Lent Devotional: 1 Corinthians 6:1-11

by Jonathan Haefs

1 Corinthians 6:1-11 (click here)
When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? 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? (1 Corinthians 6:1-2)

Yesterday, we saw that we are not to judge one another in the sense of condemning each other because only God, the ultimate judge, has that right (click here to read yesterday’s devotional). However, our text today seems to indicate the exact opposite?

Apparently we are supposed to judge one another because we will be involved in the final judgment alongside God! What is going on?

Paul is not confused. He wrote the text we read yesterday and the one we are reading today…and he means them both! The judgment that Paul is endorsing in 1 Corinthians 6 is not the judgment of condemnation, but of accountability and holiness before the world.

As Christians, we do not ultimately belong to the kingdoms of this world, but to the kingdom of God. The world should be able to see the difference and one of the ways we display the difference is in how we handle conflicts within our community.

We do not viciously drag one another to court with lawsuits. No. We submit ourselves to the church leadership God has placed in our lives, seek Biblical wisdom from leaders, and try to settle our disagreements with grace and mercy and forgiveness being extended to one another. In short, we try to put gospel grace on display!

Why do we do this? Because we believe that ultimately the kingdom of God will prevail!…that we will be granted to rule with God on his throne (Rev 3:21) as we were intended to do in the original creation (Gen 1:28). We believe that the kingdom of the world will be judged and come to an end.

When we refuse to drag each other underneath the judgment of this world’s legal system, but instead submit ourselves to the leadership of the church, we are making a statement about which kingdom we ultimately belong to, which kingdom has true authority, and which kingdom will last.

All of this does not mean that Christians will never end up in a court of law. There are a million different scenarios to be considered and some will have to be settled by the state. What this does mean, is that when you have two Christians who are a part of the same local body and both are willing to submit themselves to the leadership that God is providing through that church…then they should seek to settle matters within the church as a witness to who their ultimate authority is…namely Christ!

In the kingdom of God, we hold each other accountable not through condemnation, but through love that longs to see every believer find full joy in Jesus.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.