New Defender's Study Bible Notes
7:1 Judge not. Here Jesus warns against condemning the actions or motives of others. Only the Lord has that right, since only He has full knowledge of a person’s actions and motives. (John 5:22; Romans 14:4,10; etc.). On the other hand, He has commanded us to “judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24). We should be able to recognize false teachers and “from such turn away” (II Timothy 3:5; see also Matthew 7:15-20; etc.). Also, we should discern and rebuke these false brethren who are encouraging others to sin (Ephesians 5:7,11). In other words, we should be able to judge that which is wrong, in either doctrine or practice, and avoid (or correct) those who are involved, but we must not condemn them—God must do that.
7:6 unto the dogs. It is counter-productive to try to teach the treasures of Biblical truth to those who reject and ridicule the Scriptures. Their hearts must first be prepared by the Holy Spirit, supplemented by a gracious presentation of Christian evidences (Acts 17:15-34).
7:8 every one that asketh receiveth. This great promise is not a sort of blank check given to everyone. As with all texts of Scripture, it must be taken in context, remembering that this was part of the instruction given to His disciples (see note on Matthew 5:1). Also see footnotes on Matthew 6:9 and James 4:3.
7:12 even so to them. This is the so-called Golden Rule of conduct. This is not meant to be a prerequisite for salvation, for no person ever obeys this rule perfectly, any more than he keeps the ten commandments perfectly, which it summarizes and applies. It was spoken only to believers, already presumed to be saved by faith and given as a standard by which they should seek to order their personal lives. Love for God and love for one’s neighbor also summarize all “the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:36-40; Romans 13:8-10).
7:14 few. According to Christ Himself, most people will never be saved, in spite of the fact that He offers salvation as a free gift to all who will receive it is faith (John 3:16, 18; Romans 6:23; etc.).
7:15 Beware of false prophets. This is the first use of the word “beware” in the New Testament, and so warrants close attention. There have always been men (more so today than ever) who claim to be—and often appear to be—true prophets (or teachers or pastors or counselors) with marvelous new spiritual messages. But beware! They must always be tested by their fidelity to all the Holy Scriptures (Isaiah 8:20). Also see note on Revelation 22:18.
7:15 ravening. Searching for prey, like a raven. Note especially II Corinthians 11:13-15; II Peter 2:1-3.
7:18 evil fruit. This criterion of “fruit inspection” can be applied both to individuals and to systems. For example, the evolutionary philosophy has produced no good fruits whatever. Instead, it has generated atheism, humanism, communism, fascism, racism and all manner of evil fruits. It, therefore, is a false and evil philosophy.
7:21 doeth the will. This sobering indictment indicates that not only pagans but also many professing Christians are unsaved. Doing the Father’s will involves first believing, then obeying His Word, for therein is revealed His will (John 5:24; 7:17).
7:22 wonderful works. It is remarkable that there are actually prophets and miracle workers who—perhaps sincerely, perhaps not—profess to be Christians but who instead are unsaved, deluded and even enabled to do “wonderful works” by Satan in order to lead people to follow a false Christ.
7:23 I never knew you. These false prophets are not people who once were saved and then became apostates. Christ never knew them!
7:23 work iniquity. The word “iniquity” here means “lawlessness.” Thus false prophets reject God’s law—i.e., His Word—in favor of their own philosophy or complex of experiences, and thus cannot do His will (Matthew 7:21, 26).