Topic: Judgement Verse: Luke 6:37–6:38
Theme: The glory God receives when we display His mercies results in His blessing in our lives.
I. Avoid God’s Displeasure by Respecting His Prerogatives – 6:37
A. Respect His Prerogative to Determine Guilt
- Jesus continues His instruction of believers by summarizing the point that He made in the previous verses – that God’s very character is seen as His children display His mercy in their love for their enemies.
- He provides us with specific parameters for our conduct that will properly testify to the fact that we are “sons of the Most High” as He has called us to display – cp. 35
- These parameters are provided in the form of four imperatives – two negative & two positive that will not only bring Him glory but result in our blessing.
- He begins with the command: “Do not judge, and you will not be judged”
- “judge” [κρίνω] – refers to the process of exalting oneself up as superior to another for the purpose of rendering a verdict of guilt in the transgression of a law.
- It refers to a hypocritical, self-righteous, condemning spirit that fails to defer to God’s prerogative in determining right and wrong.
- This principle has been horribly misused – essentially by those in sin who desire to avoid any accountability.
- Jesus is NOT forbidding the assessment of a person’s behavior and confronting the person’s sins within the Body of Christ – cp. Luke 6:41-45; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15; James 5:19-20.
- What this forbids is the advancement of yourself as a final authority in determining right and wrong – the failure to defer to the specific and singular prerogative of God to determine morality and righteousness.
- It is judging people on matters that the Scriptures do not specify or commuting a judgment specifically made by God and replacing it with our own assessment.
- The prerogative of judging belongs to the Lord and His verdicts are the only ones that matter – cp. John 5:22; Romans 2:16; James 4:12.
- Those who have come to know God realize that He alone is fit to serve as the standard for morality – right and wrong find their definition in God alone; otherwise, God will judge you.
B. Respect His Prerogative to Determine Penalty
- Not only do some feel that they have the right to determine what is right and wrong for themselves and others, they also feel that they have the right to assign consequences or penalties to people what violations.
- Hence, Jesus declares: “… and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned”
- “condemn” [καταδικάζω] – refers to assigning a sentence for the transgression of the law; what consequences should be assigned to a person for what they have done.
- If we are not to “judge,” we are not to “condemn” either – a reference to acting as a judge and a jury.
- The consequences of sin are determined by God – everything from death to other natural consequences such as deprivation, disease, or distress.
- God alone has the prerogative of sentencing sinners for their sin – this is what is inherently wrong with “damning” someone who does something that offends or irritates you!
- For the believer, we find that we are free from condemnation in Christ Jesus – Romans 8:1, 33-34
- What makes us so quick to judge other people?
- Why is our ability to judge others tainted?
- Why does God take such offense when we judge and condemn others?
- What is the key to avoiding judging other people?
II. Augment God’s Blessing by Revealing His Pity – 6:37b-38
A. The Blessing of Leniency toward Offenders – v. 37b-38a
- Instead of a censorious, intolerant, arrogant attitude toward others, we ought to seek to display the same love toward others that God has shown toward us.
- Jesus says: “pardon, and you will be pardoned …”
- “Pardon” [ἀπολύω] – describes the act of granting acquittal or releasing someone or sending something away.
- It describes the act of forgiveness – that willingness to “release” offenses from association with a person who has offended you.
- A willingness to forgive is part of the character of God in His mercy and is therefore to be part of those who are born of God.
- When a person’s character is inconsistent with God’s there is no ability to rest in one’s spiritual condition – rather, a bitter spirit that condemns and pursues absolute “justice” is consistent with those who are strangers to God’s grace.
- Those who “will be pardoned” are those who are willing to “pardon” others because of the joy of how God has treated them and the desire to glorify Him for His mercy.
- The genuine & gracious act of God whereby we are forgiven implants such a commensurate forgiving nature that when such a forgiving nature is absent, it signifies the lack of genuine grace & forgiveness from God – cp. Ephesians 4:31-32.
B. The Blessing of Benevolence toward Others – v. 38b
- The standard that Christ provides us here goes even further; whereas as forgiveness dismisses what a person has done, giving to them adds to it.
- He says, “Give, and it will be given to you.” – that is, God is able to heap upon us blessing upon blessing as we display our willingness to give even as He gives – even using unbelievers to do so.
- God’s giving is not “stingy” or “meager” – rather, when God gives it is in full measure – “They will pour into your lap a good measure pressed down, shaken together, and running over”
- “they will pour” – a reference to the impact that overcoming evil with good has as God causes even one’s enemies to be at peace – cp. Proverbs 16:7
- “good measure” – [μέτρον καλὸν] - a reference to a “quality quantity” – that they will not be seeking to take advantage of you but will seek to be fair.
- “pressed down” – a reference to actively seeking to ensure that no pockets are left unfilled
- “shaken together” – yet another attempt to ensure that what is expected is delivered – without skimping.
- “running over” – [ὑπερεκχύν(ν)ω] – describes excess – spillage as it is delivered.
- The summary of this section is provided – “For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return”
- “The person’s activity sets the standard of God’s reaction, which does not so much involve the eschatological judgment of one’s salvation before God as it involves God’s evaluation of the character of one’s life and the pleasure he expresses at the way one has lived. In fact, some of the divine response may spill over into how God treats one in this life.”
- The overall goal of these verses is to establish the expectation that believers will be engaged in overcoming evil with good as a demonstration of God’s glory as we reflect His character in how we conduct our lives.
- The glory God receives when we display His mercies results in His blessing in our lives.
- In what ways are you “set free” when you free others of their offenses?
- What is lost when we give to others stingily, meagerly or begrudgingly?
- What is the “standard of measure” that you use to display the mercy of God?