Judging

 

1 Corinthians 4:3

 

But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself.

 

Paul the apostle is speaking in the above verse. We judge others critically because we see someone sin and we are clearly still bound by sin (Matthew 7:3-5, Romans 2:1).Since we still have that desire to sin we are actually coveting the act they do.†† When we have sinís stronghold broken in us (like Paul did) then we donít covet that sin anymore so we donít judge either ourselves or others.We love God so we live to please Him.But when we see someone sin, and when we have not been totally delivered from that sin, we immediately judge ourselves because of our desire to perform that sin.Since our heart still wants to do it, but we donít want to because it goes against God, then we are hard on ourselves regarding our desire.As a result, we judge ourselves hard in this area.So, when we look at the person who has stirred this fight in us, it will only be natural that we will fight or (judge) them harshly as well.The answer is for us to see sin in our lives for what it is (Romans 7:15-25) and to be free from its stronghold (2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Matthew 7:5).When this happens then we do not judge ourselves for the desire of that sin because we simply do not want to do it.Because we do not want to do it then we have peace in our hearts and there exists no fight.When we have peace in our hearts then that peace will flow out and we will be at peace with others.We will not judge them critically simply because we are at peace with ourselves, not needing to judge ourselves or others (1 Corinthians 4:1-3, Mark 9:50, Colossians 4:6).

 

Do we conquer sin ourselves?NOÖ Then how did Paul the apostle do it?We need to change our focus, including the way we look at sin and ourselves.

 

The path to freedom is easy, it just takes the right focus to walk down that path successfully.The reason Paul the apostle didnít judge himself (1 Corinthians 4:1-3) was because he knew he was a wretched sinner to the core.This truth was a foundation to his faith and to his life in Christ, and his focus sets a good example for us.He simply knew he was the ďchief of sinnersĒ (1 Timothy 1:12-17) and any rationalization to try and justify through an inward probe that there might be something good in him would in essence be a total denial of what he knew to be true.Itís simple.Someone who is internally probing still believes there is good to be found, or they wouldnít be probing.Paul knew there was nothing good to be found in himself so he gave up, and never bothered to look again.You see, Paul was totally broken (Luke 20:18) over the reality that there was nothing good in him that he could judge, so he quit trying to justify himself through some vain search.For this reason, as the scripture says, there was no need for him to ďjudge himself.ĒHe had already been there too many times and knew there was nothing redeemable by his human standards.He trusted in Godís restoration process (sanctification) and in Godís judgment, so he rested from his labors.A lot of people who judge today and who continue to judge themselves have not learned the basic lesson that gave Paul rest and peace in Christ.There is no reason to judge what has already been judged.The reason people try is because they get caught up into thinking that they might have something to offer God once they become saved, or to add to God naturally, in order to please Him.This view is not even biblical because even a Christianís works are the expression of Christ in them, and not what they are ďaddingĒ to God.Paul had rest because he knew nothing was good in himself, only the emanation of Christ through him.In short, the people judging Paul were prideful beasts whose focus was not on brokenness but on their ways.They had the wrong focus, and mimicked a people whom Jesus rebuked in his Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.Pay close attention the peopleís false focus:

 

Luke 18: 9-14

 

To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other menórobbers, evildoers, adulterersóor even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.í But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Basically the false focus resulted in the person trying to justify themselves which resulted in him judging his brother.He was prideful and projected that pride through judgment.When you see deeper in God, you actually begin to spiritually see that judgment on others and false pride is actually the result of an insecure foundation (those who donít really know Christ, or understand His ways).Anyone trying to project a self-righteous image is coming from an insecure place because none of us are righteous.The mere idea of believing you are pleasing God by your actions is a diluted belief and has no foundation.It is only in Christ that we can please God, and that by His Spirit, not by our own flesh or efforts.To believe this means you are on a shaky foundation already, and Paul knew this, and is why he confidently ignored their fleshly judgment.Not accepting Godís eternal truth, believing youíre something that youíre not makes you insecure.Insecure people reach for security which usually lends itself in the form of pride or jealousy.The result is a self-righteousness attitude that condemns others.It is clear from the parable the one doing the condemning was self-righteous and Jesus wasnít pleased with his offering.The other, who was broken, was received by God.Paul the apostle chose deep in his heart (Godís discipline engineering the way --2 Corinthians 12:7-10), to create the mainstay of that broken-hearted man so that anything built on that foundation would be sure.Paul didnít judge himself because broken people donít judge themselves, they ask for mercy.Paulís focus was correct, and his justification, correct.He had peace, whereas the people doing the condemning were actually caught up within the condemnation process; almost like a dog chasing its tail.This process begins with insecurity which moves into pride.This prideful self-righteous attitude eventually produces vehement judgment towards oneís self and ultimately, judgment toward others.Havenít you ever noticed that people who are usually hard on you are actually harder on themselves???Paul was able to fully escape this condemnation process by simply accepting Godís truth that he was a wretched sinner and that nothing good could come from him.The reason others get caught up in this process is because although they accept they are sinners, and although they accept they need Godís grace, they only accept it to a degree and they only abide in it to that degree.In order for faith and grace to be matured, it needs to be lived inÖ continually.Just like what Paul said to the Galatians:

 

Galatians 3:1-5

 

You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothingóif it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?†††††††††

 

You see, these were Christians, but they were Christians who had begun to get caught up in false doctrine.Doctrine that would put them at odds against the Spirit of Christ which Paul preached.You see, it is clear you can become a Christian but then become deceived into believing views which directly challenge God.†† Some who have received Christ have thereafter become self-willed falling into condemnation.They donít rest in Christís work and theyíre not broken toward the sanctification process regarding their own wretchedness and sinfulness (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4).Resting in your sinfulness as well as what Christ has done for you will make you secure, and you will have salt in yourselves (Mark 9:50). Any other spiritual unction gives birth to insecurity and eventually prideful judgment.Paul avoided doing anything other, and he was justified, having peace and security in Jesusí work.For this reason, there became no need for him to judge himself, or others for that matter.