Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? (1 Corinthians 6:2–3)
Paul had to directly confront the Corinthian Christians because some among them were suing each other, taking each other court, over matters that Christians should have been able to settle among themselves. It showed immaturity and selfishness among Christians, which made them a bad witness to their pagan neighbors.
In explaining how wrong it was for them to act this way, Paul pointed out that Christians were – or should be – fully capable to judge these matters on their own. After all, Paul noted, the saints will judge the world. Believers shall even judge angels. Christians should be fully able to judge their own matters because of our destiny. As we reign with Jesus Christ, we will (in some sense or another) judge the world, and even judge angels.
The idea of Christians judging angels is fascinating. It does not mean we will sit in judgment of faithful angels, as if we could penalize them for letting us down or not being there for us in a critical time. However, we will have a part in judging evil angels. We can’t exactly say when or how this will happen, but it does remind believers of their glorious future.
The destiny of redeemed men and women – to one day be higher than the angels and to even sit in judgment of them – must greatly annoy a certain high angelic being. He did not want to serve an inferior creature in the present age and did not want that inferior creature to be raised up higher than he in the coming age. So, this high-ranking angel rebelled against God, and remains determined to keep as much of humanity as possible from sitting in judgment of himself. We can imagine the perverse, proud pleasure Satan takes over every soul that goes to hell: “They won’t sit in judgment over me!”
Knowing this leads to a few practical applications. First, Christians should take to heart the importance of solving issues among themselves, without taking things to secular courts. Of course, this doesn’t mean criminal matters, but disputes among believers should be kept out of law courts. There is wisdom among God’s people to decide such things.
Second, take to heart the amazing destiny God has appointed for His people. Redeemed men and women will be so glorified in the age to come that they will judge angels. This is one of the ways God gives His people more in Jesus than they ever lost in Adam’s fall: in some sense raising them above angelic beings. God’s salvation is great in where it lifts His people from, and where it lifts them to. Let your heart rest in that today!
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