Matthew 7:1-6

Matthew 7:1-6 says

“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.”

This portion of scripture is very often referred to. Usually it is cited by unbelievers or those who wish to rationalize their behavior as a way of saying leave me alone. Christians are likely to rebut that they are misusing this passage. It says that we’ll be judged with the same standard we judge others, so the call here is to judge by God’s standard rather than our own made up standard, since that’s the standard we want to be judged by, right?

While it’s true that we ought to seek God’s standard of holiness for our lives, we also ought to remember that we don’t really want to be judged by how well we adhere to it. None of us could survive such a judgment. Rather, we plead Christ’s obedience on our behalf as the basis for being judged righteous.

But even more to the point here is that such analysis does not fit with what comes after. Notice there are three proverbial sayings here, which I believe to all be related to this subject of our judgment in some way. I’ve boiled the three down to what I believe to be the lesson of each, and I believe it is the last, not the first, that should command our attention.

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The Mosaic Law Should Not Be Applied to A Civil Government

Objection 1: God’s Law provides the moral basis for right and wrong. Without it, we would have no way of knowing what government should outlaw and what it shouldn’t.

Objection 2: Matthew 15:17-20 tells us that Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it and that the Law would not pass away until all was fulfilled.

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Mat 5:17-20)

Objection 3: Romans 13 tells us that government exists to punish those who do evil and reward those who do good.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. (Rom 13:1-6)

On the contrary, Jesus said (John 18:36), “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

I answer that God’s Law is for God’s Kingdom.

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Legislating Morality

Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t legislate morality?” Ever wonder whether it’s true? People love to debate this topic. The fact of the matter is, people seem to think that you can. Whether it is the militant religious right attempting to push Biblical morality on the nation, or whether it’s those godless commie liberals who want everyone to hug trees1, many people – at least those in power – seem to be interested in behavior modification. But what’s a Biblical Perspective on this? I’ve written before on Theonomy, but here’s another observation:

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