I’m not sure I understand in practical terms what it means to not judge another according to the flesh. I really was never taught much of anything along this line previously. It seems to me though now that it would mean that I shouldn’t judge another brother or sisters lifestyle (or by what they say and do), but see them as in Christ (maybe as Paul described himself that it was no longer he that sinned but that sin dwelt in him. (?) I’m sure it is true too about what you said that not all “Christians” are Christian. But then it would seem to be getting into judgement again if we tried to figure out who is and who isn’t, right? Joyce
To judge another according to the flesh is the most natural way of viewing people in this world. We all learned a million and one ways how to categorize others so that we could estimate ourselves accordingly: beautiful people are better than ugly or plain people, one color is better than another, where one lives is a heavy determining factor, muscular, well-toned people are superior to fat or unshapely ones, those who follow the “accepted” moral structure are definitely better, or even those who buck the system are superior to the drones of this world etc.
The truth is that as hard as men have tried to not judge according to the flesh – and many seem to succeed “better” than others – there is always something by which one is compared. EXCEPT IN CHRIST. I suppose there is a very good reason why you would have difficulty understand the miraculous reality found in Christ in “practical” terms as the concept of practical usually falls in line with a fleshly formula.
We already know what the lie is, but in Christ we already know what the truth is … and I think most of the time we are often too afraid to admit it. Why? Because we fear the world’s judgment might be right. I’m sure I could give you many examples of the practicality of not judging according to the flesh, but the fact is that I cannot teach you by any practicality how not to judge according to the flesh. I can only declare it to you — that is, I can only witness of its reality, for it is what we are taught of God himself. In other words, to judge according to Christ is our heritage in Christ. Religion, though, has also grabbed a hold of this as a concept so that we religiously learned how to judge “in Christ” … but ACCORDING TO THE FLESH. It turns out that the religious “Christian” perspective is no different than the standard run-of-the-mill fleshly perspective.
Our fear of judgment is based upon the world’s view of judgment, especially that religious form of fleshly judgment that abounds in the insane world around us. We fear being condemned by the Biblical red letters, “Do not judge”, that we seek a way to be non-committal about the hypocrisy of those who pretend to have achieved some higher level. And in doing so, we turn a blind eye to the non-stop performance-based judgments of the religious do-gooder mind. Where this really hits us the most is that we become intimidated so that we fear to boldly JUDGE according to life.
We judge according to Christ when we listen with the miraculous ears given to us by God. Oh, we hear it alright, but the intimidation demands that we are not qualified. But Christ IS our qualification! We judge according to the reality of Christ when we ignore the BS we have KNOWN is BS.
It seems to me though now that it would mean that I shouldn’t judge another brother or sisters lifestyle (or by what they say and do), but see them as in Christ (maybe as Paul described himself that it was no longer he that sinned but that sin dwelt in him.
An excellent question … and a good point. Now, we know what it is to judge a brother or sister according to law, and become hypocritical judges of the flesh in the process, but our fear of becoming “legalistic” often causes us to avoid the real matters of “lifestyle”. I think we often hope to grace a person out of their “sin” by avoiding it altogether … instead of getting up UNDER it and bring life and sanity and a return of the sense of our freedom back into the picture.
The fact is just as Paul said, “The works of the flesh are OBVIOUS”. You see, the world is held in ignorance as to the very composition of its own being … but for us that ignorance has been removed in Christ, for we were raised from that death in Him. The mindset of the world attempts to deal with these works of the flesh by confronting the works, by ignoring the works, by pretending they are not real, by adjusting the standard of the works, by hypocritically denouncing the works, etc, etc.
But in Christ we KNOW where these “works” come from because we were removed from their very SOURCE. Forget whether or not you could argue the point or put it into proper words … the truth is of this is nonetheless in Christ, and therefore is also in those made alive in Christ. Those who do not have Christ have no other recourse than to work WITHIN the framework of this source of fleshly works and band-aid their way to a form of peace and happiness … whatever that may mean! The religious form of Christianity follows the exact same principles as does the world … but obviously terms it much differently.
Viewing all things according to Christ – which is NOT viewing after the flesh – is the very witness of our living hearts by which all pretense of fleshly achievement and fleshly distinction is recognized for the bogus fluff it is. This witness is what teaches our hearts to recognize that which cannot be seen with these old eyes, hear what cannot be heard with these old ears, and know what cannot be known with this old mind!