When Do We Judge

Max Ogden
Noblesville, Indiana

We know in this day and time it is necessary to decide in matters that pertain to religion. We have learned by experience and reason that one is not right only because he is sincere in what he thinks and does. We believe that a thing must be proven to be right, or it fails.

Jesus said, "Judge not, that we be not judged" (Matt. 7:1, 2). He also said, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge rigi1teous judgment" (Jno. 7:24). The apostles many times condemned judging among the brethren. It seems that the brethren at Corinth were judging Paul for he said, "But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self" (1 Cor. 4:3). Jesus also is very plain in the statement, "Ye shall know them by their fruits" (Matt. 7:16).

We learn by these passages that one is to decide in certain matters. We also learn that the decision must be just and right and not just as it may appear to us, and that God is displeased with other kinds of judging.

Recently we have heard and read statements of the brethren that go something like this, "We have stayed so close to the letter that we have missed the spirit of things." I firmly believe that we must stay with the letter, and also the spirit of things. When Jesus spoke to the woman at the well He said, "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth" (Jno. 4: 24). God is the one that furnishes us the truth in worship. We must worship that way to be acceptable to God. It is my obligation to see that my spirit is in the attitude to please God. We are to be "Fervent in spirit" (Rom 12:11). This means: very earnest. There is not a thing required of God for one to do in becoming a Christian, or in service to Him as a Christian, to be engaged in as merely a form.

I am amazed to hear the brethren inviting others to enjoy their fellowship in fun. I do not question their fellowship together in having fun, but I do question their fellowship with God in a service designed to have fun. We enjoy immensely the fellowship of the brethren when we meet at the Lord's table, but it is not acceptable to God unless it is done in the spirit.

This is what I must try to decide about: "Staying with the Letter and missing the spirit." Is such a statement made to get me worked up to the point where I will be willing to strive to do things, thinking that the end justifies the means? By this I will try to work out ways and means to do things never warranted in the scriptures? If so, it is impossible for me to please God, because I have failed to, " Abide in the doctrine of Christ." It might be well for me to consider what Paul had to say when he desired that the brethren be rooted and grounded, "That Christ may dwell in their hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God" (Eph. 3: 17-19). How could one become so deluded to think that he could know things higher or deeper, longer or wider than God? Brethren, let us rally to the greatest cause in all the world, marching at His orders, in the spirit of Him who hath called us, and we can have the assurance that it will always please God.

Truth Magazine VII: 11, pp. 1b
August 1963