1 Corinthians 6:1

The chapter opens abruptly. "Dare any of you" - a strong expression of disapproval - "having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust?" Judaism had taught the Jews not to go before Gentile judges with a lawsuit against their brethren; the Romans had accorded to the Jews the right to settle their disputes among themselves, and Christians at that time might avail themselves of this rule (Lunge). But St. Paul, true to his ruling method, views the matter from Christian ground and treats it solely on the principles of the gospel. The argument in the preceding chapter concerned social relations, the present argument applies to civil relations, and yet they are sympathetic in his mind. Emotion is an associative force, and often establishes or rather discloses connections of ideas not perceptible in the "dry light" of intellect. In both these arguments the underlying sentiment is the same, viz. the dignity of Christian character and the supremacy of its obligations over interest, custom, usage, and every form of self not compatible with the generous spirit of sacrifice "for Christ's sake." Bear in mind, then, in reading St. Paul's Epistles, that if at times you lose the compactness of logic and its tenacious unity, you are always sure to find that more interior tie which binds thought to sentiment and displaces order for the gain of a higher method. Method, rather than order, marks the thinker whose vocation is to instruct the mass of mankind. Saints, as saints exist in the ideal of Christianity, "shall judge the world." They are to rule with Christ, to share his glory, and be acknowledged by the universe as participants in the final triumph of his mediatorial authority. If so, the mediatorial honour in future prospect has a certain scope of present activity, since it could not be then unless it were now. Of the character of these functions and the circumstances incident to their display, what know we? They fall under that law of reserve which the Lord Jesus spoke of when he said, "Of the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power," we are kept ignorant, and are the better for the ignorance. Details of great facts may intensify the intellect of sense, and work damage to the higher mind. If Christ was the Son of man, and as such filled the sphere of humanity, while admitting as such the limitation of his knowledge in one direction, viz. "of that day and hour knoweth no man," surely we need not perplex ourselves as to specific theories bearing on this subject. Christianity lays the stress on intelligence rather than on information, and, in fact, assures us that restraint is essential in our condition to equable development. St. Paul argues from the future to the present; thus, "shall judge the world,... shall judge angels;" and the conclusion is emphasized, - "how much more things that pertain to this life!" On this ground of the spiritual superiority of the saints in Christ, he claims that the judgment of believers may now be most advantageously exercised. It is a training in the school of Christ, and the discipline, while varied, is adapted to the highest good. Does St. Paul mean to put earthly tribunals under the ban? By no means. Again and again he sought their protection against Jews and Gentiles, and, if Roman law had not befriended him, his apostleship as men reason would have had a speedy termination. Who was more explicit and earnest than he in urging the doctrine that human government was a Divine ordinance, and as such to be obeyed and honoured? And who among statesmen and philosophers ever saw as deeply into the nature and functions of sovereignty as an essential element of the idea of man in the scheme of the universe? In law, in its administration of justice, in its protection of persons and property, in its power to verify and conserve the multitudinous interests of society, he recognized the right arm of Providence. The sense of providence must be social no less than individual, must transcend geographical bounds, and embrace the human family as a family of "one blood," or it failed of its office. So, then, he has no issue with law and its adjudications as such. But the uses of the law by Christians; the common and facile resort to it in order to gratify covetousness, pride, ambition, revenge, and any and every form of selfishness; - that is the grave matter before his mind. "There is utterly a fault among you," a weakness, a repudiation of noble sentiment, a departure from the idea of the true self in Christ, "because ye go to law one with another" before unbelievers; brother arrayed against brother; and this exposure of a mutilated unity, with its accompanying evils, made in the presence of men whose criticisms would be only too eager to detect and magnify your imperfections. This is one aspect of the matter. But you gain your rights. Ay, and rights may be purchased too dearly. Go to law and get your rights; and then, as you retire from the seat of judgment, think of what you leave behind you - what losses of sentiment, trust in others, hope of humanity, brotherliness of heart, perchance even integrity and honour. Right and rights, how often they part company, and the one is the burlesque, the shame, the bitter contempt of the other! "Rather take wrong;" it is altogether a manlier thing, if done for Christ's sake. Lord Erskine, when at the bar, once said to Dr. Parr, "Accommodate the difference amicably.... I can scarcely figure to myself a situation in which a lawsuit is not, if possible, to be avoided." This is another aspect of the matter. Alas! there is an aspect yet sadder. Law is used as a means to inflict a wrong. "Ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren." What gigantic wrongs have been perpetrated under the name of law, we all know; but who can tell how far this spirit, which uses justice to accomplish injustice, has gone forth into all the relationships of men, and vitiated life among the sacred retreats of home and the Church? The depravity of man's lower nature is fearful, not because it is cruel and brutal, but because it is continually reinforced and invigorated by the depravity of his higher nature. What is true of the individual in this respect is true also of society. History and our own observation warrant the statement that the grossest perverters of law and justice have been found among those who were wealthy, or in high office, or otherwise influential. Their example, in very many instances, has worked downward, just as certain poisonous gases, too heavy to ascend, have infected the air on a level with us. Then follows a question containing its own answer: "Know ye not that the unjust shall not inherit the kingdom of God?" His impassioned formula, "Be not deceived," introduces a catalogue of immoralities that shut out men from God's kingdom, in which we have a startling revelation, common with St. Paul, of bodily sins. Such were some of you. But how different now! - washed, sanctified, justified, in the Name of Christ, and by the Spirit. Would they fall back into their heathenish practices? Within the compass of a few verses, St. Paul gives us principles that permeate civil society no less than religious. If carried out, we should have much less law and much more equity, and both law and equity would be immense gainers by the change. The tendency of the argument is the thing to notice. That tendency is to give men a true spiritual conception of themselves, and to develop their thought of self in accordance with God's thought of them. The sense of public justice may compel us to resort to law, but this will not conflict with St. Paul's idea. 'On the other hand, any abuse of an institution, whether governmental or domestic, whether ecclesiastical or earthly, is an abuse of manhood, and on this truth he expends the force of his reasoning. In these verses, as in the previous chapters, arguing, denouncing, exhorting, pleading, - it is the voice of a grand doctrine and a lofty trust and a sublime hope that we hear. And we hear it in the midst of strife and turbulence, out of the depths of a heart most sorrowful and yet "always rejoicing," and able to command itself and its faculties and resources whenever and wherever needed. - L.

Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust?
The Greeks were not only quarrelsome, but derived an excitement pleasant to their frivolous nature in going to law. The Christians seemed not to have discarded this taste. St. Paul has been telling them they have nothing to do with judging the heathen; he now proceeds to remind them that they ought not to be judged by them. How could he preach the superiority of Christianity if Christians had so little common sense, so little esprit de corps, that they must call in a heathen to settle their disputes for them? St. Paul's reasons are important.

I. THE SAINTS ARE DESTINED TO JUDGE THE WORLD AND ANGELS. Shall they not then be considered fit to judge little worldly matters of L s. d.?

1. St. Paul meant that ultimately holy men will be at the head of affairs, acknowledged as the fittest to discern between right and wrong. We shrink from such a thought; not, indeed, that we are slow to pronounce judgment upon our fellow-men, but to do so officially, with definite results, seems too heavy a responsibility. But why? If we submit ourselves now to those who have knowledge of law we may well be content to be judged by the perfectly holy by and by.

2. If holiness shall eventually be supreme, it ought now to be regarded as competent to settle the petty disputes which arise among us (ver. 3). The future kingdom of God can only be perfect as its subjects carry into it characters tending towards perfection. The future is not to make us, but we the future. Earth is not heaven only because men decline to make it so. And as all possible differences in heaven will be adjusted by an all-reconciling authority, there ought to be among the heirs of heaven no going to law now.

3. A vast proportion of legal business is created by changes from which the future life is exempt: death, marriage, disasters, &c. It is often in the power of a lawyer to give a man advice which will save his conscience and bring comfort into a family instead of heart-burning and penury. If the legal mind deals with the reality of things, and tries to see what equity requires, and seeks to forward the well-being of men, then surely there is no profession with such opportunities of earning the beatitude of the peacemakers, none in which men may better be prepared for the higher requirements of a heavenly society in which some are made rulers over ten cities.

II. IS THERE NOT A WISE MAN AMONG YOURSELVES? "A wise man" was the technical term for a judge in the Hebrew courts.

1. Among the Jews there was no distinction between Church and State. In the synagogue and by the eldership offenders were both tried and punished. The rabbis said, "He who brings lawsuits of Israel before a heathen tribunal profanes the Name, and does homage to idolatry; for when our enemies are judges (Deuteronomy 32:31) it is a testimony to the superiority of their religion." This idea passed over from Judaism to Christianity. And even a century after Paul's time the rule of the Church was, "Let not those who have disputes go to law before the civil powers, but let them by all means be reconciled by the elders of the Church, and let them readily yield to their decision." And as late as our own day we find an Arab sheikh complaining that Christian Copts come to him, a Mohammedan, to settle their disputes, and "won't go and be settled by the priest out of the Gospels."

2. Did Paul, then, mean that such legal cases as are now tried in our civil courts should be settled by non-professional men? Did he foresee none of the great evils that have arisen wherever Church or State has not respected the province of the other? No one can suppose that this was his meaning. He taught men to submit themselves to the powers that then were, and he himself appealed to Caesar. He had no notion of subverting civil courts, but he would fain have deprived them of much of their practice. He thought it might be expected that Christians would never be so rancorous or covetous but that their disputes might be settled by private and friendly advice. Courts of law are necessary evils, which will be less and less patronised in proportion as Christian feeling and principle prevail.

3. This rebuke is applicable even to a community like our own, in which the courts of law are Christian. It is felt even by nations that if a dispute can be settled by arbitration this is the better way of getting justice done. Christian people may need legal advice; but when two Christians go to law in a spirit of rancour this only proves that their worldliness is stronger than their Christianity

4. But some one will say, "All this is romance." Just as if the world could be regenerated by anything that is not apparently romantic! If a greater good is to be reached, it must be by some way that men have not tried before. And if any one says, "But if there is to be no going to law, we must continually be losers," the reply of a Kincardineshire lawyer might suffice, "Don't go to law if yielding does not cost you more than forty shillings in the pound." And from a different point of view St. Paul replies, "Well, and what though you be losers? The kingdom you belong to is not meat and drink, but righteousness." If a man says, "We must have some redress, when a man takes a coat we must summon him, or he will take our cloak next," St. Paul replies, "It is quite probable that if you act as your Master did, you will be as ill off in this world as He was. But is that any reason why you should at once call Him your Master and refuse to obey His precepts and follow His example?" St. Paul then shows no hesitation about pushing his doctrine to its consequences. He sees that the real cure of wrangling, of fraud, and of war is not litigation, but meekness and unselfishness. The world's remedies have utterly failed. Law is necessary for restraining the expressions of a vicious nature, but is insufficient to remove the possibility of these expressions by healing the nature. This can only be done by the diffusion of unworldliness and unselfishness. And it is Christians who are responsible for diffusing this unworldly spirit.Conclusion.

1. Those laws which are to be our sole rule when we are perfect cannot always be immediately applied now; but there must be a striving towards the perfect state in which there shall be no going to law.

2. Paul knows that the Christian conscience is with him when he declares that men should rather suffer wrong than bring reproach on the Christian name (ver. 9). And yet how little do men seem to take to heart the great fact that they are travelling forward to a state in which nothing uncongenial to the Spirit of Christ can possibly find place!

(M. Dods, D. D.)

A sheep, separated from the flock, was overtaken by a storm. To shelter itself from the rain it crept into a thorny bush, and remained there until the rain had ceased. It had much trouble in getting rid of the thorns. It, however, brought it about after many efforts, and got out from the bush without being wet; but the poor creature lost almost all its wool. A like fate is his who seeks redress in law.

I. IT IS TO DEMEAN CHRISTIANITY BEFORE THE WORLD, which teaches peace, forbearance, unity, love.





(J. Lyth, D. D.)

This the apostle rebukes because —

I. THE CHURCH SHOULD DECIDE ITSELF THE DIFFICULTIES OF ITS MEMBERS. "The saints shall judge the world," i.e., this earth shall be one day a kingdom of God.

1. We cannot tell how, but one day "the kingdoms of this world shall become the kingdoms of our God," &c., and legislation become Christian. And more, a time is coming when statute law shall cease, and self-government supersede all outward or arbitrary law. That will be the reign of the saints. Let us examine the principles of this kingdom which is to be.

1. The supremacy of goodness. The word "judge" does not mean that the saints shall be assessors with Christ at the day of judgment, but that they shall rule the world as Gideon, &c., "judged" Israel. Successively have force, hereditary right, talent, wealth, been the aristocracies of the earth. But in that kingdom to come goodness shall be the only condition of supremacy.

2. The best shall rule. The apostles "shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel," which is not to be taken literally; you lose your time in investigating theories about the restoration of the ten tribes, &c. The spirit of the passage means, and typically expresses, that in that kingdom the best shall rule.

3. That there each shall have his place according to his capacity (see 1 Corinthians 12:28). Each man took his position in the Church according to his gift. Here was a new principle. So in the kingdom to come we shall not have the anomalies which now prevail. Men are ministers now who are only fit to plough; men are hidden now in professions where there is no scope for their powers. But it shall all be altered there. These are the things that must be hereafter. And it is only in such a belief that human life becomes tolerable.

4. This is the future destiny of the Church. Are these principles, thou, to be altogather in abeyance now? In the highest spiritual matters the Church shall decide hereafter. Therefore, in questions now of earthly matters, Paul argues, the least esteemed among them should be able to decide. "I speak to your shame; where are your boasted teachers? Can they not judge in a matter of paltry quarrel about property?"(1) Let us not, however, mistake the apostle. He did not mean to say that the Corinthians should have ecclesiastical instead of civil courts. The question here is not between ecclesiastical and civil, but between law and equity, litigation and arbitration. The difference between the worldly court of justice and the Christian court of arbitration is a difference of diametrical opposition. Law says, You shall have your rights; the spirit of the true Church says, Defraud not your neighbour of his. Law says, You must not be wronged: the Church says, It is better to suffer than to do wrong.(2) And now, Can any principle but this heal the quarrels of the world? While one holds out as a matter of principle, the other appeals to law, and both are well assured of their rights, what must be the end? "If ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another." Whereas if we were all Christianised, and ready to endure injuries, law would be needless — there would be no cry of "my rights." You will say, perhaps, "But if we bear, we shall be wronged." You forget if all felt thus there would be no wrong. There is no remedy for the world's miseries but the cure of its selfishness. Men have attempted to produce a peaceful and just state of society by force, by law, by schemes of socialism, and all have failed, must fail. There remains, then, nothing but the Cross, the Spirit of Him who conquered the world by being the victim of its sin.

II. IT CONTRADICTS THE CHARACTER OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD. A true kingdom of Christ should be altogether free from persons of this character. His argument runs thus: — "You ask me how quarrels are to be decided except by law; how the oppressed are to be freed from gross oppressors, except by an appeal to legal justice? I answer, the Church does not include such persons in the idea of its existence at all. The Church consists of men washed, sanctified, justified, &c. I cannot tell you how to legislate for drunkards, revilers, &c., for such ought not to be in your society at all. This is what you were as heathens; this is not what you are to be as Christians." St. Paul insists on man's dignity.

(F. W. Robertson, M. A.)

evil of: —


1. By subjecting it to an earthly tribunal.

2. By denying the competence of Christian men to judge in the smallest matters.

3. By ignoring the dignity which Christ has conferred upon His saints.

4. By putting Christ's cause to shame before unbelievers.


1. Would often be spared by concession, by a little sacrifice of personal right, although this must have its limits.

2. Is usually occasioned by a selfish desire to overreach another; which —

(1)Is opposed to brotherly love.

(2)Excludes a man from the kingdom of God.

(3)Makes the grace of Christ of none effect.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

I. Why? Because it is inconsistent with —

1. Their profession (ver. 1).

2. Their dignity (vers. 2, 3).

3. Self-respect (vers. 2, 3).

II. How? (vers. 4-6).

1. By not appealing to a worldly tribunal; this occasions reproach.

2. By referring the matter to Christian brethren; that will bring honour.

3. By abstaining from open strife.

III. IN WHAT SPIRIT? The spirit of love, which —

1. Excludes selfishness.

2. Prefers patient sacrifice to contention.

3. Gives no just occasion of offence.

IV. ON WHAT GROUNDS? (vers. 9-11). Because every act of unrighteousness —

1. Must exclude a man from the kingdom of God.

2. Encourages self-deception.

3. Is totally opposed to all Christian experience.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

A very learned judge was once asked what he would do if a man owed him ten pounds and refused to pay. His reply was worth remembering. He said, "Rather than bring an action against him, with its costs and uncertainty, I would give him a receipt in full of all demands; yes, and I would send him five pounds over, to cover all possible expenses."

Lord Erskine, when at the bar, and at the time when his professional talents were most eminent and popular, having been applied to by his friend Dr. Parr for his opinion upon a subject likely to be litigated by him, after recommending the doctor "to accommodate the difference amicably," concluded his letter by observing, "I can scarcely figure to myself a situation in which a lawsuit is not, if possible, to be avoided."

Dr. Miner, of Trenton, N.J., who was formerly a pastor at Springfield, relates that when Abraham Lincoln was practising law in that city a farmer went to him to secure his services in a lawsuit pending between himself and a neighbour. Lincoln said, "Now if you go on with this it will cost both of you your farms, and will entail an enmity that will last for generations, and perhaps lead to murder. The other man has just been here to engage me. Now I want you two to sit down in my office while I am gone to dinner, and talk it over and try to settle it. And to secure you from any interruption I will lock the door." He did so, and he did not return all the afternoon. The two men, finding themselves imprisoned, burst out laughing, and being thus put in good humour, came to a settlement before Mr. Lincoln returned. The example may be commended to the attention of Christians.

Mr. Oatts remarks: "Peter the Great frequently visited the magistrates in the various cities of his vast empire without giving them any previous warning of his intention. Having in this way arrived at the city of Olonez, he went first to the governor and inquired of him how many suits were pending in the Court of Chancery. "None, sire," was the reply. "What! none? How does that happen?" "Sire, I endeavour to prevent lawsuits, and to conciliate the parties. I act in such a way that no traces of quarrels remain on the archives. If I be wrong your indulgence will excuse me." "Wrong! No. I wish," exclaimed the Czar, "that all governors would act on your principle. Go on as you are doing. God and your sovereign are both satisfied." The work of every child of God should be that of a peacemaker, reconciling man to God, and man to his fellow man.

Do ye not know
The apostle condemns their going to law, and would have them cease their quarrels one against another before the unjust and unbelievers, and that by four arguments. First, by the shamefulness of it (ver. 5). "I speak it to your shame." Are you such fools that you cannot take up these matters among yourselves? Secondly, from the scandalousness of it. It is a thing so scandalous and offensive to those that are without that I wonder any of you dare be so bold as to go to law one with another. What will the world think? What! Are these the men that profess the gospel? Are these they that have the wisdom of God in them and that are led by the Spirit of God? Thirdly, from the unseemliness of it in the second verse. Do you not know that the saints shall judge the earth? What! hath God made you judges of the world, and do you go to be judged by the world? Fourthly, from the strangeness of it. Dare any of you? What! is there never a wise Christian amongst you? never an understanding professor, that is able to take up a controversy, or judge between his brethren? What a strange thing this is! Then he backs it with four arguments.

1. Because they were brethren (ver. 6).

2. Because it was about things of this life. What! hath God made you judges of heavenly things, of angels, and are you unfit to judge of the things of this life?

3. It was about small matters (ver. 2), whereas you shall sit upon men and angels, and the weightiest matters in the world, the greatest things of God's law, judging them.

4. And lastly, because it was about such things as the meanest Christian in the town might have taken up and have ended: set up them that are least esteemed. Do you not know that the saints shall judge the world? The doctrine is, that the saints shall judge the world. It is an old truth, yea, as old as the world itself: you may read it in the fourth verse of Jude's epistle. That Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied saying, Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints. God will not only come to judgment Himself, but He will come attended with all His saints, even with all the godly, to execute vengeance upon all the world, so our Saviour told St. Peter (Matthew 9:18). How shall the saints judge the world? Not by pronouncing of judgment upon the world, for that Christ only shall do.But the saints shall judge the world these four ways.

1. They shall judge the world by their consent unto Christ's judgment. God trains up His children in this world and teacheth them how they may judge the world hereafter; He teacheth them in this life how to assent with His proceedings in the world, so that they are able to say, "Righteous art Thou, O Lord, and just are Thy judgments" (Psalm 119:137). Now the law saith that consenters are agents, and therefore because the saints shall consent to the judgment of Christ, therefore they are said to judge the world.

2. The saints shall judge the world by their applause of Christ's judgment; they shall not only give consent unto the judgment of Christ, but they shall also commend it. They shall sing, "Hallelujah, salvation, and honour, and power, be to the Lord our God, for true and righteous are His judgments" (Revelation 19:1, 2). Let the wicked go accursed as they are, for it is a righteous sentence passed on them.

3. They shall judge the world by their majesty. Then shall the righteous shine as the stars in the firmament, and the wicked shall be astonished at the sight of them.

4. They shall judge the world by their lives and conversation. Then is the world judged by them when as the courses and manners of the world are not found upon them.Their faith shall judge the world's infidelity; their repentance shall judge the world's impenitency; their accepting of the Lord Jesus shall judge their rejection and neglect of Christ Jesus; their zeal shall judge the world's lukewarmness, and their holiness shall judge the world's profaneness.

1. Because of the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and His saints. He is the Head and they are His members. Now that which the head doth we ascribe it to the whole body. Secondly, in regard of compassion. I speak not of pity bait of compassion, of suffering with Christ, seeing that Christ was reproached, hated, and condemned by the world, the saints are likewise with Him; seeing they partake of the afflictions of Christ here they shall also be made partakers with Christ in His glory. Thirdly, for great terror to all wicked men at the day of judgment; for as it is with a thief, not only when the judge shall command to hang him, but all the justices and all the country shall cry out, Hang him! he is judged the more terribly. Fourthly, the saints shall judge the world because God shall so convince them that their mouth shall be stopped, they shall have never a syllable to excuse themselves withal when they shall see men as themselves are, that have lived in the same town, enjoyed the same ordinances of God, lived in the same family that did partake of the same blessings and of the same crosses and afflictions with themselves, subject also to the same corruptions and sins as themselves, when they shall see these at Christ's right hand. The first use, then, is for instruction, whereby we may learn that the saints by their now being saints do now judge the world (Hebrews 11:7). Secondly, this teacheth us that when there is one sinner converted from the wickedness of his ways, and is become a saint, then all the world may know that there is a new judge come to sit upon them. It may be God hath converted thy brother and sister, and thou art not converted, thy own brother and sister shall condemn thee if thou do not repent and come out of thy sins. Thirdly, we may learn that it concerns all the world to take notice of every grace in God's children. There is never a grace of God in any of His saints, but it shall condemn the world if it be void of it. The ways of the Lord are all judgments, because they judge them that will not walk in them. You may know a crooked thing by laying it to a straight line, and by that it is judged to be crooked. Is the child of God humble? His humility shall judge thy pride. Is the child of God meek and patient in suffering wrong and injuries? His meekness and patience shall judge thy revenge. Hath the child of God the spirit of prayer given him? It shall condemn thee that prayest only with thine own spirit. Doth his speech and communication administer grace to the hearers? It shall condemn thee that speakest of vain and idle things. Fourthly, learn hence, that all the texts of Scripture, all the whole Word of God, that is it that begets these saints; and therefore they must needs judge the world. The Scriptures are called judgments (Psalm 105:5), and our Saviour saith, "The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge you in the last day" (John 12:48). Fifthly and lastly, hence it follows, that all the ministers of the Word of God shall also judge the world. Son of man, wilt thou judge the bloody city? "Yea, thou shalt show her all her abominations" (Ezekiel 22:2). This, then, serves to condemn three sorts of men in the world. First, all those that despise the saints, and that see not amiableness in their faces. All the country doth reverence the face of the judge when he rides his circuit.

2. Shall the saints judge the world? Then what fools are the wicked that prepare not for these judges! When the judge comes to an assize all men prepare for him. Lastly, it condemns all those who do not see glory and majesty in the faces of God's saints. There is majesty in the face of a judge; yea, a man may discover in them a kind of sovereign majesty.Surely the wicked shall never escape condemnation, for —

1. God the Father, who judgeth by way of authority, He will condemn thee; all judgment cometh originally from Him.

2. God the Son, He will judge thee, who judgeth by way of dispensation (Acts 10.). First, Christ preacheth to thee repentance and remission of sins, to which if thou yield not, then know that there is a day appointed wherein He will judge thee.

3. God the Holy Ghost will judge thee; that Spirit that now thrives with thee.

4. The Word of God shall judge thee, and that by way of form, it being the platform according unto which Christ will judge the whole world. There is never a text throughout the whole Scripture that commands you to leave and forsake your sins, but it shall judge you if you do not.

5. All the ministers of God shall sit as justices in common, from the first preacher of righteousness unto the last; Moses shall judge thee. Joshua, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Daniel, Paul, Peter, &c., they shall judge you. There will be no way for the wicked to put off their judgment; then the sons of Eli shall have none to advocate between God and them, none to cloak their wickedness. Would they send out excuses? The saints shall cut them off. Would they in the first place say, Alas! I was ignorant, I knew not how to pray, or to read, or to meditate on the Scriptures, nor to catechise my family? A second excuse is poverty. I have no means to live on; if I should run after sermons I should beg my bread. Thirdly, they shall have no excuse by employment. I am a servant, I am commanded to do this or that, I find so much business to follow that I cannot find any time for such things. Fourthly, they shall have no excuse from their callings and trades. I am an innkeeper, and if I should not suffer drinking and swearing and gaming I should not live. Another faith: I am a tradesman, and if I should ask at first just so much as I could take, I should never bring customers to my price, and so I should not live of my trade. Fifthly, they shall have no excuse from the times they live in. Alas (saith one)! I live in wretched times, all the world is given to sin. This, then, first condemns all unholiness in the lives of them that be saints. Beloved, if we did but live like the saints of God in holiness and purity the Lord would put such splendour upon us that would even daunt the very face of our enemies and make them stand amazed at saints. Secondly, this condemns the little difference that is betwixt the wicked of the world and some saints in their lives and manners. Beloved, is there so little difference between the judge and the prisoners that any one need to come and say, "I pray you, sir, show me which is the judge and which is the malefactor"? Thirdly, it condemns the scandalousness of many professors in their behaviours and actions.

(W. Fenners.)

The apostle seems to refer to something in Christian doctrine well known then, but very obscure now. He asks with a tone of surprise, "Do not ye know?" We always look forward to being judged, not to judging others, and if the words stood alone, indeed, we might think that they only spoke of "judging" in the sense of "condemning" by contrast or example, as the men of Nineveh the generation in Which Christ lived. But this reference to future judgment does not stand alone (see Daniel 7:22; Matthew 19:28; Revelation 20:4; Revelation 2:26). Looking to all that is said about the judgment to come, I suppose that Christians will first be judged according to the new nature of which they have been made partakers, and the new light which has been accorded to them; that afterwards the heathen "world," according to other standards and other necessities; and that in this judgment the saints will bear a part. Now, if it be so, does it not anticipate a frequent difficulty, the eternal fate of the heathen? Know this, thou shalt be consulted concerning these very heathen, if only thou be found worthy as a Christian. Only live as it becometh saints, and no sentence shall be passed without thy consent, or contrary to thy sense of justice, for the saints shall judge the world. The saints are also to judge angels, bad angels; for it does not appear how the others would be liable to any judgment at all. If it be asked why this should be so, it may be replied that their probation and fate has ever been mixed up with our own. In the days of our Lord they found a solace and a certain fierce joy in possessing themselves of the bodies of men, and only abandoned them at His almighty word. And these are now finally cast down to Tartarus and reserved under chains of darkness for the judgment of the last day. Contemplating their long connection in guilt and degradation with us children of men, shall we wonder if their final sentence also shall not be passed without us?

(R. Winterbotham, M. A.)

Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another.
The word may mean —

1. A moral defeat sustained by the Christian soldier in his campaign and spiritual march for the heavenly prize of the kingly crown and judicial throne.

2. The loss or damage to the Church, more litigant than militant in the eyes of observant heathendom.

(Canon Evans.)

indicate a want of —

1. Brotherly love.

2. Christian sacrifice.

3. Christian morality.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

Why do ye not rather take wrong?

1. This is evident where brethren sue each other.

2. Even the party wronged should rather yield than encourage strife and hatred.

3. To press his cause before the world is to dishonour Christ.


1. It breeds selfishness, wrong, fraud.

2. And that among brethren.

(J. Lyth, D. D.)

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