1 Corinthians 4:3-5
But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yes, I judge not my own self.…
I. REFLECT THAT HUMAN JUDGMENT IS FALLIBLE. It is needful to remember this. Many laugh at "infallibility" when it affects a pope at Rome, but are much disposed to believe in it when it affects a pope at home. We should not forget that
(1) our powers are limited;
(2) our information often very defective;
(3) our minds very subject to bias. Our fallibility should lead us:
1. To take heed how we pronounce final judgments. There are some things about which we should not judge at all, as altogether transcending our powers and province. About many things we are compelled to form judgments, and to act upon the judgments formed. But finality of judgment may often be profitably avoided. We should particularly observe this when our judgments affect:
(1) The providence and dealings of God.
(2) The character, motives, deserts, of our fellows. We see the deeds, and may pronounce upon them as such, but we must remember that the heart is hidden from us.
(3) Certain matters connected with ourselves, it may be well to judge ourselves severely, since our tendency is to take too favourable a view of our own conduct. We may acquit ourselves when we ought to condemn ourselves. Implicit faith cannot be reposed in the voice of conscience; it may be perverted. Our judgment of ourselves should command our confidence only when we feel sure that our judgment agrees with God's judgment.
2. Not to be disconcerted if harshly judged by our fellows. If an enlightened conscience does not condemn, fallible human judgment should not greatly depress us. We should value human judgment, not overvalue it. Rightly estimated, it is under such conditions "a very small thing;" under all conditions, a very small thing compared with the judgment of God. To our own Master we stand or fall. So fallible is human judgment that often the best men have been counted the worst, and the worst the best.
II. REFLECT THAT DIVINE JUDGMENT IS INFALLIBLE. That judgment will be exercised upon us and all around us when the Lord comes; or rather, that judgment is now being exercised, and then will be declared. The day of the Lord will be a day of universal and infallible judgment. When the Lord comes:
1. Hidden things of darkness will be brought into the light. So much is hidden from us; nothing will be hidden from him. We judge from part; he sees all. No darkness can hide from him; no hiding can baffle him.
2. There will be heart revelation. How carefully veiled the heart often is now! How different the counsels of the heart from the expressions of the lips and the actions of the hand! Heart revelation must bring widespread condemnation. Yet may we not say also that often, if we had known the counsels of the heart, we should have more favourably estimated the conduct? The whole man will be disclosed at the day of the Lord.
3. There wilt be award. Praise will be administered - "due praise;" for so the rendering might be. Therefore valuable, for unmerited praise is of nothing worth. When God judges, the result will not be all condemnation by any means. There will be praise as well as blame - "due praise," and, let us not forget, "due blame." The reference, however, is not to our salvation, but to God's judgment of our conduct as his servants. Live for the judgment of "the day of the Lord," not for the judgment of "man's day" (for so "man's judgment" may be rendered). The one "a small thing" indeed! The other how great! When the Lord comes, some praised of men will be censured, and not a few blamed of men will be praised. - H.
Parallel VersesKJV: But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.