The Lord Jesus Christ once urged the Jews who contended with Him, "Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment," (John 7:24, NKJV). On this feast occasion, the people were quietly debating among themselves about Jesus and whether He was of God or a deceiver. He then came to the temple and began to teach. They now marveled and wondered how Jesus had come to know so much (John 7:10-15)? The Lord gives an answer that reveals their lack of spiritual insight and focus on the external (John 7:16-24) ending with the words quoted above.
Amazingly, nearly 2,000 years later in arguably the greatest, most educated and technologically advanced nation in the history of the world, many people inside and outside of the churches have the same problem as those 1st century Jews to whom Jesus spoke. Even though folk run around talking about "don´t judge," judgments are made all the time about people, places and things based solely on appearances. Instead, Jesus calls for those who would claim to know God to judge with righteous judgment; judgment grounded in the spiritual insight and righteousness of God!
The Jews of the 1st century should have been able to use righteous judgment enough (given their long association with God and His Word through the Law and the prophets) to see Jesus was their Messiah. But they did not because they were caught up in religious externals the same as many Christians today, a great number of whom that claim they have the Holy Spirit living in them. However, it is exactly because we have the Holy Spirit and walk in God´s righteousness that we above all other people are enabled to and should judge righteous judgment in all things (Romans 12:1-2).
Examples abound that demonstrate how many professed Christians fail to judge righteous judgment in all of life. Consider the reality of Hell, for instance. While many Christians would say Hell exists, an alarming number live as though it does not. Never mind the Bible speaks of Hell from cover to cover as being the destination of all sinners--persons who routinely practice sin without regard for consequences. If you say, "I am a Christian" but live as a sinner, you are and will die a sinner. Righteous judgment empowered by the Holy Spirit insists that sinful men will not mock God (Romans 2:5-10; Galatians 6:7-8).
Jesus spoke of and warned about Hell quite extensively. As it concerns people that profess to know God and feel secure they are Heaven bound, the Lord warns repeatedly not just about Hell, but its "fire" and "outer darkness" that awaits lawless heretics, hypocrites and unprofitable servants (Matthew 7:15-23, 8:10-12, 23:27-33, 24:45-51, 25:14-41, NKJV)! Thus, let every reader be warned, righteous judgment requires that you take God´s Word to heart. A literal Hell is the end for every sinner who refuses to accept and faithfully live out the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
An example of professed Christians joining the world and judging by appearances is evident in America´s current presidential race. Many blacks are lining up behind the black candidate; many whites, the white one. A great number of women are stirred up to support the campaign featuring a woman on the ticket while too many Americans want whoever will satisfy their pet and often petty whims. Promises, promises; every four years promises that are by and large not kept are made to gain votes and satisfy voter´s narcissistic clamor for political favor. It so fits the definition of insanity! It is how it is, but is so beneath the high calling of our nation under the Bible´s God.
Righteous judgment empowered by the Holy Spirit requires Christians in a democratic society to fully represent the will, way and Word of God at the ballot box. Candidates and issues must be judged and decided on from a biblical worldview. Regardless of race for example, each candidate for public office should be judged in terms of how close he aligns himself with God´s righteousness in governance and policy issues (1 Samuel 16:1-13). To vote with race as the main motive is to show partiality and is sin before the Lord who shows no partiality to men (Deuteronomy 1:12-17; Proverbs 18:5; Romans 2:11; James 2:1-9).
Yes, I know how historically many white Americans not only sinned in partiality, but in downright cruelty as they wrongly sought to keep blacks from voting. However, as a people who are "better not bitter" from our experience, we should rise up to the spiritual nobility our Christian slave forefathers and those after suffered for. It is not just about the right to simply vote and then vote black for black´s sake. But it is about a sacred duty; the privilege to be used of God to express His Kingdom rule and principles through voting. More than any other Americans, we ought to tremble at the prospect of such an awesome privilege as we judge with the mind of righteous judgment.
The Lord Jesus Christ told the Jews who judged Him that day to "judge with righteous judgment" not only because it was right, but also because such judgment forms the basis of His rule as their Messiah and King of the earth! Truly, the Day of His reign is very near and the prophet Isaiah foretells what kind of Ruler He shall be in Isaiah 11:1-5.
As King David´s descendant, the Holy Spirit will "rest" as in remain on Him in the Day of His rule. As a result, wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge and the fear of the Lord will inform His reign."He shall not judge by the sight of His eyes, nor decide by the hearing of His ears; but with righteousness He shall judge…," (11:3b-4a, NKJV). Ought not we His co-rulers then, to do the same now?