2 Corinthians 5:14-16 “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh…”
When there was a great persecution against the church, who was Saul persecuting? Jesus said to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” How could he be persecuting Jesus when he was persecuting the church?
Jesus said this: “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me?” Did what? “If you feed them, you feed Me; if you clothe them, you clothe Me; if you serve them, you serve Me.”
According to Jesus then, if you persecute them, you are persecuting Him. If you judge them, you are judging Him.
This explains the two greatest commands as one in the same: Love God, and love your neighbor. When you love your neighbor, you are loving Him. How is this possible? Maybe we should start agreeing with the finished work of Christ in that Christ died for all, and therefore all died, and if He rose up from the grave, then we all rose from the grave, giving us (humanity) new life. We are in Christ, therefore we are a new creation. Judge no one according to the flesh, the old nature, which was corrupt, sinful, and fallen. Why would we regard others according to the old nature, if Christ paid the penalty to redeem us again to our original design, born again, and made in His image? If we died and it is Christ who lives in us, why judge? Why persecute? Why hate? Why scorn? When you do that to man, you are doing that to Christ.
I grew up in the church believing that it was alright to judge Christians because I was “inside”…though I stayed away from it because it didn’t resonate with my heart. I’m sad to say that almost all suicidal deaths I’ve heard of derived from church. I know that’s a big statement, but take it to heart. Explain the gigantic number of church hurts. The only piece of scripture that legalists use to prove their own point comes from 1 Cor. 5:12, which is obviously taken out of context. They get this mixed with Proverbs explaining how we are to rebuke and correct each other, when the heart of it isn’t for us to practice rebuking, correcting, or criticizing one another, for they see not with the eyes of Christ. On the other hand, we have Rom. 14:13, Col. 2:16, Jam. 4:11-12, Matt. 7:1-5, several main points that all say the same thing.
There is a fatherly chastening, not spanking, from our Father who disciplines us, teaches us, and deals with according to grace because Jesus became sin and wrath, taking the punishment on our behalf, going to the depths of hell for us, so that we might be re-stored, re-newed, re-born, re-deemed, re-generated. According to the new covenant, He has put His laws in our minds and has written them on our hearts. Why? So that “None of them should have to teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ FOR ALL SHALL KNOW ME, from the least of them to the greatest of them. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Hebrews 8:10-12).
We already know right from wrong, so there’s no need to tell someone “Don’t do this, or don’t do that,” for you bring back up again the Law, which was actually against us (Col. 2:14). Just re-read Colossians 2:16-23 and argue with that.
Have we forgotten that mercy builds and judgement destroys? Deal with someone according to judgement and they will go further on in this path of destruction and hell that you’ve caused with your own tongue. Deal with someone according to mercy and watch their life change from the inside out, as well as your own. If you know God, then you will have chosen mercy. Because that’s who He is. And that is also who you are.