“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.”
Therefore judge nothing before the time,
No one can judge motives before the Judgment Seat of Christ. The word “time” means season. There are two Greek words for time: (1) one means time in the sense of chronology (chronos), and the other (2) is time in the sense of character (kurios, our word here). The Judgment Seat of Christ possesses a distinct character.
until the Lord comes,
One day the Lord will come for the saints and take them into His presence. This is what we call the Rapture (Jn 14:3; 1 Th 4:15-17). The Lord will execute the Judgment Seat of Christ immediately after the Rapture to evaluate the genuine service of every Christian. Any verdict on motives about Christians before this time is completely unsatisfactory.
who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts.
Darkness holds hidden things or secret things in our lives. We may hold these secret things from ourselves or others. No one, even we, can judge motives. Only an omniscient God can measure our hearts completely and without distortion. He has exhaustive insight into “the counsels of the hearts.” Our “heart” is our total person, not merely our emotions.
Then each one’s praise will come from God.
After God brings to light the secret dimensions of our persons, then each of us will have God’s applause and praise. This will be a day of vindication. We all wait for that great day.
Believers should not judge motives before the Judgment Seat of Christ because we do not have the capacity of omniscience.
Judging motives is a big problem in the Christian life and is a different matter than evaluating facts with objectivity. Only the Lord can evaluate “the hidden things” and “the counsels of the hearts.” Many keep skeletons in the closet. It takes a radical examination of the Word of God to reveal our wicked hearts to ourselves, much less to someone else.
He 4:12, For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
All of us must wait for the Judgment Seat of Christ to distinguish good from bad motives. None of us has the capacity to look into the secret places of the heart. Only God has that capacity.