As we look at 1 Corinthians 6, we’ll see a repeated question. “Do you not know?” Paul is talking to the believers at Corinth and is trying to help them understand the truth about certain matters. Jesus used a similar question in his teaching in Mark 4:13 and 8:21. Paul teaches the believers about:
The Greeks were known for their courts. Litigation was a part of everyday life. People would sue over nothing. Sounds like our day today! In verses 1-6, Paul addresses the believers who were doing business together and then suing each other. The church was losing its witness. This passage has been abused and misunderstood so let’s look at what it does and does not say. Paul says that the church should seek to settle family matters. Believers will one day judge the world. Jesus will rule and reign, and according to Daniel 7:22, Revelation 2:26-27 and 3:21, we will rule and reign with Him. We will also judge the angels (2 Pet. 2:4, Jude 6). If we will one day judge the world and angels, don’t you believe God has given us the wisdom, truth, justice, love, equity, and kindness needed to settle the “smallest matters”? These are matters that are trivial, frivolous, pretty. The context is believers taking each other to court for personal gain or revenge. This verse does not mean a Christian can never go to court. Some matters are not small or trivial and they have to be handled by a court. Additionally, the church should not try to handle matters that are crimes. We have to balance 1 Corinthians 6 with Romans 13, that government and courts are used by God. Verses 7-8 lead us to ask the question, “Is it worth it?” What will suing a fellow believer do to the name of Jesus? It is better to lose financially than to lose spiritually. Believers should settle out of court whenever possible.
The next subject Paul addresses is lostness. In verse 9 he gives a long list of sins/unrighteous ways of living. People are not lost because they live this way. They live this way because they are lost. Paul urges the believers to “not be deceived.” Don’t get suckered in to believing a lie. Don’t think there is no heaven, no hell, and no judgement day. Paul is not talking about people who have ever committed one of these sins, but those are practicing these things. It is their habitual lifestyle. If you are a Christian, you have been washed! You have been cleansed and given a new start! He’s urging them to live like it.
In verse 12, Paul addresses Christian freedom. Believers were using their freedom as a license to sin. “All things are lawful” was a common saying. Sin is never to our advantage! “Is it lawful?” is not the right question. “Is it helpful and beneficial?” is the right question. Sin will always bring you under its control. It will enslave you. If you can’t stop doing it then you are in bondage. Those who are free have self-control.
As Paul concludes the chapter, we read that these matters and more are all a matter of lordship. In verses 13-20 he’s talking about sexual immorality. Believers can’t use the excuse that we all have needs. When you get hungry you eat. When you get thirsty you drink. When you get the biological urge you act on it. No! We are made in the image of God. A Christian cannot do anything that does not involve the Lord. Wherever you go, you take the Lord with you because you are indwelt with the Holy Spirit of God. Think about this question: If Jesus was standing right beside you… would you do it? He is there! Our bodies belong to God. He created us and redeems us. We should flee anything that goes against His plan for us. Flee means run like crazy!
Jesus died and rose from the dead to be Lord of all. He is Lord over our business matters, legal matters, sexual matters, relational matters, physical matters, spiritual matters. Is he Lord over your life? One day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the father. On that day it will be too late to change your mind. Confess Jesus as your Lord today.