Judge Not or Judge Righteous Judgment? Matthew 7; John 7



Matthew 7:1-5 “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”

John 7:24 “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.”

It is interesting that so many people embrace the teaching of Jesus when He said, “Judge not” in Matthew 7:1; yet, at the same time, have no knowledge, neither care to know, it was this same Jesus who also said, “judge righteous judgment” in John 7:24. The question must be asked, “How does one reconcile, what many would consider to be, two seemingly contradictive statements?” As it has often been said, context determines content. It is imperative that we understand the context of Matthew 7:1-5 if we are to understand the truth written therein. While so many quickly run to this one verse in Matthew’s gospel record, usually in an effort to dismiss their sins, or alleviate the guilt associated with such sins, the context is clearly emphasized in verses 2-5 of the passage. Jesus is not speaking against judgment, but rather speaks against hypocritical, that is to say, self-righteous judgment. Jesus stated in verse 5, “Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

It is with such understanding of the context of Matthew 7 that we conclude that Matthew 7:1 and John 7:24 are not contradictive at all and therefore, need no reconciliation. In fact, Jesus explained this in John 7 when He said, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” Having already

established that hypocritical judgment is self-righteous judgment, the only remaining question, in consideration of these two passages, is simply this: “What is righteous judgment?”

This question is easily answered from the Scriptures themselves. Many Scriptures speak of God’s judgment as righteous judgment.

A few of these include:

  • Psalm 19:9 “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”
  • Psalm 119:160 “Thy word is true from the beginning: And every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.”
  • Romans 2:5 “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;”

So righteous judgment is not determined by man’s view of things, but rather, is determined by God’s view, which He has clearly declared in His Word.

Not only can we judge, but we are commanded to judge with righteous judgement; while at the same time, we are commanded not to judge hypocritically, or self-righteously. One might ask, “What does all of this mean?” It simply means that we are to align ourselves, uncompromisingly, with the righteous judgments of God as declared by God in His Word, and proclaim such truth unashamedly to a world in need of the truth.

– Pastor T