All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, but the Lord weighs the motives.
–Proverbs 16:2

The Bible tells us that there are some kinds of judgments that only God is capable of performing. Today we will look at three ways that we are not to judge other people.

First, we are never to determine people’s obligation in the gray areas of the Christian life. What do I mean by the gray areas? When we speak out against adultery, lying, cheating, or murder, we are simply repeating the judgments that God has already made. We have not only every right, but every responsibility to do that as God’s spokesmen. But there are some things in the Christian life that are gray–that is, the Bible does not speak directly about them. In those cases, we are not to judge other people. We can have our convictions, but it is wrong for us to try to impose those convictions on others. The definition of legalism is “making my conviction your obligation.” The Bible says we are not to try to make judgments or determinations for everybody in those gray areas. Other people report to God; you do not report to God for them. So abstain from making those determinations in the gray areas of life.

Second, we are not to try to discern people’s motives. If you try to judge a person’s motives, then you are participating in a judgment that only God is capable of performing. When you say something like, “The reason she did that is because she is trying to look holier than thou,” you are judging a person’s motives. You are not to do that. We do not know a person’s heart. In Proverbs 16:2 Solomon said, “All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, but the Lord weighs the motives.”

Third, we are not to try to determine a person’s eternal fate. We are performing the kind of judgment that only God can perform when we say, “That person is beyond redemption.” James said, “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?” (4:12). There is only one person who can sentence someone to Hell, and that is God. We cannot perform that judgment.

Some people may say, “When you say that Jesus is the only way to Heaven and anyone who does not trust Jesus is going to Hell, aren’t you guilty of deciding a person’s eternal fate? Aren’t you guilty of making this kind of judgment? Shouldn’t you just say you do not know what God does with a person who dies without Christ?” No, we are not to remain silent about this, because God has already spoken about Jesus being the only way to Heaven. John 3:18 says, “He who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” We are only repeating God’s judgment. But we are not to say about anybody that there is no chance they could ever repent and turn to faith in Christ. Do not make that kind of judgment. Only God can make that kind of judgment.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The Religious … Right in Hell” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2014.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.

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