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1Corinthians 6 (web)

Judging Other Christians

6:1 Dare any of you, having a matter against his neighbor,
go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?
6:2 Don't you know that the saints will judge the world?
And if the world is judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
6:3 Don't you know that we will judge angels?
How much more, things that pertain to this life?

6:4 If then, you have to judge things pertaining to this life,
do you set them to judge who are of no account in the assembly?

6:5 I say this to move you to shame.
Isn't there even one wise man among you who would be able to decide between his brothers?
6:6 But brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers!
6:7 Therefore it is already altogether a defect in you, that you have lawsuits one with another.
Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded?
6:8 No, but you yourselves do wrong, and defraud, and that against your brothers.

God's Judgement of Sinful Behavior

6:9 Or don't you know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God?
Don't be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters,
nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexuals,
6:10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor extortioners,
will inherit the Kingdom of God.

6:11 Such were some of you, but you were washed.
But you were sanctified.
But you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in the Spirit of our God.

Flee Sexual Immorality

6:12 "All things are lawful for me," but not all things are expedient.
"All things are lawful for me," but I will not be brought under the power of anything.

6:13 "Foods for the belly, and the belly for foods," but God will bring to nothing both it and them.
But the body is not for sexual immorality, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.

6:14 Now God raised up the Lord, and will also raise us up by his power.
6:15 Don't you know that your bodies are members of Christ?
Shall I then take the members of Christ,
and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be!
6:16 Or don't you know that he who is joined to a prostitute is one body?
For, "The two," says he, "will become one flesh." (Gen 2:24)

6:17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit.

6:18 Flee sexual immorality! "Every sin that a man does is outside the body,"
but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body.

6:19 Or don't you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you,
which you have from God? You are not your own,
6:20 for you were bought with a price.
Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.

Discussion Questions

What do you suppose constitutes "trivial" cases?
Should Christians ignore "trivial" sins committed against them?
Are there conditions under which Christians should take legal action against other Christians?
Will Christians who practice a lifestyle of sin, as describe in vs 9,10, go to heaven?
What deception is Paul referring to in verse 9? Have you met Christians who are deceived on this point today?
To what extent should these characteristics listed in vs 9,10 not be characteristic of the Christians' life for the warning to be not applicable?
In vs 11, what three processes affected the Corinthians change of behavior?
What kinds of things or habits can enslave us?
What kinds of things can you do to help you avoid sexual immorality?


Judging Trivial Things

1Cor 6:1-3  If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? 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!

The saints should be willing and able to settle matters between themselves. Jesus established the procedure, "If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’  If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector." Mt 18:15-17

Now "If we endure, we will also reign with him." 2Tim 2:12  and one aspect of that reign will be judging - not only judging people, but judging angels (likely meaning the fallen angels). "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him." Jude 1:14,15

And what are the "trivial" things of this life? Primarily material possessions.

Assigning Foolish Judges

1Cor 6:4-6  If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? But instead, one brother goes to law against another— and this in front of unbelievers!

There is a mistake in the NIV concerning verse 4. NIV reads, "Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church!" That's the opposite of what Paul meant. First the verb is not in the imperative, but in the indicative. This is actually another rhetorical question as the NKJV and other translations read. Furthermore Paul continues, "Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers?" So you shouldn't seek the least esteemed, but rather the wise to judge. Paul's point is that you wouldn't appoint a fool inside the church as a judge (even though the NIV mistakenly commands it), so why go to the fools outside the church?

Pr 28:5  Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it fully.

Why not be cheated?

1Cor 6:7,8  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.

Do not be presumptuous about exerting your legal rights in suing others, and particularly other Christians. For what is legal is not necessarily what is right.

Jesus said, "Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles." Mt 5:39-41 And if this is the case with regards to unbelievers how much more with regards to one's brother.

But this is not to say that you overlook the offense. For it is written, "Do not hate your brother in your heart. Rebuke your neighbor frankly so you will not share in his guilt." Lev 19:17 But the very next verse also says, "’Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD."

The Salvation Status of the Wicked

1Cor 6:9,10 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters 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.

Elsewhere he writes, "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God." Gal 5:19-21

Those born of God do not live a lifestyle of sin, as it is written, "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother." 1John 3:9,10 How do you recognize children of God and distinguish them from children of the devil? By their behavior.

There are many warnings for Christians not to be deceived on this point. For example Ephesians 5:5,6 "For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person— such a man is an idolater— has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient." and 1John 3:7,8 "Little children, let no one lead you astray. He who does righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.  He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning." Today there is a popular theology known as "Free Grace Theology" which leads Christians astray in this point, so beware.

"He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars— their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." Rev 21:7.8

The Saints Sanctified Condition

1Cor 6:11 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.

Note the past tense here. Likewise in Eph 2:1-3 "As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,  in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath."

But having come to know Christ, they were saved both respect to their status - i.e. forgiven of sin (justified), and with respect to their behavior - sanctified. This is the effect of regeneration I noted previously as stated in 1John 3:9,10. and Titus 3:5b says, "He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit" So to the saints I say, "Thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness." Rom 6:17,18

Free from the Regulations of the Law

1Cor 6:12,13 "Everything is permissible for me"— but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"— but I will not be mastered by anything. "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.

More precisely the word "permissible" is literally "lawful", used commonly in the gospels in the context of the Law of Moses, but only two other times in the New Testament letters. Consider 1Cor 10:23-25 "Everything is permissible"— but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"— but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience ..."

So by "Everything is lawful" he's not saying that sin is lawful, but rather that Christians are not under the regulations of the law, like the dietary restrictions in the law. Christians are free to derive their own applications from the law rather than being under a legalistic bondage to its regulations. Freedom in Christ does not mean we should use our freedom to sin.

"You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love." Gal 5:13 For "he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again." 2Cor 5:15

Your Body Matters

1Cor 6:14-17  By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 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! 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." But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit.

There have been  those who justify immorality on the basis that the body doesn't matter. But Paul's first point here is that seeing as God will be glorified through our physical bodies, the physical body does matter. To abuse the body is to sin. Paul's second point against immorality is that our bodies are outward expressions of Christ and as such we dishonor Christ by committing sexual immorality.

There's an analogy between marriage and the church's relationship with Christ implied here and an a number of other places like Eph 5:31,32"'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' This is a profound mystery— but I am talking about Christ and the church." And Rom 7:4 "So, my brothers, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, that you might belong to another, to him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit to God." So for a saint to commit sexual immorality is not a victimless crime. It is a crime against Christ.

Sexual Abstinence

1Cor 6:18-20  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 have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

By "all other sins" he's referring to all other sins involving action. Essentially "the outside of the cup" type of sins Jesus alluded to in Mt 23:25. As we know, evil desires themselves are sin. So he is referring to outward sins. That is, inner sin leads to outer sin. And of the outer sins, sexual immorality is unique.

I say this because it leads to a practical application. Namely Jesus said, "First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean." Mt 23:26  That is, sexual immorality is to be countered by a change of attitude. As lust goes so goes the committing of sexual immorality.

"Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart." 2Tim 2:22  and "It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;  that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable,  not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God." 1Th 4:3-5

Furthermore we don't own ourselves and so don't have the right to do whatever we feel.

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources

Aug 15,2020