Judgments 1 Cor 6: 1-12 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Paul instructed the Corinthians to judge the man committing fornication with his father’s wife in 1 Cor 5. In 1 Cor 5:12, he asked them, “do not ye judge them that are within?” In the context of judging, he then turned his attention to the judgment of legal matters between brethren in the church, the judgment of the joint-heirs with Christ, and the judgment of personal liberties.
Judgment between brethren – 1 Cor 6:1-8 – Paul rebuked the Corinthians for taking their legal matters to court. In 1 Cor 6:1 he said in effect, “How dare you… go to law before the unjust.” The qualifications to serve as a juror or a judge do not include being a child of God [Lk 18:2]. So, God’s children should be judged by “saints,” rather than the “unjust.”
Saints will judge the world [1 Cor 6:2]. At the white throne judgment, we will be standing with the Lord when the books are opened [Rev 20:12-13; Dan 7:9-10; Ps 149:5-9]. So, Paul wrote that if they were going to judge the world, couldn’t they judge something as trivial as a legal matter between brethren? A temporal disagreement is of little importance compared to eternal matters.
Saints will judge angels [1 Cor 6:3]. We are going to be with the Lord when he judges the fallen angels [2 Pet 2:4; Jude 6]. And if we can handle that judgment, we can certainly handle “things that pertain to this life.” That’s what Jesus taught in Matt 18:15-17.
Paul said that the “least esteemed in the church,” [1 Cor 6:4] should handle these matters. In other words, it doesn’t take a person of great renown to judge matters pertaining to this life; they are so insignificant. Any saint can do that. Of course, his comment is sarcastic.
Paul shamed them [1 Cor 6:5] with his comment about the “least esteemed.” So, he asked them, in so many words, “Isn’t there one wise man among you that can judge between his brethren? Can’t somebody settle the matter without going to court?” When brothers go to court, they are putting the decision into the hands of “unbelievers,” [1 Cor 6:6].
Paul said that a brother going to court against a brother is at “fault,” [1 Cor 6:7]. The offended party is better off to “take wrong.” It’s better to be “defrauded” than for brothers to go to court. He admonished the offended parties to “rather suffer.” He was saying, in essence, “Just let it go.” But he also accused those who committed “fraud” against their “brethren,” [1 Cor 6:8]. He said of them, “Ye do wrong.” It’s not right for brothers to defraud one another and it’s not right for those defrauded to seek relief in court.
Judgment of heirs – 1 Cor 6:9-11 – having dealt with the fornicator in 1 Cor 5 and those committing fraud in 1 Cor 6, Paul warned the Corinthians that unrighteousness not only has temporal consequences; it can also have eternal consequences. He said, “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not INHERIT the kingdom of God?”
God’s children, his heirs [Rom 8:16-17], are going to be judged at the judgment seat of Christ [2 Cor 5:10-11; Col 3:24-25]. At this judgment, it is possible to lose your inheritance. The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Being a fornicator, or an idolater, or an adulterer, or effeminate, or an abuser, or a thief, or covetous, or a drunkard, or a reviler, or an extortioner will cause you to lose your inheritance. These things are works of the flesh which deny you an inheritance [Gal 5:19-21; Eph 5:5]. “They that are in the flesh cannot please God,” [Rom 8:8]. We are to “walk in the Spirit, and… not fulfill the lust of the flesh,” [Gal 5:16].
Paul reminded the Corinthians that some of them used to be these things, before they were saved. But they were “washed,” [Titus 3:5; Rev 1:5], “sanctified,” [1 Cor 1:30; 1 Pet 1:2], and “justified,” [Rom 5:1, 9, 18]. So, they weren’t to go back to any of those old sins, particularly fornication [1 Cor 6:18; 1 Thes 4:3; Acts 15:20 and idolatry], as we will see in the next lesson.
Judgment of personal liberties – 1 Cor 6:12 – Since we are under grace and not under the law [Rom 6:15], “all things are lawful.” But just because a thing is lawful doesn’t mean that it is something you should do. How should one decide?
Paul judged his liberty by two standards. He asked, “Is it ‘expedient?’” According to the definition of expedient, “Is it suitable for achieving a particular end in a given circumstance?” That is, is this something beneficial to a person who is washed, sanctified and justified? What effect will this have on my future judgment and potential inheritance?
And he asked, “Will I be ‘brought under the power of’ it?” That is, “Will I have power over this thing or will it have power over me?” Paul kept his body under control [1 Cor 9:27]. He would not let sin reign in his body and have dominion over him [Rom 6:12-14]. Therefore, we should judge our liberty by the same standards.
Conclusion: First, judge matters between brothers in Christ among your Christian peers. Brothers should never go to court against each other. As a Christian, you may be required to go to court in a matter involving a crime, an insurance settlement or a business transaction. But don’t sue a brother in Christ. Second, judge all unrighteousness in your life. Remember that your inheritance with Christ can be lost by unrighteousness. Third, judge your liberty. Don’t jeopardize your inheritance and don’t put yourself in bondage to sin.