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Are you working out your salvation?

By Todd Barrier  

Recently we were discussing Matthew 7 in our Bible class; more specifically, we were studying verses 3-5.  

These verses say: And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. 

Often these verses are taken out of context, or part of the verse is used and the other is ignored, to shame and “judge” others. If we read the verses correctly, however, that’s not at all what they are saying.  

We are being taught that we can’t help anyone else with sin in their lives if we aren’t willing to look at the sin – or “plank” – in our own lives 

After all, we are instructed in these verses to remove the speck from the other’s eye after our plank has been removed. Basically, there is a process to being able to point out things that might be helpful to the eternal soul of someone else.  

As explained by Paul in Philippians 2:12, we first must work out our own salvation, or remove that plank from our own eye. We have no standing to try to judge – or help, or whatever we want to call it – others if we aren’t willing to look at ourselves in the mirror.  

We are to develop Christlike character that pushes us toward recognizing and eliminating sin in our lives so we will have the kind of character others would be willing to listen to.  

Are you working on your own salvation – or unrighteously judging others first?