Do you have an objection? An opinion? A challenge to someone’s beliefs, morals, ethics, and/or worldview? Want to tell people about the biblical God and how He saves? Society today says, ‘shut it’. How dare we burden others with such nonsense?! Worse yet, ‘how dare we judge others’, because, who are we?!
As autonomy continues its permeation into the lifeblood of our social fabric in the U.S. and God is cast aside, it follows that substantive conversations become increasingly infrequent and unsustainable due to a fear of offending someone, not to mention the shunning of moral absolutes creating an ever-growing chasm of moral relativism. We have not only become so thin skinned, but we have also become unable to formulate and articulate a logical response as to why we believe what we do; unwilling to pick up the gauntlet or be burdened where any objection or constructive criticism is considered taboo, nay – bigoted, sexist, racist, Islamophobic, xenophobic, misogynist, heterosexist, homophobic, transphobic, femaphobic, religiophobic, anti-this, anti-that, etc. It is now commonplace and encouraged to throw out a random phobe or –ist, rather than probing to the heart of the matter (sin); because, meh, who has time for that anyway?! To show such folly, we could counter, screaming, ‘Christophobe,’ and call it a day. Yet, that is not how reasonable people should conduct argumentative dialogue to views contrary to their own.
An unfortunate conclusion society has now cemented into the minds of others (many), is if you disagree with something someone does or how he lives his life, you must hate him. Sadly, this regressive dynamic has become a harsh reality. Although this type of childish, isolationist (you do your thing, I’ll do mine) attitude is alarming, it is of no surprise to the believer. Scripture tells us, “Because lawlessness is increased [in end times], most people’s love will grow cold” (Matt 24:12, NASB). It takes but not 5 minutes of any random newscast to substantiate such a claim.
Difficulty speaking with others as a Christian is nothing new and will continue to become more and more difficult as time goes on until Jesus’ return, especially as the seeds of apostasy start to bloom (Acts 20:29; 2 Thess 2:9). When those who have chosen to suppress the truth are confronted with it, the spiritual battle begins (Rom 1:18) and objections to said truth commence. But how do we address one of the most common defenses and/or objections of ‘don’t judge me’ and ‘who are YOU to judge ME’? Do you know how to address unbelievers who posit such questions/statements? This post will seek to educate the unbeliever (and believer) on what judging actually means from the biblical text, and what believers are doing when witnessing to the lost and how they are able to do so.
A favorite of Christian critics to throw in the face of believers when trying to witness, is of course Matthew 7:1 (NASB), “Do not judge so that you will not be judged.”
What this verse means: We, as Christians, do not judge with condemnation as if we are taking the place of God, nor do we judge by mere appearances lest we be judged by those same standards. No! We judge with righteous judgment (John 7:24). We use the ultimate standard to morals, ethics, origins, etc… God’s word! To quell any misconception of self-righteousness, as Christians, it is not our righteousness we are espousing but His for whom saved us from sin and death. We are to clothe ourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 13:14), to which such righteousness is given through faith in Him (Rom 3:22). We are to give Him the glory for everything; “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things…” (Rom 11:36, NASB). Therefore, it is not of our own knowledge and wisdom for which we share such truth, but Him who created the heavens and the earth; and yes, us (Gen 1:1, 1:27)!
Allow me to ask – If Christians are not to use God’s word to judge right/wrong, good/bad, and to reveal we are sinners, how do you suppose we go about it? What standard aside from God’s word should we use? Again, for something to be right/wrong, good/bad, there must be an ultimate unchanging standard of such. Anything less is subject to one’s own opinion. So, those who think the bible is nonsense and nothing but a fairytale, by what ultimate, unchanging standard do you judge others? If you are so bold as to say you don’t judge, allow me to ask: Do you vote? Did you vote in the November 8th election? Why did you vote for that person? Do/did you think he or she is going to be ‘good’ for the country? What does ‘good’ look like to you? Why/how? Have you ever told someone they are being ‘immoral’? Done something ‘wrong’? Done something ‘right’? The answer is of course, yes, you have already done at least one of the aforementioned.
Some at this point may appeal to relativism or another like philosophy to explain away any moral absolutes; the epitome of philosophical standards, as they lack any ultimate unchanging standard. Relativism is arguably the most egregious (and one often appealed to), albeit frustrating philosophy when debating morality. Not only is relativism self-defeating (saying there is no truth is in fact a truth statement so it cannot be trusted), but the relativist cannot meet his own standard in other ways: i.e. they will continue to stop at red lights, stop signs, not walk into traffic when cars are coming, etc. Paul warns us of such nonsensical philosophy and why we are to be built up in Christ: “I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument…See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ” (Col 2:6, 2:8, NASB).
How are Christians able to argue for moral absolutes? God is our ultimate, unchanging standard; all powerful (omnipotent), all loving (omnibenevolent), all knowing (omniscient), all present (omnipresent). “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb 13:8). Therefore He can be trusted. If morality is subject to change day to day, the only logical conclusion is we can never know what is moral and what is not!
Thankfully, our loving God gives us a glimpse of His nature through His inerrant and θεόπνευστος (theopneustos – God-breathed) word (2 Tim 3:16). Contrary to popular opinion, the bible is not a mere human construct created by those looking to control the masses. No! It is a collection of God-breathed works through His creation (man), penned by over 40 different authors over a period of over 1,500 years; perfect and inerrant. Thus, it is His word which we use to preach that sin and death entered into the world through one man, Adam (Rom 5:12, 5:19; 1 Cor 15:21), and we have a Savior for such sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Now that an ultimate standard (God and His word) has been identified, we can use it to determine what sin is, and more importantly, its remedy. As we move forward, it will become evident as to how and why Christians witness to the lost – i.e. those separated from Christ; those in sin.
Christians are called to make disciples of all nations, baptizing those who receive the gospel, in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt 28:19). We witness (in short) to others that:
- Man was created in the image and likeness of God and was originally without sin (Gen 1:27)
- Through Adam’s disobedience, man fell, and sin and death entered into the world (Gen 3:1-24; 1 Cor 15:21)
- Through Adam’s sin, authority (dominion) on earth was handed over to Satan (Matt 4:9; 2 Cor 4:4)
- Jesus Christ, the eternal begotten Son of God, became man without ceasing to be God, was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary to become a propitiation for our sins to redeem man’s fallen state (John 1:1-2, 14; Luke 1:35)
- Jesus Christ, who was without sin, went to the cross and became sin on our behalf (2 Cor 5:21)
- Jesus Christ died, rose physically on the third day, and subsequently ascended into heaven where He is currently seated in physical form, at the right hand of the Father (Rom 3:24; 1 Pet 2:24, 1:3-5; Eph 1:7; Acts 1:9, 10; Heb 7:25, 9:24; Rom 8:34; 1 John 2:1-2)
- Jesus Christ will return to judge the living and the dead (1 Pet 4:5, Rom 14:9; 2 Tim 4:1). Those who are saved will be granted eternal life and those who are not will suffer eternal torment in the lake of fire (John 3:36; Rev 20:15)
Skeptics and unbelievers at this point may be pondering, “Great, but how do we know we are sinners. Who are you to tell me I’m doing something wrong?” Again, through Adam’s disobedience, we all bear the curse of sin from the time of conception (1 Cor 15:21). We use God’s word, the ultimate standard, in showing others we are all sinners. For example, borrowing narrative from street evangelist Ray Comfort:
“Have you ever stolen anything, even something small?”
“Okay, have you ever looked at another person with lust?”
“Okay, have you ever lied, even if it was about something small?” ‘
“Okay, so by your own admission, you are a thief (Ex 20:15), an adulterer (Ex 20:14, Matt 5:28), and a liar (Lev 19:11).”
This is an example of using righteous judgment. It is not of our own standards, but God’s standards that we use to show someone they are a sinner. We do not use this judgment to condemn, we use it to help reveal the sinful nature of fallen man and more importantly, that Jesus Christ came and died for our sins on the cross, thus becoming our Lord and Savior.
How do we know that Jesus saves and how can I be saved? Let us take a gander: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:16-18, NASB). “He [God the father] made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21, NASB).
In order not to fall into judgement (in other words, for one to be saved) we must be born again, thus becoming sealed with the Holy Spirit until the day of redemption (John 3:5, Eph 1:13, 4:30). “…The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” – that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation” (Rom 10:8-9, NASB). Belief in the Lord is a heart issue! “Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances” (Ezk 36:26-27). He will also bring you to repentance! “Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”” (Acts 2:38).
If at this point you are wanting to be saved, you can drop to your knees or however you wish to pray for the Lord Jesus Christ to take over! My recommendation is you also pray for God to lead you to a Holy Spirit-filled, bible believing church where worshiping, fellowship, membership, water baptism, and biblical education can commence.
The reason autonomy continues to reign supreme in the lives of so many, is that through suppression of truth (Rom 18-21), people believe they are free to do whatever they want without consequence; albeit eternal consequence. Any hint of having to submit to an ultimate authority is both frightening and inconvenient. Frightening because there becomes accountability for their actions, and inconvenient because the lustful joys of the world, once entertained, will cease to be pleasurable, and what could be more fulfilling than that?! God and His perfect love, mercy, peace, and joy of course can be, and is.
We are spiraling further toward troubling times as we continue to trek through the last days. Traditional, biblical standards are being shattered, giving way to human-conjured philosophical nonsense. Where science is not only being used as a tool to illuminate how God’s creations work, but also increasingly becoming the basis of our moral and ethical standards. It should be of no surprise then, why an ultimate standard (i.e. morality), ceases to exist or be taken seriously among the lost; it is of course due to science being fallible. Only the infallible (God and His word) can be used as a basis for morality and a standard of judgment. Anything less is reduced to mere opinion, where right/wrong, good/bad are dependent on the individual espousing such.
Of course, not everyone will agree with what has been written. Some may be quite angry, some indifferent, and others shouting for joy. Regardless, the goal was not to convince you of anything (although I do pray you heed such words), but rather to educate on how Christians are to use the word of God for witnessing of the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is because of His standard and righteousness, not our own, that we can speak truth.
Author: Brian Kurkjian, Ed.D