If we would judge ourselves - If, having acted improperly, we condemn our conduct and humble ourselves, we shall not be judged, i.e. punished for the sin we have committed.
For if we would judge ourselves - If we would examine ourselves, 1 Corinthians 11:28; if we would exercise a strict scrutiny over our hearts and feelings, and conduct, and come to the Lord‘s Table with a proper spirit, we should escape the condemnation to which they are exposed who observe it in an improper manner. If we would exercise proper “severity” and “honesty” in determining our own character and fitness for the ordinance, we should not expose ourselves to the divine displeasure.
We should not be judged - We should not be exposed to the expression of God‘s disapprobation. He refers here to the punishment which had come upon the Corinthians for their improper manner of observing the ordinance; and he says that if they had properly examined themselves, and had understood the nature of the ordinance, that they would have escaped the judgments that had come upon them. This is as true now as it was then. If we wish to escape the divine displeasure; if we wish the communion to be followed with joy, and peace, and growth in grace, and not with blighting and spiritual barrenness, we should exercise a severe judgment on our character, and feelings, and motives; and should come to it with a sincere desire to honor Christ, and to advance in the divine life.
“Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Do not think yourself better than other men, and set yourself up as their judge. Since you cannot discern motive, you are incapable of judging another. In criticizing him, you are passing sentence upon yourself; for you show that you are a participant with Satan, the accuser of the brethren. The Lord says, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.” This is our work. “If we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.” 2 Corinthians 13:5; 1 Corinthians 11:31. DA 314.1
The good tree will produce good fruit. If the fruit is unpalatable and worthless, the tree is evil. So the fruit borne in the life testifies as to the condition of the heart and the excellence of the character. Good works can never purchase salvation, but they are an evidence of the faith that acts by love and purifies the soul. And though the eternal reward is not bestowed because of our merit, yet it will be in proportion to the work that has been done through the grace of Christ. DA 314.2
Thus Christ set forth the principles of His kingdom, and showed them to be the great rule of life. To impress the lesson He adds an illustration. It is not enough, He says, for you to hear My words. By obedience you must make them the foundation of your character. Self is but shifting sand. If you build upon human theories and inventions, your house will fall. By the winds of temptation, the tempests of trial, it will be swept away. But these principles that I have given will endure. Receive Me; build on My words. DA 314.3Read in context »