Sunday, October 6, 2019

1 Corinthians 6 (Pt 1)

1 Corinthians 6:7 (ESV)
[7] To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?

This passage is not saying that Christians should never be in the legal system. The first two verses of 1 Corinthians 6 clearly refer to acts against one another that Paul calls “trivial” (1 Cor 6:2). He is not referring to illegal activity. Some circles of believers have acted as though Christians are not liable to the legal system. When illegal activity occurs in their midst they deal with it internally. That too is a bad testimony. It inevitably gets out and looks like the church is covering up sin. Legal issues need to be dealt with legally.

What Paul is talking about in this chapter is Christian unity. Do you have a grievance against a brother? Take it to the church rather than the court. That is why Christian organizations exist to provide arbitration and peacemaking between believers. Disunity destroys the picture of God’s body. Disunity undermines the church’s mission. Jesus said that the unity of the church is what would convince the world that God sent Jesus. Disunity destroys that message. Paul’s argument is that being wronged is better than a bad testimony.

That is not to say that we should just let people walk over us and take constant advantage of us. There ought to be people in the church who are capable of arbitration and good judgment. Differences and disagreements should be taken care of internally. We do no one any favors by overlooking sin. On the other hand, we destroy our very purpose when disagreements within the church are put on display for the world to see.

That leads me to wonder how often we fail on this point without ever going to court. We may not take a brother to court over which Sunday School curriculum to use, the color of the carpet, or who should be on the worship team, but do we talk about our grievances before the world? Do our unbelieving friends hear about our discontent? What does it say to the world when they overhear us griping about someone in the church? Mission is more important than having our way. “Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?” (1 Cor 6:7). When church becomes about us and about getting our way we have lost sight of why we are here.

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