There is a propensity in carnal man to usurp things that belong only to God. It is a form of self-worship that is detestable to Him. Men rise up and try to take the place of Christ in the lives of His sheep when there is only one Good Shepherd they answer to. He has bought us with a terrible price and we belong to Him! One of the worst things we can fall victim to is the need to judge our brothers and sisters in Christ. When we do this, we fall right in line with the devil himself, who is the accuser of the brethren. He tried to take God’s place in heaven and as a result he was cast down on this earth. He is the serpent that still eats the dust of fallen man and uses him for his purposes (see Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28). Paul opposed this very same religious spirit in one of the churches that he established, the church in Corinth. To them he wrote:
But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then every man will receive his commendation from God. (1 Corinthians 4:3-5 RSVA)
Paul knew where he stood in Christ! Being judged by other believers did not deter him in the slightest. He was confident of his place in the Son of God and no man was about to change that with their carnal judgments. As a result he felt no need to vindicate himself.
We are not to judge anyone (“before the time, before the Lord comes”). To do so is to know them after the flesh and not after the completed work of Christ that is still in progress. We who are Christ’s do not have a ministry of condemnation or judgment, but rather of reconciliation. To talk or write about people behind their backs as their judge is not an effort to be reconciled with them or to see that they are reconciled to God, but is counter productive. Paul wrote in his follow-up letter:
Therefore from now on know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet from now on know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (2 Corinthians 5:16-18 KJ2000)
Here he appeals to us to not only not judge the servants of the Lord, but know them after the Spirit and not after the flesh. If we are having a problem with loving our brother we should pray, “Father, show me how You see them not as I see them,” and He will. Our Father sees us in Christ, not in the flesh or the world. We were crucified with Jesus and we rose again in Him. It is in Christ that we live and move and have our being, not in our flesh. God is all about restoration and has been from the beginning. He knew man would choose against Him and His ways, but this did not deter His plan that man would be brought back into perfect alignment with Him as our Father and we as His sons. Our Father placed us in His Son to die on the cross, and He also placed us in Him so that we might be raised in the newness of resurrected life. God is all about restoration and reconciliation, and as His sons and daughters, this is what we should be about as well. Paul wrote, “Who are you that judge another man’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Yea, he shall be held up: for God is able to make him stand.” (Romans 14:4 KJ2000)
Behold, the LORD has proclaimed unto the ends of the earth, Say you to the daughter of Zion, Behold, your salvation comes; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and you shall be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken. (Isaiah 62:11-12 KJ2000)
God’s work in our hearts is still going on. No one is where they will be at the end.
See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (1 John 3:1-3 RSVA)
It is very easy for the un-crucified fleshly man to judge and condemn others, but very hard for him to love and extend to others the grace of God. But the one who has been forgiven much and knows it, loves much.