1 Corinthians 6:2-5
Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers?
If we are to walk in wisdom and honor God by properly dealing with conflicts that arise in the church, we must consider the following principles of judgment:
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”
Not only is judgment a requirement, but it is essential for the administration of both justice and mercy.
My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.
Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,
learn to do good;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause.
Fighting evil, upholding justice, and demonstrating mercy all require leaders to pass judgment. One of the worst things that can be done by leaders when they encounter evil is to fail to act. We MUST JUDGE and we MUST ACT.
Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light.
When we encounter evil we must judge it for what it is and bring it into the light so that righteousness and justice can flow from the throne of God.
Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne, steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.
Clouds and thick darkness are all around him;
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne.
Fire goes before him
and burns up his adversaries all around.
This passage is teaching that righteous justice (righteousness + justice) must be understood as the foundation of God's reign. The reason righteous justice must be foundational is because without an understanding of right and wrong the concept of mercy and punishment become meaningless and arbitrary. If we are to show true mercy, we must understand God's standard of righteousness and justice.
As one man put it, "Right is right even when no one is doing it, and wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it."
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.
2 Chronicles 19:5-7
 He appointed judges in the land in all the fortified cities of Judah, city by city, and said to the judges, “Consider what you do, for you judge not for man but for the LORD. He is with you in giving judgment. Now then, let the fear of the LORD be upon you. Be careful what you do, for there is no injustice with the LORD our God, or partiality or taking bribes.”
While it is true that we do not posses the omniscience of God, such is not require to enact righteousness and justice. Since we can understand God's Word, and since His Word equips us for "every good work" (2 Timothy 3:17) and "all things that pertain to life and Godliness" (2 Peter 1:3), we can rest assured that our judgments are righteous and just if they are grounded in His Word. It is a false argument to claim that since we are fallible humans we cannot therefore ever understand or apply either righteousness of justice. If we cannot understand or apply the principles of righteousness or justice, neither can we apply to principles of love and mercy for love and mercy are inseparably tied to righteousness and justice.
 You shall not pervert justice. You shall not show partiality, and you shall not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of the righteous.  Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the LORD your God is giving you.
But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
Since we are not omniscient (see point 2) we do not have the ability to judge the hearts of men; we are only able to judge their outward appearance - their actions. In matters of judgment we as humans must therefore stick to that which can be seen.
You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Jesus teaching is not meant to condemn all forms of judgment, but rather condemns hypocritical judgment. In other words, we must realize that God’s Word applies to us just as much as it does to everyone else, so we must be careful to walk in righteousness before we pass judgment on others.
Illustration: Parable of the Tenants
Matthew 21:40-41, 43-45
When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?” They said to him, “He will put those wretches to a miserable death and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons... Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits. And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he was speaking about them.
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets."
If we would but follow this instruction our senses of righteousness, justice, and mercy would increase tenfold.
For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
First, this passage teaches that we must make a distinction (judgment) between "insiders" and "outsiders." The reason for drawing a distinction between insiders and outsiders is because one group (insiders) must be disciplined when they sin ("purge this evil person from among you!) while the same discipline is explicitly forbidden on members of the "outsiders" group (the world - non-Christians).
Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”
“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you.
1 Corinthians 5:1-2
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
There are six things that the LORD hates,
seven that are an abomination to him:
haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.
And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself or do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
 Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.  And whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.
1 Corinthians 6:2, 5-8
Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?
I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!
What is being prohibited in 1 Corinthians 6 is taking trivial matters that have caused disputes between brethren and asking the world to sort out such church problems. It is shameful when trivial matters of the church are drug before the world and place Christianity in a bad light. And yet the same inspired recorded aired out Corinth's church problems in a public record so that truth could be upheld and an example of setting problems straight could be given to the church at large. It is shameful when sin exists within the church, this is true, but it is more shameful when the church refuses to address the sin - or even goes so far as to attempt cover it up.
The trivial matters i 1 Corinthians 6, and how the church is supposed to deal with them MUST NOT be confused with the issues of criminality that are addressed in Romans 13. Trivial issues and acts of criminality are two drastically different categories of sin. God has appointed wise men within the church to deal with the trivial matters, and He has appointed Civil Authorities to address issues of criminality.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.
 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek,  but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.  For God shows no partiality.
Hear the cases between your brethren, and judge righteously between a man and his brother or the stranger who is with him. You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small as well as the great; you shall not be afraid in any man’s presence, for the judgment is God’s. The case that is too hard for you, bring to me, and I will hear it.’
When we think of partiality we often think of it in positive terms (favoritism) and yet partiality also includes negative concepts (prejudice). In matters of judgment we must not show favoritism to those we like or prejudice against those we dislike.
Furthermore, we must understand that no one is above being judged. Preachers, elders, family members, friends, and enemies are all capable of sinning, are all subject to judgment, and all deserve justice. Partiality is wickedness that perverts both justice and mercy and has no place in the Christian's life.
One of the reasons partiality becomes a problem is because the fear of man/men enters the equation. There are thus many statements in Scripture that warn against the fear of man:
 In God, whose word I praise,
in the LORD, whose word I praise,
 in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.
Fear belongs to God alone. To fear man is to take that which belongs to God and give it to another - that is the very definition of idolatry. DO NOT FEAR MAN.
Matthew 18:16, 20
But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses…For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”
Warning: It is both sinful and foolish to reject the faithful testimony of witnesses. To stand against the evidential testimonies of two or three faithful witnesses is to stand against God.
“A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established. If a malicious witness arises to accuse a person of wrongdoing, then both parties to the dispute shall appear before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who are in office in those days. The judges shall inquire diligently, and if the witness is a false witness and has accused his brother falsely, then you shall do to him as he had meant to do to his brother. So you shall purge the evil from your midst.
- Judges must judge
- Judges must investigate
- Judges must heed the testimony of two or three witnesses
- Judges must punish wickedness
- False witnesses must not be ignored - they MUST BE PURSUED.
2 Corinthians 13:1-2
This is the third time I am coming to you. Every charge must be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. I warned those who sinned before and all the others, and I warn them now while absent, as I did when present on my second visit, that if I come again I will not spare them."
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.
1 Timothy 5:24-25
The sins of some people are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.
But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out.
Where there is no guidance, a people falls,
but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence,
but a false witness utters deceit.
He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous
are both alike an abomination to the LORD.
 Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire;
he breaks out against all sound judgment.
It is not good to be partial to the wicked
or to deprive the righteous of justice.
If one gives an answer before he hears,
it is his folly and shame.
The one who states his case first seems right,
until the other comes and examines him.
 “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.
For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
2 Corinthians 5:10-11
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others.