114. Saints will judge.
'Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you know that we will judge the angels? How much more the things of this life?' (1 Corinthians 6:2-4) The context of this charge to the saints in Corinth, was the dispute that happened between believers and it was taken to court for arbitration by unbelievers. (Vs 6) Therefore, Paul lashed out against them saying, "If any of you have a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgement instead of before the saints? ... Is it possible that there is nobody among you is wise enough to judge a dispute between believers?" (Vs 1,5) To judge believers is not to condemn but to discern who has the approval of God. Luke records in the book of Acts the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas, strange as it might seem! 'They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord.' (Acts 15:39-40) The Church stood with Paul because they judged him to be right. 'No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God's approval.' (1 Corinthians 11:18-19) Whenever there is a dispute or disagreement between believers, the Church ought to discern what is right, instead of thinking that it is not their concern. 'The spiritual man makes judgement about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgement.' (1 Corinthians 2:15) Paul boldly exercised this duty of the saint. For instance, there was a case of incest in the Corinthian church ( 1 Corinthians 5:1) but the believers there not only failed to judge the sin, but felt proud that they were so tolerant! 'And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?' (Vs 2) But Paul didn't shy away from judging the man, for he wrote: 'I have already passed judgement on the one who did this ... hand this man over to Satan , so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.' ( vs3-5)
The modern day believer seems to be hesitant to judge the sin within the Church, to play it safe, because he has this sacred command to quote: "Do not judge or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you." ( Matthew 7:1-2) Fair enough! But the intent of that command was never to tolerate sin. Our reluctance to judge sin could be our evil intent to excuse our own sins! But God expects the believer to judge so as to condemn sin among believers, though not the believer himself, for he will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames. (1 Corinthians 3:15) We are quick to condemn the sin of unbelievers but are tolerant of the sin of believers, but it should have been the other way around! Paul was not tolerant of sin among believers, for he wrote: 'But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral, greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.' ( 1 Corinthians 5:11-13) Amen.