Sermons

Summary: The “Golden Rule” that should be applied to passing judgment is “Judge not, that ye be not judged.”

October 8, 2012

Commentary on First Corinthians

By: Tom Lowe

Topic #2: The Problem of Divisions, 1 Corinthians 1.10-4.21

Lesson 2.9: The Corinthians and Their Apostles

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 4.5-4.13

1 Cor 4.5-13 (KJV)

5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.

7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

8 Now ye are full, now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might reign with you.

9 For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.

10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.

11 Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace;

12 And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:

13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.

Commentary

5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

As we mentioned in the previous chapter, verses 4 and 5 should probably be considered together, but we have established a policy of unraveling one verse at a time. With that in mind, verse 5 may seem out of place with the other verses in this chapter.

Therefore judge nothing before the time,

Paul says this to prevent rash and hasty judgment, and it agrees with that well known Jewish adage, “be slow in judgment;” not quick to pass sentence; it is best to leave things to the great day of accounting, than to be hasty in finding fault with one another. There is a time "preset" for the awful judgment, which has existed from eternity past, and no man knows what day it is.

Therefore—In view of the danger of being deceived in your judgment, and the impossibility of knowing with certainty the failings of another’s heart.

Judge nothing—Here the apostle instills in them an important lesson; in fact it is one of the most important lessons of Christianity—not to adopt a harsh opinion regarding the conduct of any man, since there are so many things that go into making up his character, which we have no way of knowing, because there are so many secret failings and motives which are all concealed from us. The “Golden Rule” that should be applied to passing judgment is “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matt 7:1; ASV). This statement by our Lord does not necessarily refer a derogatory judgment, nor does it refer to simple judging at all, whether favorable or unfavorable. The context of His comment makes it clear that the thing condemned here is that character trait of looking unfavorably on the character and actions of others, which leads invariably to announcing rash, unjust, and unpleasant judgments against them. No doubt it is the judgments made and declared which Jesus is talking about; but what our Lord aims at is the spirit from which they spring. Only if we steer clear of this obnoxious spirit, can we rightfully sit in judgment of a brother's character and actions. It is the “critical” disposition that violates the law of love, which is what He condemns here. And the argument against it "that ye be not judged"—confirms this: "that your own character and actions not be condemned with the same severity"; that is, at the judgment of the great day.

before the time—God, the righteous Judge, will determine everything at the time appointed for judging all men; therefore judge nothing before that time. It is as if Paul were saying, "You Corinthians act like judges at athletic events, qualified to give some the trophy and to send others away as losers. But Jesus is the only judge, and you are judging before the events are over." Note: Jesus is the One who will judge. If we sit in judgment on someone else, we are taking the Lord’s place. This is why we should not react to insults or criticism by fighting back. God will judge us fairly, and He knows all the facts. (Anyway, we probably know worse things about ourselves than the person who is criticizing us does!)

Copy Sermon to Clipboard with PRO Download Sermon with PRO
Talk about it...

Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!

Join the discussion