Tuesday, May 19, 2015, 4:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put the song in mind, “Draw Me Close to You.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 1 Corinthians 6 (NASB).
Why Not Be Wronged? (vv. 1-8)
Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent to constitute the smallest law courts? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life? So if you have law courts dealing with matters of this life, do you appoint them as judges who are of no account in the church? I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not among you one wise man who will be able to decide between his brethren, but brother goes to law with brother, and that before unbelievers?
Actually, then, it is already a defeat for you, that you have lawsuits with one another. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be defrauded? On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren.
This is unfamiliar territory for me. I have never brought a lawsuit against anyone, and I have never had one brought against me, so far. So, I can’t speak with much knowledge here of how the process works exactly in our culture and in our present time in history. I do know that lawsuits here in America have been on the increase over the last few years, which has contributed to high costs because so many people go to court and sue one another. I hear of so many cases, too, where people are asking for ridiculous amounts of money in damages, which seems to be way beyond what they could possibly need, and much of that seems to be for the purpose to punish the other party, and not just to recover medical costs and the like. And, Christians do this, too. So, what kind of a witness for Jesus Christ and for the gospel is it if we take each other to court and sue one another and punish one another for things that, sometimes, were not intentional at all, but were accidents?
The point of what Paul said here, I believe, is that if Christians have disputes with one another that they should not take them before an ungodly court, but that the church should appoint people within the church to settle such matters. I don’t know of any church today doing such a thing, but I don’t know much about this subject. But, then Paul went another step further in what he said by stating the very fact that, because they had lawsuits among believers, it meant they were completely defeated already. Why? Because they were not trusting the Lord Jesus with their circumstances, and they were not acting in love toward one another in forgiving whatever grievances they had against one another, or in trying to settle their differences out of court, peacefully and kindly.
So, he asked the question, “Why not rather be wronged?” I don’t think that idea would set so well in our culture today, or in the worldly church immersed (engrossed, absorbed) in the culture (philosophy, values, and beliefs) of the ungodly. Yet, I believe that is what scripture teaches us. We should try to reconcile with people, if we can, but it is not always possible. Most people here in America, I believe, have insurance for these types of things, so I don’t think it is unreasonable to ask their insurance to cover reasonable expenses related to whatever damages occurred, but I don’t believe we should punish people, but we should forgive and seek to find ways to settle our differences in a kind and loving manner. If that can’t be accomplished, then why not be wronged? Do we think God cannot take care of us or that he can’t supply all we need? Do we think that he is not sovereign and that he is not in control of our circumstances? Why do we feel we need to take matters into our own hands and then take the place of God in trying to exert punishment on others who have wronged us?
Then, he said, “Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers” (and sisters in Christ). Wow! What an indictment! A lot of what goes on when people sue one another is crooked, it would appear, as they extract from others far beyond what is necessary, and they probably do so through deceptive means, in some cases. May this never be! May we, as the people of God, shine forth the love of Jesus Christ to the world around us, and let us love one another and not treat one another unkindly or unjustly.
The Unrighteous (vv. 9-11)
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
So, Paul had just finished chastising the church for taking one another to court and for suing one another before the ungodly world, rather than trying to settle their differences within the church or to be willing to suffer the injustice without recompense. So, why did he then say to them, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?” What does this have to do with them? Are they not righteous because of what Jesus did for them on the cross in dying for their sins and in saving them, and because they believed in him to be their Lord and Savior? Why did he say, “Do not be deceived,”? and then go on to list a bunch of sins, some related to sexual immorality, even though I am certain this is not a complete list. What is the message here to the church, especially in this context?
I like what Matthew Henry said about this: “Be not deceived. Men are very much inclined to flatter themselves that they may live in sin, yet die in Christ, and go to heaven. But we cannot hope to sow to the flesh, and reap everlasting life.” Amen! The Pulpit Commentary says this: “Religion is not an outward service, but a spiritual life manifested by a holy living. Be not deceived. So our Lord says, ‘Let no man deceive you’ (Mark 13:5; comp. 1 John 3:7). St. Paul uses the warning very solemnly again in 1 Corinthians 15:33 and Galatians 6:7, and St. James in James 1:16. The self-deception of merely verbal orthodoxy is the most dangerous of all.” In other words, true faith in Jesus Christ is not lip service only, and it does not continue in a sinful lifestyle while claiming the promise of heaven.
But, then Paul, in v. 11, went on to say that the unrighteous is what “some of them” were, perhaps indicating that some of them still are? What I see here is that all of us were unrighteous and some people are still unrighteous, i.e. all have sinned and have come up short of attaining God’s approval in our own self-efforts. Then, he said, in the context of “some of them,” that they were washed, sanctified and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. I believe the implication here is that some of them were not washed, although they thought they were, and that is why the stern warning to them that if they persisted in living sinful lifestyles, and they did not repent of their sin, and they did not turn to the Lord to walk in his ways, in his power, and in his Spirit, that they were not guaranteed eternal life. This reminds me of the man who showed up to the wedding banquet but did not have on the wedding garment. He was thrown out into utter darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (See: Matt. 22:1-14).
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life” (Gal. 6:7-8 NASB).
Not For Immorality (vv. 12-20)
All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.” But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. (Vv. 12-18)
The body in this context is speaking of our physical bodies, but I believe application can be made, as well, to the body of Christ, because it says that the body is for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body, both for our individual lives and for the church as a whole. The Spirit of God dwells within each person who is believing in Jesus to be Savior and Lord of his or her life, as well as the church is the body of Christ in whom Christ dwells by his Spirit. So, we should not give ourselves over to sexual immorality with our physical bodies, with our minds or with our emotions, as well as the church should not be given over to spiritual adultery against her Lord and Savior by uniting herself with a prostitute (other lovers, false religion, false teachers, a false gospel, humanistic philosophies, and/or other unholy unions, etc.). We should remain pure in heart, mind, emotion and will concerning ourselves individually and as the body of Christ collectively, though we only have control over our own lives individually. Yet, we can only do this in the power and working of the Spirit within us, as we yield to the Spirit’s control in our lives.
So, the command here is that we should flee from sexual immorality. What does it mean to flee? It means to escape, bolt and run away from it. So, what this means is that we can’t “tempt fate” by watching TV shows and movies with sexual situations in them, or even with simply sexual innuendos, and then remain unaffected by what we see and hear. The same applies with the internet. We can’t go to sites, which may seem harmless on the surface, which typically run adds on the side or at the bottom advertising sex via half-dressed people, with suggestive material, or with invitations to pornography or to sex-talk with someone if we have been or are presently prone to be drawn to those ads, and then think we won’t be affected by them. That is just plain stupidity. We also should avoid public places where we know we are going to be confronted with partial nudity or with suggestive material, if we know we might be tempted. Again, we need to use good common sense.
As well, in the work place, a married woman (or man) should not go out to lunch with a married man (or woman) or take breaks with someone with whom he or she could possibly be emotionally or physically attracted. This could include same sex attraction, as well. If you work closely with someone of the opposite sex or same sex with whom you feel even the slightest emotional tug or sexual attraction, you need to put up your guard, not engage in intimate conversations about your life, certainly not gripe about your spouse to this person, and not give this person greater attention or affection than you give your spouse at home. So many people end up in extramarital affairs because they are stupid, i.e. they don’t listen to their consciences but they follow their libidos and/or emotions, instead.
To flee immorality, thus, means we run away from these circumstances, not play with them and think we won’t get burned. Too many people “tempt fate” and then wonder why they fall into sin. We can’t keep “pushing the envelope” and expect not to fall off the cliff. We must remember this:
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (vv. 19-20)
Draw Me Close To You / Donnie McClurkin
Draw me close to You
Never let me go
I lay it all down again
To hear You say that I’m Your friend
You are my desire
And no one else will do
‘Cause nothing else can take Your place
To feel the warmth of Your embrace
Help me find a way
Bring me back to You