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Read Introduction to 1 Corinthians

 

4 “If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? 5I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? 6But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers!”
 
6:4
If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge?
Since the local church makes judgments about things of this life, Paul asks, does it not appoint “those who are least esteemed by the church to judge”? This is biting sarcasm: “Isn’t there a single individual in the entire church who has enough wisdom or judgment to bring these offending parties together?”
 
6:5
I say this to your shame.
“Shame” is a healthy biblical dimension for living. Not only do we need objective guilt (as over against subjective guilt), but we need to be shamed into things at times.
Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren?
It is possible to find an arbitrator or umpire in the local church with wisdom to make a judgment on legal matters. These matters do not require super-legal minds but it does require a person with wisdom. The Corinthian church boasted about their wisdom but they could not find one arbitrator in the whole group!
6:6
But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers!
Some went to the pagan legal system (people devoid of faith) rather than to fellow believers. It was a scandalous testimony. The words “and that” form a climax – that of a Christian going to a pagan court.
PRINCIPLE:
Keep church family disputes within the family.
APPLICATION:
For Christians to run pell-mell to pagan courts casts a pall on Christian testimony. Pagan courts cannot function within the realm of faith. Our root problem is that we demand our “rights,” but if we had our rights we would be in hell by now. The correct approach is for Christians to submit to arbitration with their fellow believers for civil judgments, such as who is at fault in a church parking lot fender bender. When it comes to a criminal matter (child abuse or neglect, spousal abuse), then it must go to a pagan court.
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