Thursday, June 11, 2009

Don't Judge Me: Part 2 of 4

Continued from, Don’t Judge Me: Part 1 of 4

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According to James 4:11-12, we shouldn't pass judgment upon a fellow believer because....

...you are judging the law.
James makes the point that if you are judging your believer, you are really judging the law. Thus, you aren't really "doing" the law, you're "judging" it. According to BDAG, the Greek word used here for "judge" means, "pass an unfavorable judgment upon, criticize, find fault with, condemn". James goes on to explain a second reason that this placing of oneself above the law is a big deal.

...there is only One who is Lawgiver and Judge.
James never explicitly states who this "one" is that both gives the law, and is it's judge. Hint: It isn't Judge Judy. Obviously, God is in view here, particularly because this "one" is also able to "save and destroy". In other words, there is only one who can give and enforce laws.

...who are you to judge your neighbor?
In light of the above facts, (there is only one lawgiver and judge) - what's the point of trying to pass judgment? We didn't give the law, and we can't enforce it either - so why act like we can? James also seems to be implying that, since we are all sinners, there is a certain amount of hypocrisy that goes along with passing judgment on your neighbor.

All of this seems straightforward enough, but how can James' teaching be reconciled with other passages of Scripture that outline how to confront a fellow believer about their sin? (See: Matthew 18:15; Galatians 6:1)

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Part three of this series will talk about the tension between this passage and others in scripture.

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