Paul Condemns the Corinthians for taking their Judgments before the Unjust
1 Corinthians 6:1-8 Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life? So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren, but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers? Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren. NKJV
Paul now turns his tone away from commanding them to judge “one another” righteously to his condemnation of them allowing the “unjust” to sit in judgment over disputes these believers are having one with another. After Paul was extremely angry (righteous anger) over their envy and strife among each other which caused them to be divided, he affirmed this by asking these questions earlier on in this epistle or letter, “What do you desire? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love and a spirit of gentleness?” (1 Corinthians 4:21), he now expresses the same “righteous anger” over the folly they are demonstrating in their inability to settle disputes within their fellowship as our Lord Jesus so clearly commanded with these words, “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst” (Matthew 18:15-20).
It is our Lord Jesus’ Command to these Corinthian believers and to us today that all sinful disputes between brothers and sisters in “His Mystical Body” be resolved internally, or in house, or within the family because He declares in this passage of Scripture that He will always be present presiding over all of those matters to make sure the injured party is satisfied and the injurious offender (if he or she be repentant) be forgiven, then cleansed spiritually, and then restored to his or her rightful place and the relationships be mended or healed. Paul inclining himself to be submissive to the Spirit of God only responds as he does because his response was really God the Father responding through him abhorring or detesting their lack of understanding. Paul now wants the eyes of their understanding to be opened up fully to who they are in Christ. Paul wants them to understand not only the tremendous love they have been shown and the grateful honor they have been granted to be now called God the Father’s children, but along with that great love and honor given to them also comes an even greater responsibility presently as they continue to sojourn on the earth and awaiting them (and us) when our Lord Jesus Christ comes to Judge the earth.
How the born again believer in Christ Jesus our Lord will render judgment over the whole world and especially over angels is beyond my comprehension, but it is a fact and reality that stares steadfastly at these Corinthians and to every one of us today. Paul rebukes their incompetence in being able to settle these sinful disputes internally by asking them the following questions, “Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life? So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church?” (1 Corinthians 6:2-4). Paul declares these truths to them to “shame” them so that they would as we said in the last study “awake out of their spiritual sleep” and remember who they belong to now as Paul said so directly to them earlier in this very same epistle or letter with these words, “But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:15-16).
These believers in Corinth had become so confused about what it means to be a “follower of Jesus Christ” that they did not either understand the awesome responsibility they had nor did they understand the inherent power that belonged to them by virtue of their union with our Lord Jesus Christ. To have the “mind of Christ” is to never seek counsel from the ungodly nor stand in the path of sinners (Psalms 1:1), but to rely firmly on the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide and direct our paths by God the Father’s Eternal Holy Word. Paul ask this question, “Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren, but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers?” (1 Corinthians 6:5-6) as if he already knew that there was someone “in their midst” capable, compassionate, and competent to rule righteously in the matter of these disputes, in fact according to Paul these trivial disputes (in the light of judging the world and angels) should not have ever been allowed to grow into such grievous conflicts if the words of our Lord in Matthew 18:15-20 would have been obeyed. Paul spoke all of these words to their shame as he said because in reality they went to the courts of the unbelievers to get the matters settled because they were themselves acting and living just like the ungodly unbelievers in their midst. This was no doubt a result of what Paul confronted at the very beginning of his epistle or letters the envy, strife, and divisions that had set up camp in the Corinthian Church.
“They brought the matter before the heathen magistrates: they went to law before the unjust, not before the saints (1 Corinthians 6:1), brought the controversy before unbelievers (1 Corinthians 6:6), and did not compose it among themselves, Christians and saints, at least in profession. This tended much to the reproach of Christianity. It published at once their folly and unpeaceableness; whereas they pretended to be the children of wisdom, and the followers of the Lamb, the meek and lowly Jesus, the prince of peace. And therefore, says the apostle, ‘Dare any of you, having a controversy with another, go to law, implead him, bring the matter to a hearing before the unjust?’ Note, Christians should not dare to do anything that tends to the reproach of their Christian name and profession.” Matthew Henry
“The Apostle was clearly of the opinion that it was wiser for a Christian to bear injustice and wrong than to go to law before a heathen tribunal. It would have been a happy solution of myriads of disputes if his advice had been followed. Where a course of lawless crime has to be arrested in the interests of the weak and defenseless, it is necessary to call in the law and police to vindicate and protect; but when our private, personal and individual interests alone are concerned, we should be wise to submit our case to arbitration or suffer patiently.” F. B. Meyer
“The Corinthian Church had so divided itself being filled with envy and strife that the men and women in the Church seemed to not even regard one another as brothers and sisters, but instead as adversaries that needed to be conquered instead of as our Lord Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…