40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? Luke 23:40
There are differences between the words condemnation, rebuking, and judgment that every believer ought to understand. I have seen some believers take offense when they’re being rebuked. They mistake that to mean they’re being condemned or judged. Even when you’re doing it out of love, many confuse these words and take an offense out of ignorance. So let’s clear the air, and understand what these three actually mean.
The first one we will look at is rebuking. There’re many believers who cannot take a rebuke. They confuse that with being judged. But you should thank God if you’re being rebuked. Because that will save you from many troubles. Rebuke translates the Greek word epitimao. It literally means to warn, but in a broader sense, it means to put honor upon and then to mete out due measure, and so then to find fault with, to censure severely, to express strong disapproval of, or to denounce.
20 Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear. 1 Timothy 5:20
Rebuking happens when you’re being warned about a wrong path you may be on. It’s the one who loves you who can look straight into your eyes and rebuke you. It is not a judgment, nor condemnation – it’s a way of taking one back to the values of God. You should be grateful that someone will go out of the way to warn you. Would you prefer heading into a ditch or being saved from going in there?
Is prevention not better than cure? That is what rebuking does. It’s done not with the intention of judging, you but to save you from being destroyed by the devil.
Condemnation And Judgment
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who[a] do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1
The words condemnation and judgment are very close in meaning but have differences. Whereas rebuking has to do with a warning, condemnation has to do with distinguishing. The Greek word katakrima translates the English word condemnation.
When you’re being condemned, it literally means judgment is coming down upon you. You have been set apart or distinguished or separated for judgment. That is, to find someone guilty, but not yet sentenced. So what Paul was saying in Romans 8:1 is that those who are in Christ, who walk in the Spirt, won’t be found guilty of any sin. Is that not glorious?! If you’re not guilty of sin, then no sentence will be passed against you.
Now, having been found guilty, the next thing that happens is to be sentenced. And that is the meaning of judgement. The word is translated from the Greek word krima. Judgment also means judicial sentencing. When the punishment for your wrong is pronounced.
8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. John 16:8-11
Most people mistake rebuking with judgment. When they’re being corrected or warned, they assume that they’re being judged. No! Our role in judging will not be triggered until we are in heaven. There is nowhere we are encouraged to be judging people. But we can rebuke and correct.
I see many hiding behind the “you’re judging me” mantra to avoid a rebuke. A true Christians should be so grateful to receive a rebuke. So that you don’t end up being destroyed by the enemy. We have escaped condemnation in Christ. We are not guilty. Does it mean God can’t correct or rebuke us? He surely can!
When you’re told to be in the wrong, accept it with joy and amend your ways accordingly. Don’t take that to mean condemnation or judgment.
33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out! Romans 11:33
Understanding the differences that exist between these words will help you know what you’re receiving when under any form of scrutiny. Stay blessed
Read Further: Matthew 7:1-6, Revelation 20:4
Prayer For Today
Holy Father, I thank you so much in the name of Jesus Christ for enlightening the eyes of my understanding. I pray for the grace to receive rebukes with the heart of humility and joy. Amen