February 18, 2018
What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and a spirit of gentleness? [1 Corinthians 4:21]
This is one of the verses in the Bible that supports a pre-millennial dispensational view of end times. “Pre-millennial dispensational” is a term that simply means that the latter days will unfold in this sequence: The rapture of the church, a seven year tribulation, the second coming of Christ, a Millennial reign of Christ upon the earth, and then the Eternal State. This verse [1 Cor 6:2] hones in on Jesus’ Millennial reign. He will return with the “armies of heaven” [Rev 19:14], which are the saints [the church] who were raptured seven years prior. They will return with Jesus as co-administrators of the new world [i.e., the Millennium]. Matt 19:28 and Rev 20:4 are companion verses to 1 Cor 6:2 in this regard.
The specific context in 1 Cor 6 is judging wisely in this world, which the Corinthian saints were having difficulty doing. Paul’s argument was this: If you [the saints] will be the ones entrusted to judge in the Millennium, why are you not able to judge properly in this world? “Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, the things that pertain to this life?”
This puts a proper perspective on settling disputes within the Church. Shall we take disputes before a court of the world? Heaven forbid. Paul has already argued, “the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God,” and “the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” [1 Cor 2:14] So why then would a Christian take another Christian to a worldly court? There are essentially two reasons. Firstly, the one who wronged the other is in sin and has no desire for correction; and secondly the one who was wronged has no desire to “accept wrong” and look past being cheated [ref. 1 Cor 6:7]. The result, therefore, is to go before a secular court of law. But this is not God’s desire.
At first it seems that the person who was cheated has more to lose, but that is not true. The person who did the cheating bears the greater burden. It is because his God is the One whom he must stand before. Yes, the one who was cheated carries a burden, but the one who did the cheating a far greater one. In the end, however, Paul writes that they should work it out among themselves and before other believers rather than taking it before a secular court. This is because the wisdom of the saints is far greater than the wisdom of this world. Or at least it should be.