In our fallen condition, there are certain dangers that accompany the high standard of righteousness that we are called to by Christ. The first danger is that of hypocrisy. In chapter 6, Jesus warns against hypocrisy by contrasting the heart motives of His kingdom subjects with those of hypocrites who desired for their good works to be seen by men (6:1-18).
In our text chapter 7, Jesus warns against another danger, judgmentalism, which breeds in human depravity, as God calls His people to perfection. Sadly, Matthew 7:1 is one of the most misunderstood texts of Scripture. It is often quoted by sinners seeking to escape the guilt of sin, which the law instigates. But at its core, this injunction on judgment reveals the heart of God to bless the merciful (5:7), as well as reveal how, as truly righteous kingdom citizens, we ought to eschew anger (5:21-26), revenge (5:38-42) and hatred (5:43-47). As was said, “faults are thick where love is thin.” The judgment that Jesus forbids is that which pretends to know God’s verdict on another person’s life; it manifests as we underestimate the magnitude of our own sins and overestimate the size of others’. The sanction, “judge not,” comes to mean “judge yourselves first and most rigorously” (Mt 7:2-5).