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In Paul’s letter to the church in Corinth he admonishes them because there were some going before unbelievers to settle their disputes among themselves. Paul found this tremendously out of place. The unjust (unsaved) judge in secular court is not to judge the just (saved); rather, there should have been, Paul said, some among the church who could judge these trivial matters that were besetting the saints. He gives reasons why going to court with a brother is sinful. First, saints will judge the world (6:2). Paul does not state exactly how this takes place, but the fact that it will is a teaching from God. Second, in comparison with such a judgment, matters that pertain to this word are trivial, small (6:2). It may be that one of the parties to litigation may not regard his perspective as small or trivial, but the Lord does. Third, the saints will judge angels (6:3). Again, Paul does not explain this, but declares the fact of it. Fourth, those “least esteemed” (NKJV; “no standing in the church” both NET and ESV), are in no position to judge saints. In other words, those outside the church (secular Judges) have no standing within the church, therefore they should not be judging brethren. Fifth, there surely is a saint, wise man (or men) in the church who can fairly judge (6:5). Sixth, it is a complete failure that brothers would even have these matters unresolved that they would litigate (6:7)! Seventh, and last, it is better to suffer wrong that to “soil” the Lord’s name and church with such small matters (6:7).

Let us not misunderstand. The court system in our society is for the occasion to make right what we suffered as a wrong. It is not sinful for Christians to avail themselves of this avenue of justice. What Paul is addressing is when there exists a problem between brothers, and the saints utilize a system that does not respect God in seeking adjudication (or justice). The saints live by a higher standard (and law) than those of this earth; therefore, let us be judged by the same, by a standard higher than any secular law.

When one thinks about what the Holy Spirit is saying in this chapter—it can be a difficult think to accept. This is especially the case when one thinks about the ease at litigation today, the victim mentality, the selfish mentality, and such like. Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit is clear. Those who don’t see fit to submit to His will, will be sitting amongst those identified in as not inheriting the kingdom of God (6:9-10). Those who think this way may consider such lack of inheritance as trivial, but they won’t!

 

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