Who are Paul and Apollos? They are servants entrusted to be faithful to God. Paul in his position is most concerned about his own relationship with God: that he has a clear conscience and is faithful in the task entrusted to him. And so in this sense, Paul does judge in the sense of personal reflection (1 Cor 4vs2, 4) but he doesn’t judge in terms of whether human standards. So the question is “what is judging about?” It is obvious there are multiple types/ senses of judgement. So then the key passages are 2:14ff and 5:12ff and 6:2ff – multiple ways to look at what judging is. To be absolutely clear, God is the judge (4:4). And there is an eschatological judgement – in that eschatological judgement there is innocence and guilt – who’s acceptable and who’s not. For that kind of eschatological judgement we have to wait for the appointed time (4:5ff) where God will expose what is in our heart. But for the here and now, Paul judges himself to ensure he is faithful and so we are also to be the same – constantly reflecting on our own relationship to ensure that what God has given us, that we too are faithful and do. Moreover, following from chapter 3, each of us is to make sure that we are building God’s building with materials which are valuable, precious and long-lasting … for God will reveal the quality of our work and our motivations on the last day. Furthermore, there are other things that require judging: vs6 says “do not go beyond what’s written”. We’ve already seen the example of Paul and Apollos and we also see in (2:15) there is using the spiritual wisdom to judge … which has to do with wisdom shaped by the cross (the criteria of judgment). That applies to us but also how our community needs to be shaped and if we do that then the application is 4:6b – not taking pride of one human over another. So if we judge by God’s wisdom then we remember that all we have is given by God – no place for our own pride and also no pride in following other mere humans.
This is also our final week of the SERMINAR in the morning congregations. We will be starting four weeks of SERMINARs next week at the 6pm Service. Also, if you would like a copy of the slides, they are:
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