Q. In your article entitled Fruit Inspectors you stated that “It is humanly impossible to tell who is saved and who is not…” Is it safe to assume that we do not know if Hitler was saved or if the mass murderers of Islamic terrorism are saved? You get my point. We are commanded to exercise righteous judgment which must be based on conclusive evidence. We may not judge on the basis of appearance, personal opinions or unsubstantiated suspicions.
A. Here are the Lord’s clearest statements on judgment.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Matt. 7:1-2).
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven (Luke 6:37).
To these Paul added,
Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts (1 Cor. 4:5).
These passages are not conditioned by context but are general admonitions. We don’t know what happens in the hearts of evil men, especially in the last moments of their life, and using such extreme examples to justify behavior the Bible warns against is really not a good argument.
Where are we commanded to exercise righteous judgment against others? There is no one who is righteous, not even one (Romans 3:10). Our righteousness is imputed to us by faith (Romans 3:22) which means it doesn’t qualify us to act as judges of others. The Bible is clear in reminding us that we have enough to worry about in our own behavior without judging the behavior of others (Matt. 7:3-5).
But I wasn’t talking about observable behavior in my answer. I was talking about the condition of a person’s heart. It is humanly impossible to tell who is saved and who is not, because it involves looking into a person’s heart. That’s something only the Lord can do.