Classic Christianity – Book of Romans P54 (03-11-20)
In this world today, we hear a lot about not judging one another. Often times, people think judging someone is akin to someone hitting you in the face, and then tells you that you are judging him for hitting you in the face when that is clearly what he just did. You have a bloody nose to testify of that. Well, that is not judging. That is telling the truth. Judging is when you get into the motives of why someone hit you in the face. Well, this is the kind of judging Paul is addressing that was occurring in Romans, that believers should not be doing.
There is this judging going on over disputable matters, casting judgment on those whose faith is weak. What he is saying here is that there is such a thing as faith that is weak. What would weak faith be in comparison to strong faith? Weak faith would be believing that what you are doing is what is establishing your relationship with God. You ignored what God did for you. What is important to you is what I am doing for God. That is weak faith? Why? Because faith is in you and you are weak. The issue is that is what would be called weak faith. So he says to accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters, over things that do not matter.
In their day, the Jews and the Gentiles, came from two different backgrounds. The Gentiles would eat anything. A Jew was accustomed to living under strict dietary laws that were given to them while they were living in a desert so they do not destroy themselves. There were no refrigerators in those days. So what would happen is a Jew would become a believer and would look down on a Gentile who was eating meat, such as pork or shrimp, forbidden by a Jew under their dietary laws, and would insist that he must not eat meat. The Gentile would boast in his freedom and would not be acting in love to the Jew who did not have the same knowledge. The truth of the matter is God has accepted them both. All food is to be eaten, with thanksgiving to God, and the one who eats should not judge the one who does not. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving. But not everybody has that knowledge, and it takes time for people to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. God is looking at the attitudes of the heart.
A person who is a vegetarian could be either eating for health concerns or he could be using it as a means to obtain righteousness. Unless you know the person, the former is perfectly fine, but the latter is being done as a false gospel for righteousness. In the former case, I would b judging him if I criticized him for being a vegetarian, drawing false conclusions about his motives for doing so or boasting hat I can eat anything and looking down on the person. In the latter case, he is living in error, and would be in judgment on those who are not doing what he is doing , and would be like the Judaizers in Jesus day, insisting that circumcision is necessary for salvation.
In the world even today, there is judging going on in regards to disputable matters, in what people eat or drink or what day of the week you go to church. Religion has this tendency to add rules and regulations God never intended. A lot of these issues stem from a lack of understanding what the gospel is, the full an complete gospel, not a half gospel.
Have you understood what was accomplished for you, by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ? Why did Jesus cry out on the cross, “It is finished?” What is finished? What did he shed his blood on a cross for? Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Do you know that all your sins have already been taken away, over 2000 years ago when Jesus shed his blood for you, for your sins, and mine? If you are a Jew, do you know that you do not have to keep sacrificing a bull and a goat today to get sins forgiven? If you are a Catholic, do you know that you do not have to keep going to a confessional booth to get your sins forgiven, or to recite Hail Mary’s? If you are a Protestant, do you know that you do not have to keep short accounts with God to get your sins forgiven, those future sins you do?
Do you know what sin is? Do you think God keeps a numerical system, where adultery gets you 10 points, stealing 9, and the other things we do a lot more of, such as lying, gets you one or two points? No. Yet we tend to think if you cannot go to jail for something we do, then it is not sin. But Jesus said that is sin. Anything that does not come from faith is sin. So, as a Christian, how many times have you not exercised faith? If you really understand what sin is, that would be a lot of counting, that you would be doing that constantly and not get any sleep.
We do not count sins because Jesus is not counting sins either. He took them all away from the eyes of God, never to be seen again. Sin comes from the issues of a heart, from a fallen nature. The law testifies against us that there is something wrong with us, that we cannot keep the law. Love is the fulfillment of the law, and we cannot even fulfill the law as God defines love in 1 Corinthians 13. The law should lead you to the conclusion that “I cannot do it but God can”. The law should indicate to you that you do not have any righteousness of your own. So where should our boast be, in our weakness so God’s strength can be made known. Christ is our boast.
Yet, this concept is so hard for people to grasp. If we are just under grace, then would that not mean we can just go live it up and do all kinds of sinning? Don’t we need the law? How well are you doing under the law? Are you sinning more under the law? Are you just hiding it better? The issue is, God came to live inside us to live his life in and us and through us. We never could obey the law.
We think of our own standards of righteousness. We compare ourselves with others, and measure ourselves by ourselves, and have become fools. “Well, I am not as bad as Steve over there”, we say. But the standard is what Jesus said is the standard of righteousness. He told us, “Be perfect as my heavenly Father is perfect.” We cannot do that. But that is the standard of the law for righteousness, which no man can do. So you see, the law was set aside because it was weak and useless. If something is weak and useless, then what are you hanging on to the law for? It could never make anyone perfect. The law actually caused us to sin all the more. The letter of the law kills but the Spirit gives life.
So much emphasis is on sin, about not sinning and doing what is right, as if we can obtain perfection by observing the law. We, as Gentiles, stole the law that was given to the Jew, a necessary preparation until Christ came and finished the work. They failed miserably under the law and the Old Testament is a history of their failures. So we, as Gentiles, think we can do better, and we fail just as miserably.
The problem is we are dead already, born without the Spirit of God living in us, and in need of life. The real issue is we need life. Do you know the meaning of the resurrection? The reason Jesus was raised from the dead was so that that life that raised him from the dead can come and live in you and raise you from the dead, and to eternally indwell you.
Do you know that you have been made complete in Christ? That means you cannot improve upon what God has done for you. You cannot impress God by what you do. Your faith is what pleases God. Faith expressing itself through love is what pleases God. By abiding in Christ, resting in him, that allows the fruit of the Spirit to be produced in you and through you. He has imputed to you His righteousness, a gift from God. You are not going to get any better or any worse than you are. You are in Christ and your life is hidden with Christ in God. You have been made into a new creation. You have been given everything you need for life and godliness.
The gospel that the apostle Paul proclaimed has very practical implications on how we live our lives. Many people still think that you must have the law to live by or the law are the tracks we must run on. People think that we are to follow the Lord. That is what the Jews did when Jesus walked the earth. They followed him to the cross and the empty tomb. Today, the Spirit is living in those who came to Christ by faith alone in what he accomplished through the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. You are internally led by the Spirit of God living in you. If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
So, knowing who you are in Christ, does it make any sense to judge your brother, on disputable matters, on what you eat or drink or a religious observance or a Sabbath. Let us not criticize someone as to what they do. Do not judge their motives of their heart, which we cannot see. There is now a Sabbath rest for the people of God. That is the new covenant God ushered in after his death that we live under today. It is Christ living in you, your only hope of glory. The things of the Old Testament, such as the Sabbath, are a foreshadowing of the reality that is in Christ. So lets look at the reality, not at the law or an illustration or a symbol.
This whole chapter, in Romans 14, is talking about judging one another. You will see things many times in this chapter. In the Christian world, or even not in the Christian world, we have the tendency to judge people. In this particular case, you had the Jews and the Gentiles, with two different categories all together in regard to things like eating. To the Jews, they were prohibited from eating pork and shrimp. Those were prohibited from doing.
1 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 2 “Say to the Israelites: ‘Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat: 3 You may eat any animal that has a divided hoof and that chews the cud.
4 “‘There are some that only chew the cud or only have a divided hoof, but you must not eat them. The camel, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is ceremonially unclean for you. 5 The hyrax, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you. 6 The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you. 7 And the pig, though it has a divided hoof, does not chew the cud; it is unclean for you. 8 You must not eat their meat or touch their carcasses; they are unclean for you.
I remember from high school, one of my dear friends, Abe Roth. He is a doctor today in Boston, but his family came out of a very orthodox Jewish background. I remember one time when we went to one of those hamburger joints, to have hamburgers with our buddies on the way back from basketball practice. I remember all of us had hamburgers and Abe did not. We did not think much about that. We knew he was from a Jewish background and his parents were orthodox. If you could not eat something no big deal. No one thought anything about that sort of thing. There was no criticism or judgment of that at all. All of us had hamburgers. We were walking back, and one of my buddies, Tom Daly was drinking a coke, and Abe asked if he could have a sip of the coke. Tom gave him the coke bottle and all of a sudden he spit it out and wiped his mouth. “Dave, what happened?” “Oh, nothing.” “No, what happened?” What happened was he had to do that because Tom had hamburger on his lips, and that was being transferred, and that was pure sin to him.
1 Corinthians 10:23-31
23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say – but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything” – but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.
25 Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, 26 for, “The earth is the Lord‘s, and everything in it.”[f]
27 If an unbeliever invites you to a meal and you want to go, eat whatever is put before you without raising questions of conscience. 28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, both for the sake of the one who told you and for the sake of conscience. 29 I am referring to the other person‘s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another‘s conscience? 30 If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?
31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God – 33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.
Now today, Abe and all his brothers. His other brother, who lives in California, his son is David Roth, the rock singer So, obviously they are not into orthodoxy today. But that is just one example that you run into about eating habits. Some people have carried that over into the Christian faith. There are some denominations that are vegetarians, that cannot eat meat. The problem with those deals is they begin to look at that as a means to righteousness. “If I do not do that, God is really happy with me”, not realizing that the reason Jesus told them to not do that is because they did not have General Electric refrigerators in those days. So eating such meat in those days was dangerous. So it was to protect their health while they were eating those things while living in the desert, roaming in the desert for 40 years. So we brought those things over, thinking by not eating we are pleasing God. The only thing that pleases God is our faith.
6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
The Gentiles would have been criticizing the Jew, for their being Christian and continuing in those dietary laws. The Jews would have been criticizing the Gentiles for not following those dietary laws. The Jews would be saying, “after all, you are supposed to follow our religion”. Who did Christ go to first, the Jew or the Gentile? Well, the Jews. So they were saying, “this is our religion”.
1 Timothy 4:2-4
2 Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3 They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,
Today, Christianity is our religion. And the Jews cannot stand it. But back then, that was our religion. So if you, Gentile, are going to come to Christ, you need to come over and abide in our rules and regulations even to the point of circumcision. They were trying to insist that all Gentiles be circumcised as well, for that was all a part of the custom of the Jews.
What Paul is saying is this. He is trying to straighten our minds out in regard to what our attitude should be toward these types of things.
1 Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters.
What he is saying here is that there is such a thing as faith that is weak. What would weak faith be in comparison to strong faith? Weak faith would be believing that what you are doing is what is establishing your relationship with God. You ignored what God did for you. What is important to you is what I am doing for God. That is weak faith? Why? Because faith is in you and you are weak. The issue is that is what would be called weak faith. So he says to accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters, over things that do not matter.
2 One person‘s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.
As was aired yesterday, that does not mean vegetarians have weak faith because what you eat or not eat has nothing to do with anything, but if you are not eating meat, thinking that that is what is pleasing God, or I am obeying the old dietary laws, then that is weak faith. If you are a vegetarian because you believe that is a healthy way to eat, and probably indeed is, then it says in there that do not worry with that type of thing. It is not the case of weak faith at all. It is the case you are watching what you are eating for dietary reasons.
3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not,
If you are not a vegetarian, as an example, and you want to eat your pork chops and steaks, do not look down on the man who is not doing that. Quit judging those things.
and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.
Quit judging one another. If that is your decision, that you do not want to eat meat, then that is fine. So do not judge the one who does. If you decide to be the person who does want to eat that, then do not judge the one who isn’t. Life is more important than what you eat or drink.
16 Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. 17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.
Those are disputable matters. Irrelevant. Yet people are judging one another over those things. So he is saying to quit doing that.
4 Who are you to judge someone else‘s servant?
Do we belong to Jesus or do we belong to one another. We belong to Jesus. So quit judging someone else‘s servant.
To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.
Again, does this mean you are supposed to pray before every meal? It has no meaning to that at all. I like the prayer of my buddy, if anyone is wondering how grateful I am for my food, just watch me eat it. I quite frankly pray more after the meal than before the meal if I am going to pray. Whoever is doing these things is doing so to the Lord. So do not judge it.
7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. 8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
This day of the week, as an example, to the Jew, the Sabbath is on Saturday or Friday night to Saturday night. That is the Sabbath. You have in this country the Seventh Day Adventist. They are Gentiles, but they grabbed the law and try to obey the law. They have their Sabbath on Saturday. If that is your seventh day Sabbath, then have at it. So what does it matter what day you are going to fellowship with believers. The issue is God gave you a day of the week for you to rest. In some churches, like I used to go to, at the end of the day you were exhausted. You started in the morning, then the training union, then the evening service, then you talk to people and then got home and you were exhausted. So it was not a day of rest, but a day of exhaustion. He was exhausted and I was exhausted, and praise the Lord. We have to understand the truth of those things. What day of the week is irrelevant.
16 Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.
So the day of the week was merely a foreshadowing of a reality. The reality is the Sabbath rest that God has called each and every one of us to enter into, that we are resting from our works just as he did from his.
8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 910 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.
Do we understand that? That was an illustration, a day of the week as an illustration of rest, that was going to represent a time when Jesus came, where he wants us to rest every day. To the Christian, the Sabbath rest is every day. Would you hate to think the only time you rested was an hour or two on Sunday? We have built into our system that type of thing, saying “If you do not go on Saturday or Sunday, you have had it”. Get rid of that nonsense.
The Sabbath day was a foreshadowing of the reality, who is Christ. Christ is in your life, not just on Saturday, and not just on Sunday, but every day. So rest in that. Rest in the fact that Jesus completed the work at the cross. He completed the work in the resurrection and cried out, “it is finished”.
30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Now, rest in that truth. You cannot add to what God says, “It is finished.”. Again what have we done in our religious system? Jesus did that work, shedding his blood only to rise again, in Israel. Did they continue on with their sacrificial system? Absolutely. There is no greater insult to the finished work of Christ than killing a bull and a goat unless it is going to a confession booth or quoting 1 John 1:9 to get forgiveness. The issue is Jesus cried out, “It is finished.”.
Sometimes, this is a very difficult thing for people to grab a hold of. Nevertheless, we have gone over this a thousand times, and will go over another this another thousand times, until we finally get it. When Jesus went to a cross, we have to understand and realize that there is not a one of us, no matter how good you think you are or how good you have been or how good you are, there is not one person who will ever be able to stand in the presence of God in his own righteousness Do we understand that? People will say, “it is faith plus works”. What works are you doing that you think is impressing God?
6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
You have to ask that. You think works are a part of this. What works are you doing that you think God is sitting up there saying, “Wow. That impresses me.” What are you going to do that you think will impress God, who created this universe? What pleases God is our faith, in Him and Him alone.
This is what religion does, to deceive you into thinking that you can impress God. No, you cannot impress God. We cannot even impress each other, let alone God. So we get into this type of a mindset where we want to add to what God has completed. There was no way for you or me to ever go into the presence of a living, holy God, period! He had to make us acceptable in His sight.
21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation – 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
In and of myself, I am not acceptable in the sight of God. I am not acceptable to people, sometimes. But I am for sure not acceptable in the sight of God in and of myself. God had to make me acceptable.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
He said, “Be you perfect”. Great encouraging passage, be perfect? “Okay, Lord. How perfect do you want me to be?“ Jesus said, “As perfect as my Father in heaven”. Then I think I have had it. When you think you have had it, you got it. So he is saying you cannot do it.
48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
So what did he do?
14 For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
He had to make me perfect, complete. Not perfect perfect, but complete. He had to make me holy. He had to make me justified. He had to make me sanctified. I cannot do that on my own. There is nothing in my flesh that would make me worthy to go into the presence of God. Worthy is the lamb, not the sheep. We have to understand that truth. That is all of us.
The other thing we have to understand is that God does not have a numerical system on sins, where adultery gets you 10 points, stealing 9, and the other things we do a lot more of, such as lying, gets you one or two points. There is no numerical system on sins. God says sin is sin. That is what Jesus said, yet everyone is hung up on adultery. Jesus said that if you looked lustfully at a woman in your heart, you already committed adultery.
28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
How many of you want to say, “Oh, not me”. So if that causes you to sin, pluck your eye out, is what Jesus said. If all of us were honest, you would not be able to see me, and I for sure would not be able to see you. But that is what God said.
47 And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell
Is this real or not? Is that true or not? If you are angry with your brother, then you committed murder.
1 John 3:15
15 Anyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.
So how many people did you kill on the freeway on your way to work? Is that true or not? To us that is not true. You cannot go to jail for lusting or being angry. So we think if you cannot go to jail then it is not sin. But Jesus said that is sin. Why is that? That which is not of faith is sin.
everything that does not come from faith is sin.
The definition of sin is that which is not of faith. How many times a day do we as Christians not exercise faith? So if you are trying to keep short accounts with God, all I have to say is “good luck”. You are not going to have time to eat and sleep or anything else. You will be one busy person if you are going to try keeping short accounts with God, if you look at sin as God looks at it. None of us will ever be able to stand before God in our own righteousness. It is not there. God had to give us His righteousness. That is what happened to you and I when we were born again.
What had to happen for us to be born again? Jesus took away the sins of the entire world. That means that every sin ever committed, from the time of Adam forward to all eternity, has been taken away. All sins have been taken away at the cross. That is why Jesus had to undergo suffering that he did, to cover the sins of the entire world.
2 Corinthians 5:21
21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Where is that righteousness? In Him. Not in us. In Him. Do we understand that? Were all of Hitler’s sins taken away at the cross? Yes. How about yours? Yes. All of them. How about the ones you are going to commit tomorrow? People ask, “I know how Jesus died for all my past sins, but how about my future sins?” How many of your sins were in the future when Jesus died 2000 years ago? All of them.
Someone said, “I came to Christ when I was 8 years old.” So you have done all your sins when you were a Christian. I only did half of mine as a Christian. That is true, is it not? What we have to understand is that God had to take away the cause of spiritual death once and for all. That is what he did at the cross, folks. He did not do that so that we continue to go back to our day of atonement, shedding the blood of bulls and goats. He did not do that so that we keep going back to the confession booth to get our sins forgiven, and doing Hail Mary’s. He did not do that so that we can keep going back to an altar call, week after week, to get our sins forgiven. He did not do that so we keep our 1 John 1:9 talk, asking God to please forgive me.
34 Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died – more than that, who was raised to life – is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Jesus did it once, and he did it for all, and he did it for all time, and he sat down at the right hand of God because his work was finished. What does he want us to do with that truth? Enter into the Sabbath rest, resting from your works just as he did from his. When he said “It is finished.”, he rested. When he said “It is finished.”, he sat down. And he says, why don’t you sit down, and rest in that truth instead of trying to add to that where you cannot add to that except your man-made nonsense?
Quite frankly, that is what the majority of religion is today, a bunch of man-made nonsense. Whether Catholic, Protestant or Jew, you cannot keep the law. What do you have it for? He gave the law to the Jew and he could not do it. But we sit in the law and say, “You watch me, Lord. You watch my smoke. I will do it”. No, you won’t. You cannot do any better of a job than they did. That is why he needed to usher in a new covenant. Why? The old covenant was weak and useless.
18 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God.
Why? Nobody can keep it. It is weak and useless. If something is weak and useless, then what are you hanging on to it for? So people have difficulty in understanding this. People say, “You cannot get rid of the law. What tracks are you going to run on?“ and many other things like that they say. What do you think was the meaning of the resurrection of Christ Jesus? The reason Jesus was raised from the dead was so that that life that raised him from the dead can come and live in you and raise you from the dead, and to eternally indwell you.
18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
So we no longer follow Christ, guys. That is a term that you do when you follow him to where he went, to the cross and to the empty tomb. After you are indwelt by Him, do you follow Him? No. You are led by Him. It is now when you are following him, he is out there, and you are going along behind him. When you are led, He is in you, and He is leading you where to go. That is the difference between salvation we have today and before the cross.
25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.
All of this is what He is saying to us, “look I want you to rest in My completed work. I have made you complete. You are not going to get any better. You are not going to get any worse. I have made you holy in My sight. I have made you complete in My sight. I have made you righteous in My sight.” Now, you tell people that, and they say, “Brother, that just means to go out and live it up”. I say, “Well, how are you doing in what you have been taught?” I do not notice too many people under the law not just going to do what they want to do. They just hide it better. Am I right or wrong? You live in bondage. So people are really saying, “I hope nobody finds out what I am really like underneath this skin.” In church, you sit like this and hope nobody knows what is going on inside. But after the service you are happy. “Hi there. Good to see you.” Then you get your children in the car, knock their heads in there. The children’s heads are going back and forth, and they are wondering what is going on here. That is play acting.
4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
He is saying that the way we live the Christian life is abiding and trusting. One of the things he sent us to do, if we are to be abiding and trusting, is to quit judging. I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. I did not come to judge it. What are we doing, indwelt by Christ, judging?
Let us turn back now to Romans 14:9.
9 For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.
10 You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God‘s judgment seat. 11 It is written:
“‘As surely as I live,‘ says the Lord,
‘every knee will bow before me;
every tongue will acknowledge God.‘”[Isaiah 45:23]
12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
In other words, I am not giving an account for you. I am going to give an account for me. Again, the judgment we have in scripture has already been done. The judgment for your sins has already happened. Your sins are judged at the cross. The verdict was guilty. The punishment was death, and Jesus took all of it, and that is why there is none left for you. These words here are an appraisal, which is different than a judgment to a degree. When you go to an art show, you will appraise the work of an artist. That does not mean if he does not do good, you will beat him up. You just appraise his work. We will stand with an appraisal of our work. That will occur at the time of the rapture, when our works will be appraised. It could be that it occurs when we are absent from the body and present with the Lord. We will be rewarded for those things done, not in the energy of the flesh, but those things we allowed Jesus to do in us and through us.
1 Corinthians 3:11-13
11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.
Maybe giving a cup of water in the name of Christ will be rewarded, and building a $10,000 dollar church congregation will not be rewarded. There will be a lot of things done in the flesh that will be wood, hay and stubble. They look good on the outside, but they are wood, hay and stubble. All those things will be tested by fire. Knowing us, we will be saying my ash pile is bigger than your ash pile. But the issue is, it is going to be a bunch of ashes. The only things we allowed Jesus to do in and through us will be rewarded by Jesus. Then we will put the reward back on the one who produced it. So he is saying not to look down on your brother. We will all be giving an account of ourselves to God.
13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another.
If you came up and hit me in the face, am I judging you for hitting me in the face? No, that is not judgment. That is telling the truth. The reasons you hit me in the face is because you do not like Jesus and you are probably lost, and I wish you were. Is that judging? Yes. You are judging the motives of people.