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.…
It is evident enough from the connection that the apostle does not mean that every man, whosoever he may be, shall obtain praise of God. This taking for granted the excellence of the individual would be distinctly opposed to all his reasoning. He can only mean that every man, whose conduct has been acceptable to God, shall be openly approved, and that in exact proportion to his piety and zeal. But when you consider the text as containing generally a description of the last assize, you cannot fail to be struck with the largeness of the assertion. By no perverse ingenuity can the words be made to sanction the wild notion of universal salvation, for those who indulge in the idle dream would not venture to talk of having praise of God. But, nevertheless, it would seem as if there might be some sense in which all, without exception, shall have praise of God, viz., in the sense that all are to be made to glorify God. It will be for the fulfilling this end that any receive commendation; and so far then as every man may at length be said to fulfil it, every man may be spoken of as in the position of one praised. And whether or not it be a groundless conjecture, that the praise given to every man may denote that every man will be made to glorify God, we know, at least, that this latter is not supposition but fact. We can never weary of endeavouring to expel the delusion that God is too merciful to inflict lasting pain, and that He never will, therefore, exact what His Word threatens. The delusion is based on a manifest fallacy. It supposes that it must be at variance with the Divine nature. But God will be glorified in punishing the rebellious, as well as in pardoning the penitent. God has made all things for Himself. He is His own end, and it is Godlike in Him to do and allow whatsoever promotes His own glory. For this it was that thousands of worlds glittered through infinite space; for this it was that earth, sea, air, teemed with animated beings; for this it was that He sent His own Son as the surety of the lost; for this it was that He opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers; aye, and for this it was that He appointed the prison of hell to all despisers. You are wrong in thinking that He has nothing to gain in condemning you. He has glory to gain; more glory than in releasing you, if you die in your sins; for this were to compromise, whilst the other is to display all His attributes. Examine the terms of salvation through Christ; comply with them, and then shall every man literally have praise of God: "Well done, good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
(H. Melvill, B. D.)
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.