Radical Stuff

Hovering over the first part of 1 Corinthians 6 this morning. Some pretty radical stuff here. Not sure what to do with it except to just observe it. As for applying it? Did I mention it was kind of radical?

We’re gonna judge the world. Yup, you read that right, “the saints will judge the world” (1Cor. 6:2a). What’s more, our “jurisdiction” won’t be restricted to earth alone. “We will judge angels” too (6:3a). Pause. Consider. Meditate.

What manner of people will we be when God’s saving, sanctifying work is complete and our union with Christ is without competition of the flesh? People who, in Christ and with Christ, are able to judge matters of heaven and earth, that’s what manner.

But while this is mind-blowing to think about, this isn’t the radical part. In fact, Paul just mentions it matter-of-factly in order to emphasize something else that the saints — those in the church, a local body of believers — should be judging. And that, right here and right now.

If any of you has a dispute against another, how dare you take it to court before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Or don’t you know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the trivial cases? Don’t you know that we will judge angels—how much more matters of this life? So if you have such matters, do you appoint as your judges those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame! Can it be that there is not one wise person among you who is able to arbitrate between fellow believers? Instead, brother goes to court against brother, and that before unbelievers!

(1Corinthians 6:1-6 CSB)

Those who have no standing in the church . . . that’s where these believers were going for the wisdom to settle their disputes. That was their default, go to course of action. Those with no standing in the church . . . that’s who they took their cues from. And Paul says, it’s “to your shame.”

But try and imagine in our current culture a world where something comes up (a pretty serious something) between a couple of folks at church and they recognize the authority of the church to such an extent that they look there to settle the matter. What’s more, they submit to someone in the church to act as arbiter between them who will settle things. Just try and imagine that. Noodle on the implications. And tell me that isn’t radical.

In light of their future sanctified reality, says Paul, the saints at Corinth should have been living out some present sanctified realities. But they wouldn’t. Or they couldn’t — maybe there wasn’t “one wise person”, one mature believer, among them (see 1Cor. 3:1-4). But even if there were, would they dare to model something of their future reality by placing their present prosperity in the hands of those whose primary credential was that they had “standing in the church”?

A judge behind the bench, or a wise brother in pew? Who you gonna turn to? A lawyer with a well-known firm, or a sister with a well-worn bible? Who you gonna seek counsel from?

Like I said, I’m not exactly sure what the application is, but somehow, I think the observation is worth chewing on.

Whatever the church is to be, it’s a pretty big deal in the kingdom of heaven’s economy. How ever the saints are to function, it’s only gonna happen by faith as we trust the Head of the Church to know best what leads to living into the implications of our salvation — not just as individuals but as a community.

Not because we’re superstars. But because we have standing in the church of God and wisdom according to the word of God.

Radical stuff? I’m thinkin’ . . .

Only by His grace. All for His glory.

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