1 Corinthians 6:1-11
And Such Were Some of You
Today’s passage might be one of the most convicting when we consider contemporary Christians. We live in a most litigious age. Advertisements abound for divorce, personal injury, and more. I do not say that such matters are always unjustified, but I do say that we need to hear what the word of God says about the bringing of law suits, and in doing so we just might find that much of what is happening among Christians in courtrooms across our nation is unjustified and a terrible witness.
As for the Corinthians themselves, once again we see them getting things backwards. On the one hand, they won’t judge an incestuous man within the church as they are required to do for the integrity and protection of their church and for the salvation of the offending brother. On the other hand, they go outside the church and take one another to court over their own personal disputes, and that before pagans! Paul can’t believe it. Paul says in exasperation (I paraphrase): “Do you not know that we will judge the world, even angels (fallen, I’m sure)? And you can’t even adjudicate trivial cases in the church? How pitiful!” Now why do I say, “trivial?” Because Christians are people not of this world but of the next, and are suppose to think and behave that way. Paul even says, “Why not rather be defrauded,” than to embarrass the church like this? In speaking like this, he is only repeating our Lord’s words in his “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5-7). The fact of the matter is that we are much too attached to our possessions and where the fence is supposed to go to worry about our witness before a courtroom of unbelievers.
Now some may call me out on this, and I confess to be uncertain of its direct application. Does this only apply to members of the same church? Christians of any church? Only between Christians but not if one of the parties is an unbeliever? And am I supposed to be defrauded of my house? My life savings? These are questions that must be addressed individually and under the guidance of godly counsel; but I also don’t want to water down the apostle’s direction pleading that we live in a different time and culture. Certainly such should not happen between believers in the same church, one would hope. But we must understand: these are the very concerns and lifestyles out of which we were called: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified.” We are to inherit the kingdom of God, and that requires a certain way of life. Hence, the warning: “Do not be deceived,” for such won’t.