Because we must have a proper judgment of people that drives our decisions about them (like the baby sitter in the previous post) we should be in constant prayer about what that would look like in our lives. It can become very easy to judge people to condemnation but that is not our duty towards anyone regardless of whether or not they are in the church.
Let’s learn that we need to judge between those truly of the faith and those not. These judgements will tell us boat loads about life. Indeed, as previously mentioned- Jesus made constant judgements about those around Him and these led Him to act in a different way around them. The problem is that many believe this automatically leads to condemnation. First and foremost I should say that it is never our place to condemn people A) because we would stand equally condemned (Romans 3:23; Matthew 7:1-5) and it is God alone who condemns people to Hell and saves people to Heaven (James 4:12)- so to say again, its not our responsibility to condemn people.
But what does that mean? It means that we don’t refuse friendships, gifts, favors, or anything that may bless unbelievers on the basis of what they have done. This speaks greatly of the grace of God in our lives as He takes us as we are not based on works (Eph. 2:8-9) and it is even His Spirit that enables the turning and proclamation of Jesus as Lord in the first place (1 Corinthians 12:3). But we do judge by affirming that they will not enter Heaven’s rest unless they turn from sin and follow Christ, this is a judgment that distinguishes truth from error.
While we still don’t condemn fellow believers, our judgement looks different in regards to them. When we judge our brothers and sisters in Christ, we do so in light of who they are and what Christ has saved them from. This is where the negative connotation comes from. You see, we are given the responsibility to correct others- this is what Paul commands in that 1 Corinthians 5 passage. But this judgment is for the purpose of turning towards repentance. Where we don’t cast unbelievers out for their sin, it may come to where believers must be. This is the judgment that Paul was talking about. Jesus even prescribes a method for it in Matthew 18 (the one-on-one, two-on-one, and church-on-one teaching).
As we may need to remove people from leadership, membership, and fellowship to instill the truth of the Gospel in them, it becomes easy to believe that we are condemning them. But that is where the Church is misunderstood. We are told that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1). Because of this, those who are removed can be restored! The sad fact, however, is that once they have undergone judgment from a Church, the one caught in sin is always reluctant to rejoin and seek help towards forgiveness and renewal.
That is where we come in. The Church is Christ’s body- we should all hurt when someone is under judgment (1 Cor. 12:26). So don’t rejoice in your brother’s judgment- that leads to condemnation on your part.