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Saints as Judges in 1 Corinthians 6

A Video Supplement for
Come, Follow Me Lesson 33:
“Be Perfectly Joined Together”




In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul addresses a problem which has crept up among the Corinthian Saints in which they are going to law with one another or, as we would say, suing each other. He endeavors to correct this error. Beginning at verse 1,

1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?
2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?
4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.

Paul makes the point here that what the Corinthian Saints are doing is upside down. They are to judge the world, not vice versa. Naturally, they also should not be mistreating one another in any of the variety of ways that lead people to seek legal remedies. But, while we shouldn’t be judging in the sense of condemning others, we ought to exercise wisdom in judgement sufficient that we don’t need to be a litigious people. Instead we ought to be able to arbitrate our own disputes, using even the most ordinary members of the Church of Jesus Christ as arbiters. To strengthen his point, he adds that we will judge angels.

Paul’s saying that we will judge angels implies this is not a casual mortal judgement scene. Paul’s teachings on the roll of human beings in the judgement are strengthened by a number of other scriptures.

In Matthew 19:28 we have, “And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”In a similar verse in Luke 22:29-30, he says, “29 And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; 30 That ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” So what can be going on here? John 5: 22, which reads, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son,” seems to suggest that the Son is responsible for the judgement (Acts 17:31 also makes this point), so how do these apostles and ordinary members get involved in it?

A fairly straightforward answer seems to come from Revelation 3:21, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” So if we become joint heirs with Christ (as in Romans 8:17), we will sit in his throne. The idea of judgement proceeding from the throne of God also shows up in Psalms 9:7-8, “But the Lord shall endure for ever: he hath prepared his throne for judgment. 8 And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness.” The moral of all of this seems to be that we should first live peaceably with each other and not cause offenses, but beyond that we should seek and gain wisdom sufficient to make peace and to mediate and resolve disputes. And we’d better get good at it, because, Paul says, this will comprise a portion of our future responsibilities if we are faithful.

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