1 Corinthians 6:1-3. When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!
The Christians of Corinth are grasping for power and control. They are manipulating each other to get what they want. Here in chapter 6 we can see them doing this in two ways: lawsuits and sex. First, the lawsuits.
In the Roman Empire the civil legal system favored the rich and powerful. Bribes and favors for the judge and jury were common. The courts were a place where those of status could have their way. Paul is lambasting this. Should the righteous take their cases before the unrighteous, especially in a legal system that was unjust in the first place? We can hear Paul yelling, “How dare you!”
Here again, as in chapter 5, Paul will use our identity in Christ to challenge us to be what we are.
First, because we are in Christ, and have the indwelling life of Christ in us, we are people of justice, God’s justice. We are his righteousness. His actions of justice are supposed to be performed through us, the church. We are supposed to lift up the poor and powerless. We are supposed to give strength to the weak. We are never supposed to take advantage of anyone, especially a fellow believer. So for Christians to take each other into the Roman courtrooms, places of injustice, in order to manipulate and grasp for even more power and control- How dare you!
Also, because we are in Christ and have the indwelling life of Christ in us, we are ALL JUDGES. Regardless of our status hear on earth, rich or poor, free or slave, male or female, we will judge the world and angels. Says who? Well, the prophet Daniel for one.
Daniel 7:18. But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, forever and ever.’
Revelation 2;26. The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations,
Paul is not just exaggerating. The church will reign and rule alongside Christ. We will all be judges. And if this is true, then shouldn’t we be able to settle non criminal disputes from within the church? That is Paul’s question.
“To live is Christ” means that we are God’s people, and God’s people will judge the world. But until that day we must model for the world what true humanity looks like. Christ in us, makes this possible. He empowers us to love, serve, and carry out justice by loving, serving, and making us just.
By the way, this is not a passage about Christians never using the legal authorities or court system in order to gain justice, especially in criminal cases. This is a passage about Christians taking advantage of each other. It ought not to be so.
Are there any ways that you are grasping for power or control, even within your Christian community? Do you see yourself as having the wisdom to judge other believers? Why or why not? How does the “foolishness” of the cross give you the wisdom to judge others in humility, sacrifice, and equity?