Vol. 1 - No. 8 

August, 1982

The Saints Shall Judge The World

by John W. Wilson

"Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?" (1 Corinthians 6:2).

The above verse is set in the midst of Paul's stern admonition to the Corinthian brethren regarding the importance of disciplinary action in the church at Corinth. In the preceding chapter these brethren were tolerating fornication, and such fornication as was not so much as named among the Gentiles; that one should have his father's wife. Paul tells them to judge that wicked person, put him away from among them, and reminded them that he had written them not to keep company with fornicators, nor an idolater, the covetous, the railer, the drunkard, nor the extortioners. He tells them what they obviously did not realize, or want to realize, that a little leaven will leaven the whole lump.

The fifth chapter of first Corinthians does not end the problems of that church. Problems are never ended for any church which continues to condone wickedness. All kinds of related problems can be expected. The wicked will see to that. Brethren were seeking judgment (krinetai) against each other but were being defrauded or robbed of justice before the unjust in the church. Paul warns them against letting themselves be defrauded by the unjust. He tells them that it would be better to suffer wrong than to go before those who are unjust. Then he tells the church that they are defrauding, or denying, their own brethren justice by letting this situation exist. He is still telling them to judge  the unjust or unbelievers by using the wise among them to judge righteous judgment. We can be certain that if the church had heeded Paul's admonition in a former epistle these problems would not have been present. The cases of church discipline which do pertain to this life, (1 Corinthians 6:3) are to be judged by the wise in the wisdom or righteousness of God. These only are qualified to render righteous judgment. ( John 7:24; Matthew 7:3‑5).

Paul asks the brethren why they were unable to judge things pertaining to this life (matters of church discipline) when we shall judge angels. Angels do not pertain to this life and are not subjects of church discipline; yet we shall judge them. I conclude from the study of other scriptures that the angels spoken of here are the spiritual beings, angels, who are in the family of God in heaven; possibly those spirits who have once been a part of the earthly dominion of the family of God. (Hebrews 12:22). These are angels who wear the name of Christ, and who are called saints. (Ephesians 3:15; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; 1 Thessalonians 3:13).

Although we read that the angels who sinned are awaiting the judgment, (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6, and Galatians 1:18) these would not necessarily be those angels who are awaiting the judgment in chains under darkness. It must be noted that judgment does not always mean condemnation. The word of God by which we shall judge the world to be lost will also judge a person to be righteous.

Jesus said, "The words that I have spoken shall judge you in the last day." (John 12:48) We, as saints here in the earthly dominion of the kingdom cannot judge according to what appears to be righteous to us. We must judge by the righteousness of God, the word of God. (John 7:24). For judgment Jesus came into the world, (John 9:39), that we might have the truth, the mind of Christ; by which we are spiritually minded and can judge all things in the spiritual realm. (1 Corinthians 2:15‑16).

I present the above as an incentive to further study on the subject of the Judging of Angels and am open for comments or argumentation from my readers. Personally, I can see no other way in which we shall judge angels. I am certain that those angels who have sinned will come before the same judgment tribunal that I will come before, and shall be judged by the same words by which I am judged. Just exactly what might be the function of angels is a subject for another study.

"Judgment must begin at the HOUSE OF GOD: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel?" (1 Peter 4:17). The House of God is the church. (1 Timothy 3:15). The word of God is used to judge between right and wrong. If we judge things to be wrong in the church with the word of God given unto us; then the same word will judge the world. Why? Because WE preach the gospel, the gospel will either save ‑)r condemn. Those who refuse to obey the gospel will be lost. (2 Thessalonians 1:8). However, if we refuse to judge evildoers in the church, pray tell me what influence we can have in the world with the gospel. Judgment must begin with us. We must keep the church pure. To do this we must be wise unto that which is good and simple concerning evil. We must know how to discern between good and evil by being wise in God's wisdom. (Romans 16:19; Hebrews 5:14).

       The prophet Daniel had a vision in which he saw the kingdom which was to come. He saw the saints take the kingdom and possess it forever; even forever and ever... and when the Ancient of Days came, Judgement was given to the saints of the most High. Daniel 7:13,22). Christ was that Ancient of Days, God in the flesh. (John 1:1).

Christ calls us into that kingdom by his gospel, (2 Thessalonians 2:14) and it is our business to use that gospel to take care of the King's business, the things pertaining to this business in this life in the church. The gospel is that weapon by which we fight a spiritual warfare, (Ephesians 6:10‑17) and Paul tells the Corinthian brethren to be ready to avenge all disobedience with the knowledge of God. (2 Corinthians 10:6). In this respect: THE SAINTS SHALL JUDGE THE WORLD.

I realize that many of my brethren believe that 1 Corinthians chapter six refers to brethren in the church being forbidden to go before the civil courts to settle material matters. I am not trying to advance a new doctrine. I have studied this chapter through the years, and I do not believe that Paul is forbidding two brethren from going before the civil courts to settle a legal matter. There are many rational and scriptural reasons why that I cannot accept that position, but I will dispense with these for now in favor of another article which concerns, "GOING TO LAW AGAINST A BROTHER," at some future date.