Speaking and Judging
James 4:11-12
Is speaking against a brother really that big a deal?!
Published February 17th, 2017
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Main point summary
Main point summary
Don't speak evil against fellow believers, because when you do, you judge and don't submit to the very law of liberty (gospel) that has saved you! Only God has the right to judge!
James 4:11-12
m Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. 1
The one who speaks against a brother
or n judges his brother,
speaks evil against the law
and judges the law.
But if you judge the law,
you are not a doer of the law
but a judge.
There is only o one lawgiver and p judge,
he who is able to save
and q to destroy.
But r who are you to judge your neighbor?
James gives a clear command here...' do not speak evil against one another...' Q. What is it to speak evil against one another? Slander, criticism, abuse... Any type of speech that would have the effect of harm, tearing down, evil, call into question their righteous standing... To speak evil against a brother, is essentially to judge them. You have to make a judgement before you speak evil of them. You have to have some measure by which you feel they fall short and you meet, therefore you are able to speak against them. James 2:4 There's a weight that James wants us to feel here re. us judging the law... Q. What 'law' has James in mind here? Mosaic law? Law of liberty? If we speak evil and judge people who God has 'made right', made a 'brother', through the law of liberty (the gospel). Are we not then actually judging the law itself? i.e. If you look at a house and say you don't like it, you judge the builder of the house. 'But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge' - If we judge our brothers, and therefore judge the law that in a sense made them brothers, then we are no longer 'doers' of the law. We're no longer under that law, but are rather placing ourselves above it! We are claiming to be an authority over it, and in so doing no longer walking in it ourselves. The implication of this is, if we're not doers, if we're not walking as we should under this law, we will face judgement ! Luke 6:37-38 Q. How can we look into the perfect law, law of liberty, (the gospel), knowing our unworthiness and God's grace, and then judge a brother?!! Speak evil against one that God has declared righteous?! Knowing that we too are like them, only by the grace of God there go I...! 'There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy' - We speak and judge from a place of powerlessness! Our judgements mean nothing, they hold no weight, they change nothing! Only God is able to judge, because He is the only one who is able to follow through on His judgements. Either to save, or to destroy! If we put ourselves in the place of judging the law, then the One who gives that law and truly judges will judge us...and we may be destroyed! i.e. Have you even seen someone impersonating a person of authority, and then that person entering the room!
Disclaimer: The opinions and conclusions expressed on this page are those of the author and may or may not accord with the positions of Biblearc or Bethlehem College & Seminary.