Matthew 7

Matthew 7 - January 26th

Chapter 7 presents us with several pithy teachings of Jesus in rapid-fire succession. Each of these teachings relates in some way horizontally (man to man) or vertically (God to man). Let us briefly consider two of these teachings as well as address some of the common misinterpretations.


Judging Others- This is one of the most well-known sayings of our Lord; unfortunately, it is also one of the most misunderstood. Many people take this teaching to mean that we, as Christians, are not to judge anyone; in fact, they would say that to make any judgments whatsoever is a sin. Not only is such an interpretation grossly unbiblical, but it is also wildly foolish. If you truly understand what Christ is saying here, you will find that this teaching has less to do with judgment and more to do with hypocrisy.


There is a type of judgment that Christians are encouraged to practice, and it is called discernment. In fact, we see Jesus encouraging this kind of judgment within this very same chapter in verses 15-20 when speaking about false prophets. To walk into the world without knowing how to discern (judge) between right and wrong is about as wise as walking into a pool not knowing how to swim…it won’t end well.


We are to judge; however, Jesus teaches us to judge without hypocrisy and in humility. We must first have our own house in order before we dare judge the disorderliness of our brother, or in the words of Jesus, “first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” This also shows that sound biblical judgment is meant for the benefit of the body; however, when it operates in hypocrisy rather than humility, it does more harm than good. To judge another brother’s sin is a dangerous thing. Why? Because you can no longer claim ignorance. If you are perceptive enough to notice shortcomings in others’ lives, then you ought to be able to notice some of the very same shortcomings in your own life and therefore address them first! This is the exact same truth that Paul lays out in Romans 2:1-3 and Romans 2:17-24. 


“Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?” (Romans 2:1-3)


“But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth—  you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law.  For, as it is written, The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.” (Romans 2:17-24)

Ask, And It Will Be Given- This teaching presents us with a wonderful promise from God to His people. It is meant to reveal our heavenly Father’s disposition to us in prayer. The gist of this teaching is this if earthly Fathers (who are by nature evil) know how to give good gifts to their children and have a heart that is eager to do so, how much more God? Unfortunately, this teaching can easily be distorted in our minds to the point where we come to think of God as some kind of Santa Clause or cosmic genie in a bottle. 


This teaching is not meant to communicate that God is somehow our slave and we are his master. As if we are reclining on a sofa, and he is the one who must feed us grapes at our every beck and call. To understand this rightly, you must see that this promise is all within the context of God’s will! Our God is ready to give good things to those who ask him! Many of the time, we ask for the very things that would do us harm, just like children often make foolish requests to their parents that would do them more harm than good. Instead of asking for bread, we ask for a stone, and instead of a fish, we ask for a snake. We sometimes ask for the very things that are contrary to the will of God. Therefore, let us not only be thankful for the times God says yes to us but also when he says no. 


This promise is not for those who are seeking out their worldly and selfish desires; James 4:3 shows this plainly when it says, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” Instead, this promise is for those who are seeking the will of God and have searched the scriptures diligently to find what it is and have then devoted themselves to prayer regarding it.