January 2013 • Volume XIV, Issue 9
Judge Not! (3)
In Matthew 7, the Lord Jesus issues a sharp warning against
sinful judging: "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with
what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what
measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again" (1-2).
This is intended to incite in us the healthy fear of
Almighty God and the fear of committing the sin of evil
judging. Christ’s word here motivates us to avoid this
iniquity. Those who judge sinfully will be judged by God and
not merely man. They will be judged by God more strictly.
They will be judged by God in accordance with the judgment
they measured out to others (1-2). If you think your sinful
judging of others is justice, you will get a taste of your
Christ goes on to highlight the sin of hypocrisy: condemning
someone for an evil in which we ourselves engage or
condemning someone for a sin when we are doing worse than
they! "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy
brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine
own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull
out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in
thine own eye? 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" (3-5). Our calling is
to repent and turn from our own sins (especially when they
are huge) and then help (and not censoriously attack) our
brother with his sin (which is often not as bad as our own
How does God judge in this life those who sinfully judge
others? He gives them over to this sin, so they engage in it
more and more, and in more and more areas. The passage deals
with the behaviour of those claiming to be citizens of the
kingdom of heaven and specifically, here, the sinful judging
of one’s brother (3-5). Eventually the question arises in
the mind of those who judge their brethren sinfully: "Why
should I fellowship with bad people like these?" Eventually,
unless they repent, those who sinfully judge their brethren
often leave the church. Sometimes those who, in their hearts
and words, wickedly judge their brothers and sisters find
themselves under church discipline. Also, if someone
sinfully judges one’s brethren in the congregation, their
children (picking up on their parent’s sins) often leave the
church when they grow up.
Indeed, on the judgment day, sinful judgers may be shown
that they were never really believers at all! Their
inability to love their brethren or be merciful to them
indicated that all along they were strangers to God’s mercy
in the cross of Christ.
Scripture declares that "we must all appear before the
judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the
things done in his body, according to that he hath done,
whether it be good or bad" (II Cor. 5:10). Included in the
"we" are not only the ungodly, but also Paul and Timothy
(1:1), the members of the church at Corinth and all
believers. Among the "bad" things that we have done will be
all our sinful judging!
So let us rather love one another as Christ loved us (John
13:34) and not judge sinfully. Let us also trust that our
punishment is in the past, at the cross where Christ died
"the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God" (I
Pet. 3:18)! Rev. Stewart
Did Solomon Approve Murder?
The text concerning which a reader asks is found in
I Kings 3:16-28. The passage is well known. Two
prostitutes, who were apparently living together,
had each a baby with which they slept at night. One
harlot accidentally lay on her baby and killed it. She
awakened and saw what she had done, and switched her
baby with the baby of the other prostitute with whom
In the morning, the second harlot saw that the baby
that was lying dead at her side was not really her
own, and she saw that the live baby of the other
woman was her baby. But the argument could not be
settled who was really the mother of the live baby,
for both claimed it.
They brought the case to King Solomon to decide.
Solomon was left with the problem of determining
which mother was the true mother of the live baby.
The questioner asks, "Was Solomon willing to have
the live baby killed [and so break the sixth
commandment]? Or was he violating the ninth
commandment, ‘Thou shalt not bear false witness
against thy neighbour?’"
It seems the questioner is assuming that Solomon was
guilty of one or the other of these sins, for he
commanded that a sword be given him, and he prepared
to cut the baby in half and give half to each
mother. The baby would have been killed if he had
actually cut it in half, but he would have been
lying if he did not mean to kill the child. Either
way, he was sinning, so the argument goes.
Our readers will remember that the response of the
two prostitutes to Solomon’s proposal was quite
different: one agreed to let Solomon cut the baby in
half; the other begged Solomon not to do it, but to
give the other woman the baby. She would rather that
someone else have the baby than see it killed. By
her answer, Solomon knew she was the real mother and
that the other woman was lying.
I doubt very much whether Solomon was guilty of any
sin at all. Instead, the incident is recorded in
Scripture so that people might have an example of
Solomon’s wisdom that God had given him. The
narrative concludes with these words: "And all
Israel heard of the judgment which the king had
judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that
the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment"
Solomon’s action in commanding the baby to be cut in
half is an amazing and startling example of wisdom.
He had no way of knowing who the true mother was.
They had no DNA tests in those days. How was he to
tell who was lying and who was telling the truth?
Since both woman were of no reputation, an appeal to
character would not help determine the truth, for it
was not that one was a wicked woman, known for her
fornication and wild life, while the other was an
outstanding and pious mother in Israel. They were
both prostitutes. How could he get to the bottom of
Solomon proposed the only course of action that
would reveal the true nature of these two women. One
who would steal another’s baby would surely be one
who was covetous and ruled by envy. And one who is
covetous and ruled by envy is also one who is
inclined to say, "If I can’t have this, then I do
not want my friend to have it either."
On the other hand, a mother, having carried a child
beneath her heart, has a bond with her child that is
unique. In childbirth, she has communicated her life
to her baby and nearly died doing it. She sees her
life in the baby’s life. If the baby dies, part of
her dies, for the child came from her. Solomon’s
wisdom led him to the only possible solution: appeal
to the sinful nature of one and the natural
instincts of the other.
It was apparently true that neither of the two women
were godly women: they were both harlots and lived
lives of fornication. The question was not which one
was a true believer and which one was not. The
question was simply: Who is lying and who is telling
the truth? Solomon’s wisdom was astounding.
In the very next chapter, Solomon’s wisdom is
described as greater than the wisdom of any man on
the face of the earth (4:29-34). I Kings 4:33 reads,
"And he spake of trees, from the cedar tree that is
in Lebanon even unto the hyssop that springeth out
of the wall: he speaks also of beasts, and of fowl,
and of creeping things, and of fishes."
In other words, Solomon’s wisdom extended to God’s
entire creation. He had unparalleled insight into
the creatures God had created. His wisdom extended
beyond the spiritual to the natural creation, but it
was always in the light of God’s truth.
It extended also to man—as is especially clear from
Proverbs. He knew the heart of man and why man did
what he did.
I had a professor in seminary who appeared to be
extremely naïve as far as things around him were
concerned. Nevertheless, there were times in the
course of his instruction when he would wander away
from the subject being taught. Why he wandered away,
I do not remember. Whether it was some question from
a student or whether he had been occupied with some
problem and simply spoke of what was on his mind, I
cannot tell. But in these off-the-cuff discourses
that would occasionally be delivered in the
classroom, he would talk about human nature and why
people are the way they are. I was enthralled. He
taught me things about human nature that I have used
in my ministry and that continue to intrigue me to
this day. He understood man created, man fallen, man
recreated. He pointed out truths that were profound
and that I had never heard before he told us of them
and I have not heard since.
Solomon’s wisdom was like that in this respect: It
included an understanding of all God’s world. But he
also knew what a depraved nature was like and what a
redeemed person was like according to his flesh.
That was the wisdom that solved the problem of who
was the true mother of the baby that was brought to
So let us admire and follow our Lord Jesus Christ,
"the wisdom of God" (I Cor. 1:24), the One "greater
than Solomon" (Matt. 12:42), "in whom are hid all
the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Col. 2:3)!
The Salvation of the Rich Young Ruler
Matthew, Mark and Luke all record the touching scene in
which a wealthy, religious leader in his twenties or early
thirties, usually referred to as the rich young ruler, comes
to Christ and, kneeling before Him, asks about inheriting
The good news is that the Lord Jesus "loved" the rich young
ruler (Mark 10:21)! This young man is in fine company, along
with John, the beloved disciple; Lazarus, Mary and Martha
(John 11:5); the believing leper (Mark 1:41); and all God’s
people in all ages and lands. "Many waters cannot quench
love, neither can the floods drown it" (Song 8:7); how much
more the deep, unchangeable, omnipotent love of God in
Christ Jesus from which nothing in the present or future,
nothing in life or death, nothing in the universe, not even
Satan or sin, is "able to separate us" (Rom. 8:38-39)! All
whom Jesus loves, He loves "unto the end" (John 13:1), for
He is "the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever" (Heb.
Christ loved the rich young ruler, even though he was
self-righteous and loved money (Mark 10:20, 22). Jesus loved
him from before the foundation of the world, when He died
for his sins on the cross (John 10:15; 15:13), when He
renewed his heart and into eternity. In His amazing grace,
the Son of God loved the rich young ruler (and all His
people) "with an everlasting love: therefore with
lovingkindness" He drew him (Jer. 31:3). Out of love for the
rich young ruler, Christ spoke to him of his sinful love of
money, calling him to repentance. The young man went away,
as Jesus commanded him, to count the cost (Mark 10:21-22).
His grief and sadness was not a worldly sorrow but a "godly
sorrow [that] worketh repentance to salvation" (II Cor.
As Jesus explained, it is "hard," even "impossible" with
men, for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, because we
are so prone to "trust in riches," but "with God all things
are possible" (Mark 10:23-27)! Our God, the God of the
impossible, gave a son to Sarah, a barren ninety-year-old,
and her hundred-year-old husband, Abraham (Gen. 18:14);
brought Israel back from the Babylonian captivity (Jer.
32:17); and caused the virgin Mary to conceive and bear the
incarnate Son of God (Luke 1:37)! He can and did the
impossible in converting the rich young ruler, as He has
done for many like him, both before and since!
That look of love that the Saviour cast upon the rich young
ruler two thousand years ago (Mark 10:21; Ps. 4:6), he
continually beholds in heaven from the face of the glorified
Christ who loved him and gave Himself for him (Gal. 2:20).
What amazing grace and what an amazing salvation for all who
forsake their sins and trust in Christ alone and not their
own good works or riches! Rev. Stewart
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