What does Paul mean when he writes, “the saints will judge the world …. we are to judge angels” (1 Cor. 6:2-3)? The Corinthians were inconsistent in the extreme. In the case of the immoral brother, they should have judged but took no action at all (1 Cor. 5:1-2). In cases of petty disputes, they should have judged among themselves but they took too much action and went to secular courts (6:1-9). In both cases, they neglected their God-given responsibility to make their own judgments and settle matters among themselves (cf. 5:12; 10:15; 11:13). Paul reminds his readers that the saints [‘sanctified ones’] will judge the world1 and angels,2 but how? Like “the men of Nineveh” who “will rise up in judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented …” (Matt. 12:41); like Noah, who “prepared an ark … by which he condemned the world …” (Heb. 11:7). The saints will judge the world and [fallen] angels indirectly by their lives and teaching in compliance with the divine will.
--Kevin L. Moore
1 Cf. Rev. 3:21; 20:4; Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:30.
2 Cf. 1 Pet. 3:22; 2 Pet. 2:4.