Are Christians allowed to judge others?


I have a question. In Luke 22:30 the following is written, ” that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel”. My question is about “judging”. . .  isn’t God the only One with this right, to judge others? If this is so, then how do you explain the following references (I Corinthians 6:2, Revelation 2:26-27, and 3:21).

I assume that the passage in the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus said “do not judge unless you be judged” is your motivation in asking the above questions. The fact that this verse is taken out of context, misinterpreted, and applied incorrectly causes many people to judge what they should not and not judge what they should. The passage in Matthew reads as follows:

1 “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 2 “For in the way you judge, you will be judged ; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. 3 “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye ? 4 “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye ? 5 “You hypocrite, 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. (Matthew 7)

If we follow the text closely, we see that God presents two different kinds of judging, one that is wrong and another that is correct. You judge correctly when you see the log in your own eye first so that you can see the speck in your brother’s eye more clearly and then help your brother get the speck out of his eye. Improper judgment is when you only see the negative aspects of others but not your own. This type of judgment is called hypocritical and is incorrect.

The Apostles will judge the 12 tribes of Israel

There are many passages in the Bible that teach Christians that we are to judge. In fact, in some cases we are required to judge. The text from the Gospel of Luke deals with the initiation of the Lord’s Supper, started on the night that Jesus was betrayed, captured, and crucified the next day. During this painful time for Jesus, His disciples began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest (leader) among them once Jesus was gone. He began to teach His disciples that this is how the kings of the world act and this is not the way that they (His disciples) should act. The greatest was to be the least, to serve the rest. They had already received great authority and position from God through their faith in Jesus Christ. Their Savior is about to prepare a kingdom for them just as the Father had prepared for Him. Jesus explained that they will sit at the table with Him and judge the 12 tribes of Israel. Jesus gives authority to the disciples to sit and judge the 12 tribes of Israel.

The saints will judge the world and the angels (I Corinthians 6:2)

The Apostle Paul was very upset because the Christians in Corinth had many misunderstandings among themselves. The thing that upset him the most was the fact that the saints were taking each other to court over these misunderstandings, going to non believing judges to resolve their problems.

1 Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints ? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world ? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts ? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels ? How much more matters of this life ? 4 So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church ? 5 I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren, (I Corinthians 6)

Paul explains that there is a superior “court” for the believers, superior to the legal system of the state, and that superior court is to be held in the church by the believers. The church is to judge matters among the members and the believers were not to shame one another by taking their problems to court. Within this context, Paul shares a great truth, that we as believers are going to judge the world. Followers of Jesus Christ receive this authority and position from Christ and because we are under the New Covenant (we enter it when we repent and accept Christ) we will one day judge the world. We will even judge angels.

The saints will rule the nations (Revelation 2:26-27)

In the book of Revelation, in chapters 2-3, the Lord Jesus addresses the 7 churches of Asia. In His message to the church of Thyatira we read the following:

26 ‘He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, TO HIM I WILL GIVE AUTHORITY OVER THE NATIONS ; 27 AND HE SHALL RULE THEM WITH A ROD OF IRON, AS THE VESSELS OF THE POTTER ARE BROKEN TO PIECES, as I also have received authority from My Father ;  (Revelation 2)

The saints will sit on the Lord Jesus Christ’s throne of judgment (Revelation 3:21)

The authority and position of judging the nations will be given by Jesus Christ to His followers who lived a lifestyle of obedience while living on the earth.

 21 ‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. (Revelation 3)

May the Lord help us discern between the correct form of judging and the incorrect form of judging so that we can be pleasing to Him at all times, especially in our relationship with Him, the Church, and the world around us.

Translation by: Erik Brewer