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Romans 10:9 (KJV)
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

If I interpret Romans 10:9 as saying all those who don't confess with their mouth and don't believe in their heart, that they will not be saved and I proclaim this; am I therefore sinning by passing judgement on those who do not confess or believe?

Romans 2:1 (KJV)
Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

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If anything, Romans 2:1 is warning, as Jesus does, against projection. There are other problems with saying those who don't confess with their mouth and believe in the heart will not be saved. –  RiverC Apr 27 '12 at 18:04
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2 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

There is a difference between condemning and being discerning. One is using the good judgement God gave you, the other is judging in the place of God.

It should be clear that Christians are supposed to be "as wise as serpents but as gentle as lambs. ". Throughout the NT, we are warned to avoid false teachers and cast them out of our midst. We are to encourage and rebuke our brothers

But note the context- in the cases where we are to use discernment, it is in a personal, relating body of believers. We are not called to be God's policemen, forcing a system of morality on unbelievers. Rather, it is a privilege to be subject to the discipline of God - for after all, he only disciplines those he loves.

If a brother is calling himself a Christian, he invites discipline, rebuke, and encouragement. He sees it as a way to be the person God created him to be. If not, there is no use in casting your pearls before swine.

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+1 for an excellent distinction in the last paragraph. –  David Morton May 29 '12 at 18:50
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Christ himself says, 'Judge not lest ye be judged', and in another place, 'The same measure by which ye measure shall be measured unto you.'

It's not unreasonable to assume that if you are condemning other people, you are committing a sin, as Christ himself even says that he did not come to condemn anyone, but because they stood condemned already.

So the answer is, if you know their heart and know that they reject God it would be irresponsible for you not to warn them that rejecting God will cause them to be condemned. But given that I myself do not know anyone's heart, hardly even my own, I would say that to do so is at the very least presumptuous for two reasons.

  1. I do not know that person's heart. I may not even know their words.
  2. I make the assumption that if they would just hear me and listen and confess, they will be saved. But I don't know the end of that person, what their future choices will be.

But merely proclaiming this - that those who do not confess and believe will be condemned - is no more sinful than declaring that those who fly into the sun will be consumed in plasma fire.

The consideration must be the reason for proclaiming it and to whom it is directed. Rarely do we use such a verse in an objective fashion; it is almost always directed against a particular person or person(s) we know to be unbelievers. This is prideful and dangerous.

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here's as good a place as any - kudos to you for your enthusiastic participation lately (& overall)! I don't always agree with your answers, but they make good points and are fun to read. :) +1, btw. –  Thomas Shields Apr 28 '12 at 2:05
    
Thanks, DT. I prefer the harder questions, myself, since they are usually the questions we come up with at difficult points. Maximus the Confessor has a treatise called 'Ambiguium' which is devoted to this concept, answers to hard questions about scripture. –  RiverC Apr 28 '12 at 20:59
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