violate other teachings and divine examples that Christ has revealed in His word (see: Matt. 7:15; John 5:30; 7:24). It would commit us to neutrality and that is the very opposite of the stance Christ wants us to take.

What many fail to realize is that Jesus taught, (in the same context of instructing us to "judge not") that we are given the right and responsibility to make judgments in order to help our fellow man with their problem of sin, provided we have first "removed the plank from our own eye." Jesus expects you to be able to see clearly, so that you can "remove the speck from your brother's eye". So there are judgments to be made, within ourselves, and of others.

But then, what judging is the Lord telling us not to practice? In our text, Jesus is forbidding the judging that if for the purpose of putting down others to exalt one's self. It is the habit of finding fault in others when really there are more faults within yourself. How can you expect to help a person with a few transgressions when you are overwhelmed with sin? Jesus simply teaches that in order to pass righteous judgment on another, we ought to first examine ourselves. Let us remove the plank in our eye. Then, and only then, can we see clearly to remove the speck in our brother's eye.

The teaching of Jesus in this passage is concerned with the attitude of a man, not a complete absence of our judgment. Christ is not permitting us to avoid making hard decisions or taking difficult stands. He is warning us not to have a bitter, hypercritical, faultfinding spirit. That is a haughty attitude God will not tolerate.

However, as God's children, although we must be cautious in our judgments concerning ourselves and others, we cannot ignore our Lord's commands that instruct us to make judgments. In John 7:24, Jesus said "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment". Here we are clearly commanded to judge with righteous judgment.

But what does it mean to judge with righteous judgment? Jesus revealed this earlier in John 5:30: Jesus spoke,saying "I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me."

If we seek and follow the true will of God, which can only be found in His word, then when it comes time for us to help people discern between right and wrong, then we will not judge with our opinions or what we think is right, but just like the mind that Christ had, we will only seek to do the will of the Father. Following the limitations for judgment that are taught throughout the scriptures, all we are to do in order to judge righteous judgment is to hear God's word, and judge using His standard.

How can anyone honestly say that Jesus didn't judge? For that matter, when our Lord's true followers make righteous judgments, based on His word, in order to expose sin and false teachings, and to help the lost to be saved, why would anyone ever think that Jesus would condemn them for that? Jesus has plainly revealed that those who abide in His ways will judge with righteous judgment.

~John Hagenbuch~