What does it mean to “judge according to the flesh”? When Jesus was confronted by the religious leaders He made it plain that as they judged Him their judgment was entirely wrong. It was wrong because of the standard they used—a standard that was according to the flesh (John 8:15). In connection to this Jesus said He judged no one, that is, He judged no one “according to the flesh.” Jesus did not say that He did not render (or make) judgments when He walked on this earth, only that the standard He used was not the same standard they used. To judge according to the flesh, then, is to use a standard that looks only at the appearances presented and not at the substance of what is actually going on (John 7:24). Consequently, when we make judgments—and we all do—let us be slow in the making of them, being sure we apply the “golden rule” (Matthew 7:12). We need to use only God’s standard of righteousness (Hebrews 4:12) in making judgments. When we see something that is amiss, let us seek to correct it, but in a way that we desire to be corrected when another sees us amiss.
Paul spoke about hypocrisy in Romans 2 in relation to the Jewish man who stands and condemns the non-Jewish man about certain actions of which he himself is guilty. What prompts a person to do such a thing? I can’t answer precisely, but here are some ideas. First, the hypocrite believes God will look past one’s own failings. Second, the hypocrite believes there is enough time to make things right with God. Third, the hypocrite does not actually see himself as being guilty of anything. Fourth, the knowledge the hypocrite has, presumably, allows the hypocrite to “teach” the one who does not have that same knowledge, and that somehow will make it alright. Whatever the reason, the hypocrite will have his mask removed on judgment day—and it will be a bad day!