Read 1 Corinthians 6
Lawsuits Among Believers
1 If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? 2 Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4 Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church? 5 I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6 But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers!
7 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8 Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters. 9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
12 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial.“I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything.13 You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.
18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
“You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.”
When you purchase something, you are the owner of it. You possess the right to do with it as you want. It is yours. In today’s reading, Paul makes it clear to the church in Corinth that they have been purchased by God because of what Jesus did for them on the cross. God owns them. Therefore, God cares what they do with the lives He has purchased for them. He goes even further to say that their bodies are a temple for God to live in. So, not only has He purchased the land, but He has built His house right there, in them. And because of that, He gets to decide how they live.
The believers in Corinth have been living as though they are their own gods, completely in charge of their lives and what they do with them. Paul lovingly corrects his friends here by reminding them that they are not their own masters, that they aren’t entitled to do whatever they want. He says that God, who purchased their lives with His son’s blood, is their new master and that they are to honor Him by the way they live.
God’s heart hasn’t changed on this issue today, either. The same is still true for us–when we become Christians, God adopts us into His family. He purchased us with His son’s death on the cross. We belong to Him; He cares about how we live with the lives He gave us. We are to live each day as though He is living through us. Make fun of it all you want, but we really should ask ourselves the question, “What would Jesus do?” all day, every day. How would Jesus respond to a conversation full of gossip at work? What would Jesus say to the homeless man on the street? What would it look like if Jesus were at home with your kids today? Because the truth is, He is there… in you.
In verse 7, Paul asks, “Wouldn’t you rather be wronged?” to dissuade believers from taking lawsuits against one another to court. It’s a bad look for Christians to be fighting publicly–the outside world is watching. When have you seen Christians give Christ a bad name? In what ways have you participated in that?
Do you spend time each day asking God how He wants you to spend your day? Do you consider yourself a slave to God?
Paul here is correcting people who are living with the “I can do what I want because of God’s grace” mentality. Do you tend to lean more towards legalism or cheap grace? What is bad about both of those camps?
Did You Know?
“All things are lawful to me” was the slogan of the Corinthian church; they used this slogan to justify their immoral behavior. Paul quoted it here to disprove it; even though we are not held to the Old Testament law, as Christians, we are held to a higher command–to love God and love our neighbors. What the Corinthian church was doing by allowing these sins to take place was not loving to God or their neighbors.