“Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases?” (I Corinthians 6:2 NIV)
In reading Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth, we see him addressing the difference between the “worldly judges” and “God’s people as judges” within the body of Christ. Of course there is a vast difference between the protocols of court systems then and now, but the gist of the matter is that Christians should not become embroiled in disputes so serious that they cannot be resolved within the body. This is based upon the presumption that Christians will do no wrong and thereby have no need to be brought into court.
The presumption that Christians will do no wrong is certainly not true today and many infractions that occur in the church can only be handled as a legal matter with a worldly judge–in some instances, judges whose behavior demonstrate they do not know God.
Why are Christians involved in legal matters and being sent to jail? Worldliness–secularism–abject rejection of wanting to please God–has led to the down fall of many who proclaimed to be Christians. Well-known leaders have fallen because of their notoriety; especially those who humiliated and condemned in public forums those who were caught up before them. Not soon after their public condemnation, they found themselves in the middle of similar types of trouble. When we point fingers at people–knowing we’re doing the same things–we can only look forward to the finger pointing that is bound to come our way. “Don’t judge a matter that will judge you in the same manner for the same thing” (paraphrased) Paul reminded the church in Rome.
So what matters are we to judge? If we continue in the same chapter with Paul, he tells us that we are to judge our angels, so we should certainly be able to judge trivial matters that arise in the church. In another passage of scripture, we are told not to associate with a brother or sister-in-Christ who sins.” In other words, we have a duty to bring acts that are in opposition to God to the forefront, but we are not to judge the person–that is God’s role. We have neither heaven or hell to which to send people. When people oppose God, they will endure God’s judgment, not man’s (unless it is a legal matter concerning violation of man’s laws).
What does this mean? We identify and call what is sin, “sin” and leave the worldly matters and the people to their own destruction. “For the wages (payment due for sin) of sin, is death.”
Lord, help us to understand You better and to serve You with gladness, with nothing but love in our hearts for You and others. Thank You for providing us with an advocate Who intercedes on our behalf when we fall short and come before You seeking forgiveness, after we have repented of anything that opposes You. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!