House of the Righteous
Correction vs Condemnation vs Conviction
 
Judge Not
 

"Judge not, that ye be not judged"
(Matthew 7:1).

Many Christians today use the above verse as an excuse to remain silent in the presence of sin and disobedience. Thety believe we shouldn't judge others, because the same "measure we use to measure others will be used against us." And so, they remain silent and look the other way when a fellow Christians stumbles, falls and persists in willful sin. Tolerance is the word of this new age. We should 'tolerate' other people's actions and choices, from adultery and homosexuality to lying, cheating and corruption. Even in many churches today the message from the pulpit is either one of tolerance or a complete avoidance of any topic that may "offend" someone.

Let us examine the word 'judge':

Greek Word
(Strong's Number 2919)
Phonetic Spelling Definition

 

 

kree'no
 
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to judge;
to pronounce judgment;
to subject, to censure;
to pronounce an opinion concerning right and wrong;
to separate, put asunder, to pick out, select, choose;
to approve, esteem, to prefer

The word “judge” in the Greek is the word “krino” which refers to the idea of “condemnation” or “sentencing”. 

Only God has the right to judge or condemn.

 
Judge vs Rebuke
 

The word ‘krino’ (judge) should not be confused with the words ‘rebuke’ or ‘admonish’. For when you rebuke or admonish you are essentially correcting people, not condemning them.

Unfortunately, people seem to believe that rebuke and condemn mean the same thing. But are you really condemning or sentencing a person to eternal damnation when you point out sin or disobedience?  Not at all! You are simply telling them what God doesn’t approve of. And to take it further, even if you were to condemn an action or belief that is contrary to that which is good, that would only mean that you are condemning that action or belief, not the people associated with it.  Moreover such condemnation would not derive from you, but from the Scriptures which identify sin.

Correction is not judgment.  The Bible says that we should correct, rebuke and be bold to those who are sinning. 

“There is now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus” 
(Romans 8:1).

When He (the Holy Spirit) has come,
He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness,
and of judgment. 
(John 16:8)


There is a huge difference between the conviction of the Holy Spirit and the condemnation of the enemy of our faith, because it can affect how we approach life.

The Holy Spirit works to convict us to push away from the ensnarement of sin (doing that which is wrong) and towards God in freedom.

The condemning spirit of the enemy of our faith works to push us away from God in shame and condemnation, so we are more prone in hopelessness, to continue to do what we should NOT.  Condemnation is also the “judgment” by God of all sin and sinners.  Those who have accepted Christ will escape the eternal life or death judgment by God.  
However, when we are being corrected by someone speaking the Word or by the Word Himself, our first reaction will be a fleshly one – we will “feel” that person is condemning or judging us.   Hardness of heart, pride, emotions, and sin can cause us to resist the Spirit.

If you say that you “feel” condemnation because of what another Christian believer is led by the Spirit to say to you, ask God for the Spirit of Discernment, because what you may experience as “condemnation” may actually be the Holy Spirit convicting you of something.

God does not tolerate sin and iniquity

Sometimes people get the mistaken impression that God is only a God of love. That’s not the way the Bible pictures Him.

Luther said: “God hides his eternal goodness and mercy under eternal wrath, His righteousness under iniquity” (LW 33:59).


Jesus dealt harshly with sin

Whenever Jesus showed up, He brought division among men. He brought inner peace to a few, but outward hostility among people who were getting along fine until He showed up.
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. 
I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”
(Matthew 10:34)

Christ's Spirit is the great polarizer, wedge driver, sword. If this same Spirit lives in us, we should expect that we too will illuminate what eternal side people are on.
Jesus and the Apostles were very bold and rebuked and condemned evil. They even openly rebuked people in the church for doing evil, in order to strengthen the church.  There were examples when even physical force was used to correct them.  Jesus made a whip of cords, overturned the tables of the moneychangers and drove them all out of the temple (John 2:13-22).

We are agents of conviction

We are not here to “peddle” the Word of God by pacifying people, careful not to hurt their feelings, avoiding confrontation, careful not to upset them and thus allowing sin and disobedience to reign. 
Christians have the unmistakable "scent" of Christ, discernible alike to those who are being saved and to those who are heading for death.   (2 Corinthians 2:15-17)   When we walk in the Spirit, we have the fragrance of Christ.  In the presence of sin and disobedience that fragrance may be experienced by others as judgment and condemnation, but in the presence of righteousness, it is a sweet fragrance.
We read in the Word that the person that calls the guilty innocent shall be cursed himself. In the presence of disobedience and sin, we cannot remain silent for then we condone it and are ourselves guilty.
“He that saith unto the wicked (guilty), Thou are righteous (innocent);
him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him:
But to them that rebuke him shall be delight,   
and a good blessing shall come upon them.”
(Proverbs 24:24)

We should have the courage to speak boldly when we are confronted with sin and iniquity, not only with unbelievers, but also within the church and with fellow believers.
Paul admonished and reprimanded the early churches with boldness.  He instructed the Thessalonians to “withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly”, and not to keep “company with him, that he may be ashamed”.  (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15)
“Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.”
(Ephesians 5:11)

It should not surprise us that as we follow Christ, people who want to remain in sin will start to get uncomfortable around us; that we will be accused of being "judgmental" before we have said a word, and that in general we are disliked and avoided for the sake of His name.

Many Christians would rather “mind their own business” and not ruffle the feathers of others, using the excuses that we should all “love one another”, and “not judge others”.   When rebuking or correcting others, the ideal is to speak gently and respectfully, but you will find that often gentleness alone will not bring about change.  Often harsh, confrontational action is taken to “rattle the cage” of the person and to stir their spirit.  There is no greater deafness than the ear that will not hear. 

Peter dealt harshly with Ananias and Saphira.  He confronted Ananias, and later also Saphira, about his deception and he dropped dead on the spot.  (Acts 5:1-11)

Nowhere in the Bible does it say we should remain quiet in the presence of disobedience and sin.  Yes, we should love one another, believers and unbelievers alike.  Fellow Christians should encourage each other in love, however, when a fellow believer persists in disobedience, disorderliness and sin, we cannot remain silent.  The Word says clearly that we should speak boldly, and rebuke that person.
“Those who are sinning
rebuke in the presence of all,
that the rest also may fear.
(1 Timothy 5:20)

“If your brother sins against you, rebuke him;
and if he repents, forgive him.
(Luke 17:3)

“Preach the word!  Be ready in season and out of season.
Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
(2 Timothy 4:2)

“Therefore rebuke them sharply,
that they may be sound in the faith.”
(Titus 1:13)


“Exhort, and rebuke with all authority.”
(Titus 2:15)


We must speak up no matter what the results may be

It is God's will that we speak up against sin no matter what the consequences may be.  We may lose a friend or loved one, a relationship may be ruined, or we may come under attack.

It is more important to be obedient to God than to spare another’s feelings or to save a friendship.  It is sin for us to “pretend” that there is nothing wrong and say nothing, because you will be held accountable if you remain silent when the Spirit leads you to say something.

“When I say to the wicked: ‘O wicked man, you shall surely die!’
and you do not speak to warn the wicked from his way,
that wicked man shall die in his iniquity;
but his blood I will require at your hand.”
(Ezekiel 33:8)

Ezekiel was called to be a watchman for the captives of Judah. He was to warn the people about their sin.  They came against him and rejected what he said, but in reality, it was God who was the one for whom the people needed to watch out. He was the One whose holy law they had violated by their sin; he was the One for whom their vigilance could never prepare them.  But he is also the One who, through his prophets, sent the word of rescue: we have a gracious God who forgives the penitent sinner for the sake of his own sacrifice.

We are also watchmen and –women for God.  As believers we are responsible for watching over each other.  We cannot “make” anyone else be obedient or convince them of their sin.  It is the Holy Spirit that “convict” people of their sin and brings them to repentance.  We can only be obedient vessels and tools in God’s hands who speak boldly against sin and iniquity when God leads us to do so. 

As members of the body of Christ we share a moral responsibility to look after each other. The “do not judge” attitude is nothing more than an excuse to deny all accountability to that responsibility

We find many more examples in the Old and New Testament of the prophets and men of God who spoke harshly to the people of God, pointing out their disobedience and sin, admonishing them to repent and turn back to God.  In response many of them had to flee for their lives and came under vicious attack.  

In Nehemiah 13:25, Nehemiah cursed, struck and pulled out the hair of the Jews who rebelled by having pagan wives. There were other incidences where he forced people to stop lending money at interest, (Nehemiah 5:10-13) and threatened people for breaking the Sabbath (Nehemiah 13:19-21). Nehemiah forced people to do the right thing.

In the New Testament the apostles continued Jesus’ ministry by speaking boldly against sin.  The disciples offended many, were put in prison and were killed for their bold testimony, but they also won many to God. The people they influenced were more committed than most today, as the bold testimony of the Apostles example motivated them to put their life right.

When people reject the rebuke or correction

Wisdom cries out in Proverbs 1, “Turn at my rebuke; surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.”  She goes on to elaborate on the consequences awaiting those who reject her rebuke.

“Because you disdained all my counsel,
and would have none of my rebuke,
I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your terror comes.”
(Proverbs 1:25-26)

“They would have none of my counsel
and despised my every rebuke,
therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way,
and be filled to the full with their own fancies.”
(Proverbs 1:30-31)

It is important to understand that the person who brings the correction or rebuke is only a vessel or tool in the hands of God.  They are not a perfect vessel and may not convey the message exactly like you want to hear it, however, it is not the fallible vessel that we should look at, but rather the message from God.  It is very common for rejection to be the consequence of a rebuke or correction. 

We find many examples in scriptures of prophets, men and women of God being rejected for speaking God’s Word.   God told Elijah to flee into the wilderness after he announced a drought in the land.  There God took care of him through ravens.


A Natural Process

When we receive correction in whatever form, we may first resist because of “feelings” of condemnation, because it is the enemy’s opportunity to pull us away from God by encouraging us to have a fleshly response to the correction.  When we humble ourselves and our hearts soften, the conviction of the Holy Spirit draws us closer to God as we repent and change our behavior.

A clear example is the process a child goes through when he/she is disciplined by a parent.  The parent brings correction by confronting the child about their behavior.  The child’s first response may be stubborn, prideful indignation, anger, denial, rebelliousness, etc.  As the Spirit of conviction works in the child, he realizes the impact of his recklessness or disobedience, repents and changes his behavior.

But many of us stop at the “condemnation phase” and fail to move beyond our fleshly response, and so we miss out on what the Holy Spirit is trying to teach us, and we fail to be promoted to the next level.  And then we wonder why our situation isn’t changing,

Correction à  Condemnation  à  Conviction

Rebuking a sinner, exposing corruption, correcting someone in love or disciplining ones children is not judging wrongfully. If so, Jesus and the Apostles who were our example to follow would have been in error. I believe that the Devil is lying to people to convince them that Biblical correction is judging. Therefore, many believe that it is fine to go on sinning and not obey God by warning others. This is the opposite of the example set by the Apostles. People are more likely to take note and remember strong stirring words. Strong words cause people to repent and not remain lukewarm. Bold ministry can turn people off but they would probably turn away anyway and be considered by God to be lukewarm. Therefore, they probably would have been rejected by God anyway. In the Bible people mostly either turned well away or became committed believers.


It’s time for Christians to stand up against sin


The fastest way to become lukewarm is by sitting idly by and watching our fellow believers backslide and live in sin.   We aren’t called to be pacifiers but the salt of the earth. It’s time to get serious about God! We’re standing on the knife’s edge of eternity; the Lord is coming soon! The moral trumpet of warning must be sounded from the rooftops.  We need to be a voice crying out against sin and hands that are ready to pull sinners out of the fire; we need to be arms that embrace backsliders with the call of love and feet that won’t stop moving until the gospel has reached the world. 

“As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.
Therefore be zealous and repent.
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door,
I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne,
as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”
(Revelation 3:19-21)

Most importantly, we need to develop the humility to accept correction continually asking God to

“Search me, O God, and know my heart;
         Try me, and know my anxieties;
 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
         And lead me in the way everlasting.”
(Psalm 139:23-24)

 


SOURCES:

  • Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
  • Dean and Laura Van Druff, Acts 17:11 Biblestudies, August 29, 2010.  (http://www.acts17-11.com/conviction.html)
  • John MacArthur, The Ministries of the Holy Spirit – Part 1, August 29, 2010.  (http://www.biblebb.com/files/mac/sg90-31.htm)
  • Richard Hole, True Christianity, August 30, 2010.   (http://www.truechristianity.com/christian/judgement.htm)
  • Christopher S. Esty, The Bible Post, August 30, 2010.  (http://www.thebiblepost.com/rebuke)
  •  

 

http://www.vtaide.com/lifeskills/AffirmRebuke.htm

   
Job 5:17 Behold, happy is the man whom god corrects; therefore do not despise the chasstening of the Almighty.
Psalm 94:12  
Proverbs 3:11-12  
Hebrews 12:5-6  
Revelation 3:19  
Proverbs 27:5 Open rebuke is better than secret love. (KJV)
Psalm 141:5  
Proverbs 13:18 Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, But he who regards a rebuke will be honored. (NKJV)

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Scripture References
 
God's people must rebuke sin
Leviticus 19:17-18 Love your neighbor as yourself, do not hate him. This love does not mean we should tolerate his sins. It means rebuke him, but don't seek personal vengeance. We are not seeking to hurt the person, we want to help him. Hate the sin, but love the sinner.

 

Proverbs 17:15

 

He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord. People may want us to justify the wicked, but if we do, we are an abomination to the Lord. We must hate what God hates.
Mark 10:21,22 Jesus told the rich young ruler that he needed to change if he wanted eternal life (v17). This is the very thing that people tell us we should not do, if we have the love of Christ. But Christ Himself often did it, and the reason given is that He loved the man!
Revelation 3:19 Jesus said, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent."
   
It is true that we need to love like Jesus loved. But that love will not lead us to keep quiet about sin; it will lead us to rebuke sin in love like He did.
 
[Ephesians 4:15; 5:11; James 5:19,20; Prov. 27:5,6; 28:23; Jer. 23:16,17,21,22; 44:4; 2 Cor. 2:4; Ezek. 16:2]
 
 
God's People Must Chastise Sinners
   
Revelation 3:19 Jesus not only reproves those whom He loves, He also chastens them. We have seen that Christians too must reprove sin, but often chastening sin is the Lord's responsibility, not ours (Romans 12:17-21; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13). However, depending on our relationship to a person, sometimes it is our responsibility to chasten them.
Hebrews 12:5-11 God reproves and chastens those whom He loves like a father chastens his son. This is an act of love because it is done for the child's good (v10). So, with our children, we must not just reprove their errors, but we must chastise them. Properly done, this too is an act of love, like the Lord's chastisement.
Proverbs 13:24 He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly. Discipline of a child is an act of love because it molds a child's character, so when he is older he will live to please God.
2 Thessalonians 3:6,14,15 Likewise when the church properly withdraws from members who sin and do not repent, we are not treating them like enemies (though some may think we are). We are hoping they will be ashamed, repent, be forgiven, and be saved. So here is another case that requires us to discipline sin, but this too is an act of love when properly done.
Matthew 10:34-37 We must stand for what the Lord teaches even when the one in error is our dearest loved one. Sometimes in such cases, people think, "I just love him too much to rebuke or chastise him." But Jesus said we must love Him more than we love anyone else. So, love is not a reason to tolerate sin; rather, love for others and love for Jesus are reasons why we must oppose sin. To fail to oppose sin is a failure to love God and a failure to love the sinner! [Luke 14:26]
   
[Prov. 3:11,12; 2 Cor 7:12; Deut. 17:2-7; Ezekiel 13:22; 1 Samuel 3:13]
   
Opposition to sin is often not appreciated, or mistaken for hatred
   
1 Kings 22:8 Ahab hated the prophet Micaiah because he prophesied evil against Ahab. Was the prophet wrong? No, God had sent him. The problem was that the king did not like to be told he was wrong!
Amos 5:15,10 Again God says to hate evil and love good. If we do we will speak against evil, and sinners will often resent it. The real problem is not that it is wrong to rebuke error. The problem is that people often don't want to admit their error and change, so they try to make it appear that those who are rebuking them are wrong. It is a sophisticated form of "blame-shifting."
John 7:7 Jesus said that the world cannot hate you (His brothers), but it hated Him because He testified that its works are evil. If, like Jesus' brothers, we don't stand for truth (v5), the world will have no problem with us. But if, like Jesus, we testify against evil, then people will object. That's why they killed Him. But if we are truly like Him, we will oppose sin like He did.
   
[Galatians 4:16; Proverbs 9:8; 3:11; 1:7,30; 5:12; 12:1; 15:5,10,12; 29:27; Jer. 5:31; 2 Tim. 4:2-4; Matt. 10:22; Luke 16:13,14; John 3:19-21; 15:18,20,25; 17:14; 1 John 3:11-13]
   
 

 




 

 

 

 

 
 
 
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