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1 Corinthiens 4 : 5
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MEDITATION du 14 Juin 2022
“What are the manners that people should absolutely have”
—1 Corinthians 4:5
Today’s meditation is on the text of 1 Corinthians 4:5.
This text says: “Therefore, do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness, and will disclose the purposes of the heart; and then each one will receive his commendation from God.”
Considering only this verse, the manner or behavior required of a Christian is not to judge, or rather not to judge anything. However, taken in the context of this text, there are several other ways required as attitude, character, or behavior of people.
In addition to the question of behavior, there is also the question of “to whom is this text addressed?” and “for what purpose?” We will develop these elements before concluding.
a) To whom are these recommendations addressed? To Christian members of the local assembly who are spiritual and governmental leaders.
Paul addresses the church in Corinth. He reproaches the Christians for the divisions that characterize them (from chapter 3). Without addressing the previous aspects of his exhortation, in chapter 4, verse 5, Paul exhorts the Christians of Corinth not to judge before the time.
Today, Paul’s exhortation is addressed to Christians who are members of local churches wherever they are in the world. This exhortation is also addressed to Christian leaders, whether ecclesiastical or governmental.
Christians today are very much like those in the church of Corinth. We, members of AFReG, are particularly concerned by this message.
When Paul explains himself (e.g., in verses 3 and 4), we can feel that he is also concerned by the message – verse 3: “But it is a small thing to me I am judged by you…I am not even a judge of myself,” v.4 “For it is the Lord who is my judge.”
Thus, the text of chapter 4 is aimed at both Christians, members of local assemblies on the one hand, and the leaders of these, presented in verse 1 as servants of Christ and dispensers of the mysteries of God.
In application of this, as members of AFReG, this text concerns us in more than one way, notably as Christians, members of local assemblies, whatever their denomination, as church leaders, leaders of political and governmental affairs, leaders in civil administrative affairs, and leaders in economic affairs, etc. And that is what AFReG is all about.
Thus, the people we are to be, whatever our status or function, are Christians characterized by the virtues Paul mentions in this text, but also leaders of service, that is, leaders in the service of Christ dispensing the mysteries of God, i.e., Christ divinely born, Christ dead and risen, and Christ who will return for the redemption of the world. The transformation of our loved ones and the world depends on it.
b) What are the manners, characteristics, or behaviors that we should reflect on?
1. Verse 5: “Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time…” This attitude means not to judge and even suggests that there is an appropriate time to judge. “It is therefore forbidden to judge others because everything we have, we have received” (v.7). By judging others, we consider ourselves superior to them and make ourselves proud. In this way, we add problems and conflicts to the world.
The lesson behind this is to have humility, because humility makes us see our own faults in a big way and allows us to consider others rightly and even superior to us.
Furthermore, the notion of not judging “before the time” means that there is a kind of presumption of innocence, a benefit of the doubt in favor of the people we want to judge. This implies that our judgment may be immature, premature, incomplete, and unfair. We may not have seen, observed, or understood properly the attitude of the people we are judging.
Finally, verse 4 at the end designates the person who is competent to judge: it is the Lord. Who am I to judge others? We are the sheep of His pasture and as Shepherd, it is His job to judge the member of the sheep who is weak, who is strong, who is sick, who is in danger, and who then leads him in green pastures and still waters. Brothers and Sisters, this is a difficult lesson, considering our daily lives, from sunrise to sunset, from January to December of each year. How often have we sinned by judging others, our fellow human beings? How many times have we crushed the sheep of our sheepfold by our arrogance and pride in not showing humility and service leadership?
May God grant us grace so that we may be characterized by humility in our churches, organizations, institutions, services, etc., a motive not to judge, thanks to the fullness of the Holy Spirit. After all, as Proverbs 18:12 says, “humility comes before glory and pride before a fall.”
2. Other characteristics are taken from this text. As members of AFReG, the other virtues that should characterize us are the following:
- Serving Christ;
- Dispense the mysteries of God;
- Being faithful.
We must serve Christ at all times, favorable or not, with or without a title in society, but above all by using our place in it to serve the Master, the community and the nation. Leadership according to the model of Jesus Christ is service leadership.
In the way we serve Christ, the focus remains on proclaiming the mysteries of God: Christ the Son of Man and the Son of God, Christ who died and rose again, and Christ who will return to restore all things at the end of time.
Therefore, in all that we do, we must be faithful, i.e., honest, upright, just, and truthful, reflecting truth and light in the world. If in our local assemblies, ecclesiastical and governmental leadership and therefore AFReG members are people of this profile, then the transformation of society becomes obvious in the short term. The truth to be drawn from our days (this period) of Pentecost, is that only the Holy Spirit can enable us to live those values which flow from the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22) and which constitute its fruit.
As it says in Chapter 3 verse 1 of 1 Corinthians, we must reflect the character of the spiritual man and not of the worldly man. That is why we must walk by the Spirit so that we do not do gratify the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16). This will ensure that we will not be ashamed or rejected when the Lord brings to light what is hidden in the darkness and manifests the purposes of the hearts.
Note: There is a reward for this: to receive the praise of God.
The manners, attitudes, and characteristics that people must have, proceed first from receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives. Once this foundation is laid, as Corinthian Christians and as church and government leaders, we must have the humility not to judge others, to be faithful in all circumstances, to serve the Lord, and to dispense the mysteries of God. It is by doing so that we will lift up the Name of Jesus Christ and succeed in influencing the world, starting with our families, our churches, our organizations, and our countries.
Note: Let us not miss the reward which is the praise that will be given to us.
May God, the righteous judge make us capable of it.
The Maxwell Leadership Bible, 1 Corinthians chapter 4:1-5 has the introductory title of Accountability: Leaders are Servants with a Sacred Trust.
And the comment is as follows:
Paul viewed himself as a servant-leader with a sacred trust (1 Corinthians 4:1) to which he needed to stay faithful (4:2).
Neither the opinions of others nor his own would sway him (4:3). Leaders are to serve people but obey God, providing for their sacred trust.