In our study of 1 Corinthians chapter six, we look at how we, as Christians, should settle disputes that we have with other believers.
ny of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints?" NIV translation
The word "another" here is talking about one of the same kind (another believer in Jesus Christ). Paul asks the question to get them and us to see how ridiculous it would be to answer "yes".
"Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life!" NIV translation
Most times, people look at a certificate, diploma, or other type of document to make sure someone is qualified for a task. This is a man-made thing and not from God. When we come to Christ we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit which allows us to know and understand the things of God. If we can know the things of God, then, why would we trust the judgment of people who do not know Jesus Christ? Paul reminds us that we will be judging the acts of the fallen angels and Satan (see Revelation 19).
"Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers?" NIV translation
When Paul speaks of "in the church", he is not talking about being a member of a group that meets at a building but is talking about people that are a part of the body of Christ. He tells us that it is better to let any Christian make a judgment on the dispute rather than taking it to someone who does not know Jesus but has a diploma on a wall. Wisdom comes from God and so He qualifies us to make decisions based on His will.
"But instead, one brother goes to law against another - and this in front of unbelievers!" NIV translation
Not only does this affect the harmony of believers but also unbelievers are watching us at all times. When they see us acting in the same ways that they do, it does not glorify God and make them want to know about Jesus.
"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? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers." NIV translation
Paul tells them (and us) that the fact that we even have lawsuits among believers is a sign that we are not following Christ. Christ came as a servant and was wronged many times including when "He who knew no sin became sin" for us. Even while He was being beaten, mocked, and crucified, He asked His Father not to hold their actions against them. That, my friends, is the standard for us as well and anything less is defeat.
"Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolators nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 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." NIV translation
Here, Paul gives a list of sins that were common in the city of Corinth (the "sin city" of the Roman Empire). In giving us this list, he is helping us to see that the unforgiveness that leads to these lawsuits are sinful just as all of the things on the list. He goes on to remind us that we were forgiven for the sin that we were in and so we are called to forgive those who have wronged us.
"'Everything is permissible for me' - but not everything is beneficial. 'Everything is permissible for me' - but I will not be mastered by anything." NIV translation
For all of those who walk around afraid that they are going to slip up, sin, and lose their salvation, this verse should bring comfort. Paul tells the people in this "sin city" that they have the freedom to do anything (and not lose their salvation) but not everything will help them in their walk with the Lord. He describes how a taste of sin can lead to control by that sin instead of control by the Spirit of God.
"'Food for the stomach and the stomach for food' - but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body." NIV translation
Many people use the excuse "That's the way God made me" to explain their sinful ways and to give them a reason to continue in sin. Although it is true that God made us, He did not make us to lead sinful lives. We were meant to be with God and to serve Him which is not possible if we are wallowing in sin.
"By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also." NIV translation
Our hope, as believers in Jesus Christ, is that we will be raised from the dead to live with God forever. This includes a raising of the body just as it was with Jesus. Therefore, why would we want to defile this body with sexual immorality?
"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!" NIV translation
Paul reasons with the Corinthians by asking them these questions. His goal is to get them to see how ridiculous it would be for a part of Christ to lay with a prostitute. The same principle applies to all sin and the simple fact is that, as a part of the body of Christ, it does not make any sense for us to continue in sin.
"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.'" NIV translation
Paul quotes from Genesis 2:24 where God gave Eve to Adam in marriage. The simple fact of the matter is that, in God's eyes, when a man and woman have sexual relations they are married and become one.
"But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit." NIV translation
When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, He comes and lives inside of us through the Holy Spirit. We become one with Him in that He will guide our every step and even our every thought if we are focused on Him.
"Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you received from God?" NIV translation
We defile the temple of God (our bodies) when we commit sexual sin. Because of the Holy Spirit that lives in us, we are constantly being made holy (set apart for God's use) and, so, sexual sin has no place in our lives.
"You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." NIV translation
Although it is not popular to say, Jesus bought us with His blood. Since He bought us, we are no longer our own but belong to Him and so we want to honor Him. When we come to Christ, it is asking Him to be both Lord and Savior.