December 18, 2017

Judge Not, That Ye Be Not Judged (2)

Bob Jones

Originally published in Faith for the Family, July/August, 1973. Used by permission.

Part OneThis is Part Two ♦ Part Three ♦ Part Four

In Part One, Dr. Jones dealt with the preceding context of Matthew 7:1, “Judge not, that ye be not judged…” and discussed the meaning of the word, ‘judge,’ noting that the kind of judgment that is prohibited is judgment based on selfish desires.

Our Lord enlarges on this. “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? … Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see faith-for-the-familyclearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye” (7:3-5). It is interesting that the Lord deals here with the eye. The eye is that which sees; and by the eye — on the basis of what is seen — judgments are formed. Our Lord does not say, “Why do you say to a brother ‘You are ugly; you have a splinter in your eye’ when you yourself are ugly because you have a bigger splinter in your eye:” No. He says, “A man says to another man, ‘My form of judgment is right. You cannot see properly to judge. You have too large a prejudice to form a right judgment. But I can form a judgment.’” Jesus calls the first man a “hypocrite.” Then He adds, “The prejudice of the one you condemn is not as great as your prejudice. Before you can see clearly to judge your brother, you must get rid of your own prejudice.”

We do not often hear this interpretation. Most of the time when this verse is dealt with, it is taken out of context. Instead of using it with the desire to proclaim and illumine the Word of God, it is used to “sell” an idea that is contrary to the clear teaching of the Word. This entire 7th chapter of Matthew, verse after verse, deals with the kinds of judgments you are to make. As a Christian, you are supposed to judge all things. God commands you to judge all things. But He warns that you are not to judge by appearance, but are to judge righteous judgment (John 7:24).

It is interesting that immediately following His warning about hypocrisy in judgment our Lord gives a command that requires judgment. In verse 6 He says, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” How can you determine what is a dog and what is a swine without using judgment? A man looks at an animal and by reason of that look decides what kind of animal it is. He sees a dog foaming at the mouth; he says, “I think that animal has hydrophobia. I think it is a mad dog.” It may or may not be a mad dog. It is possible that the animal has gotten into some kind of detergent. Nevertheless, when you look at the animal, you know it is a dog and not a cat. I admit that with some of these fancy breeds of dogs it is hard to determine whether they are dogs and whether they are coming or going. But at least you can form an opinion as to the kind of animal it is.

Our Lord is saying here, “You must not take that which is holy and give it to the dogs. You are not to take the shewbread from the table in the Temple and give it to an unclean animal.” No matter what you may think about dogs — and they are nice, friendly pets; “man’s best friend,” so-called — in Scripture dogs are unclean animals. Jesus is telling His disciples that they “are .not to take that which is sacred and holy in God’s sight and give it to those who are unclean.” You do not have the right to take a passage of Scripture that applies to the Christian and try to make it apply to unconverted men. And you do not have the right to take that which God gives to a faithful minister of Jesus Christ and try to apply it to an unfaithful minister who denies the Deity of Christ, the virgin birth, and all the other great fundamentals of the faith. You are to determine who is the dog and who is not. You are to determine that which is clean and that which is unclean.

“Neither cast ye your pearls before swine.” How do you know a swine? If it has bristles and tusks and is out wallowing in the mire and making grunting noises like a pig; if it lives like a pig, looks like a pig, and eats what a pig eats, your eyes see it and you say, “Look at that big pig!” You know it is a pig because it manifests the nature of a pig. What else can it be?

God tells you to judge a thing on the basis of its nature. You are not to take that which a man cannot appreciate and offer it to him. A man who does not have any appreciation for good will trample underfoot anything that is good. A man who is sordid and base and vile and licentious does not respect the virtue of a good woman. If such a woman comes into his presence, he will, if he can, destroy her virtue and wreck her life, because he is a swine. Therefore, you are to form an opinion of a man by his very nature; and you are not to take that which is precious and offer it to somebody who is too vile to appreciate it.

We are to preach the Gospel to all men; but we do not have the right to offer Heaven to a sinner. We can offer the sinner the Blood of Jesus Christ and the Gospel of the grace of God which will make Heaven possible. We should do everything possible to get him saved. But we do not have the right to make an unconverted man think that the sinner is on his way to Heaven. To do that is to offer pearls to a swine. We have no right to leave with a man who denies the Deity of our Lord and His cleansing Blood, with a man who is a sinner by nature and who rejects Jesus Christ, the impression that he is all right with God and need have no concern about his spiritual condition. We form an opinion of whether a man is a sinner by what God has to say about the nature of sin and by the fact that the man himself has all the characteristics of that nature. If he returns to his wallowing, as does the hog, we can know that the man is a swine. We can judge what he is by what he does and by what he appears to be by reason of his nature and his lusts.

“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them” (7:20). A good tree does not bring forth evil fruit, and an evil tree does not bring forth good fruit. An unclean tree can bring forth nothing but vile fruit. So hear our blessed Saviour say, “Judge a man by the results he produces. If a man causes evil to grow and his life produces rotten fruit filled with worms and bitter with the corruption of sin, it is an evil tree.” You cannot bring forth something better than you are. As in human nature, so in human life everything brings forth after his kind!

This takes us back to the Book of Genesis (1:11-27). To a man and woman, the offspring is a child — a man or a woman in infancy. An animal brings forth after its kind. A tree brings forth after its kind. You do not get figs from thistles. Figs come from fig trees, and thistles grow on thistle bushes. The thistle is a symbol of evil. Thorns, thistles, and weeds are the result of sin. A part of the curse which God placed on the ground for man’s sake (Genesis 3:17-18), they are never associated with good. The mark of the curse was in the very thorns that crowned our Lord; for it was out of thorns that the crown was made that in mockery and rejection men placed upon the Saviour’s Brow when He was crowned for our sin.

Author’s bio as it originally appeared when published: Bob Jones, Litt.D., L.H.D., LL.D., D.D., is chancellor and chairman of the board of trustees at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina, and editor of FAITH for the Family. When Dr. Jones was sixteen, his father, the late Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., founded the school that bears the family name. Five years later the son was named acting president; and in 1947 he succeeded his father as presidenta position he held until 1971 when he passed the reins of that office to his son Dr. Bob Jones, III, and stepped into the newly created position of chancellor.

Dr. Jones passed away November 12, 1997.

Although Proclaim & Defend is the blog of the FBFI, the articles we post are not an expression of the views of the FBFI as a whole, they are the views of the author under whose name they are published. The FBFI speaks either through position statements by its board or through its president. Here at Proclaim & Defend, we publish articles as matters of interest or edification to the wider world of fundamentalist Baptists and any others who might be interested.

Submit other comments here.