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.…
No man can work entirely with reference to his own labours and his own opinion of them. We all need to live under the sense that others are taking some notice of what we do; and with most there is danger of attaching exaggerated importance to human criticism. But it is well for us to cherish the feeling of the nearness and the supervision of the omniscient Searcher of hearts. In this passage St. Paul represents the effect which both human and Divine judgment should have upon the Christian's life.
I. THE JUDGMENT WHICH IS DEPRECATED. This is the judgment:
1. Of our fallible fellow men. For they have not the necessary material or the due knowledge and opportunity for forming a just judgment. Men are influenced in the opinions they form of one another by their prejudices and prepossessions. We judge our friends too favourably, and are too severe in our censure of our opponents. Hence our Lord has warned us, "Judge not!"
2. That which is passed at this present time. This is the time for work, not the time for judging and for recompense. No man's work can be Girly judged until it is completed. And beside this, we cannot see life in its true proportions when we look at it from a point of view so near. To judge now is to judge "before the time."
II. THE JUDGMENT WHICH IS ANTICIPATED.
1. This is God's judgment. He will bring every work into judgment. His acquaintance with all who shall appear before his bar is perfect. His material for forming a judgment is complete. His mind is unclouded by human prejudices. He is infinitely just.
2. This shall take place upon our Lord's return. His parousia, is what the Church looks forward to with affectionate interest and hope. Her children offer the frequent prayer: That at thy whom God hath appointed to judge the quick and the dead."
3. This shall be accompanied by revelation. There are hidden things of darkness which must be brought to light; virtues and vices of which the world has taken little or no note, but which must be brought forward and taken into account, in order to a just decision and award, There are counsels of the heart to be made manifest; for whilst men necessarily judge by the conduct, God will take into account the secret intentions and motives of those who have laboured for him, both good and evil.
4. This will be by a perfect discrimination. The hypocrite shall be distinguished from the sincere, the diligent from the idle, the time server and men pleaser from the true servant of God.
5. This will be the occasion of recompense. The case of the utterly unfaithful is left out of view as irrelevant in this connection. But among the faithful it is presumed that there are degrees of fidelity; and every man shall have his praise from God. This implies that each has a special need for special service; and it also implies that praise shall be accompanied by a substantial and everlasting recompense. It is well, therefore, to work "as ever in the great Taskmaster's eye," to avoid judging one's self, to be indifferent to the partial judgment of men, and to wait for the revelation and the awards of eternity. - T.
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.