Rich Atchley says that if you went to the average university campus today and ask students if they know a verse of Scripture, most will say that they do. If you had asked ten or fifteen years ago, most would have quoted John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Everybody knew that verse then.
But today, most would reply with, “Judge not that you be not judged.” Atchley says, “The whole focus has changed. Ten or fifteen years ago the focus was on the truth of God’s love. But today, surveys reveal that practically everyone is convinced that there is no absolute truth. So, the emphasis has switched from truth to tolerance.”
And that leaves us free to do anything we want without worrying about what God teaches.
I agree with him. But anyone who recites Matthew 7:1 in an attempt to justify their worldly lifestyle misuses it and neglects the context of the passage. If we read the rest of the chapter, just a few verses later Jesus instructs us to watch out for “wolves in sheep’s clothing” and teaches us to judge these false prophets based on their actions (cf. Mt. 7:15-20)!
I believe that Satan is using this verse to sell our culture a lie. It’s the same tactic that he attempted against Christ in the wilderness in Matthew 4:1-11. It’s a lie that most of our society has bought into, and it’s another example of how important it is for us to take the gospel to all the nations Matthew 28:18-20.
As God’s people let’s strive to know the word better than the enemy, and have the courage to gently and humbly restore a brother or sister who is living in sin. It’s the most loving thing that we can do.
“Dear brothers and sisters, if another believer is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself.” (Galatians 6:1 NLT)