Ambulance chaser. Bottom feeder. Junkyard dog. These are some of the monikers I have heard people use to describe attorneys. But could it be these descriptions are the result, rather than the cause, of our own insatiable, selfish demands for fairness and justice? The focus—obvious to all—is, “I have been harmed and someone is going to pay (me) for it.” Sometimes even amicable negotiations and settlements are eschewed for fear of not getting one hundred percent of the payback we believe we are due.
- How have you responded to instances of harm against you or your family by others?
READ THE WORD: 1 CORINTHIANS 6:1-11 (ESV)
6:1 When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! 4 So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, 6 but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? 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? 8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!
9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. 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.
- In verses 1-6, what inconsistencies and shameful behaviors of the Corinthian believers did Paul address?
- Why did Paul so strenuously object to their internal disputes (vss. 7-8)? What was at stake?
- Make a list of those people described by Paul in verses 9-10 who will not inherit the kingdom of God. Upon what basis did Paul appeal to the Corinthians to avoid the behaviors characteristic of unbelievers (vs. 11)?
- How does your behavior, especially when you feel that you’ve been wronged, reflect your belief that you have been washed, justified, and sanctified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God?
RESPOND TO GOD
Paul’s exasperation with the Corinthians’ pride and self-defeating conduct against one another is evident in this passage. His voice rose to a crescendo in his indictment of their wrongs and fraudulent behavior. And, having their full attention, Paul summoned the Corinthian believers to turn (repent), recognizing they had been forgiven of their sins by Christ’s death on the cross, and to live in Christ, being made holy by the Holy Spirit. Like the Corinthians, the way we live together in Christian community matters to God. For how we choose to treat one another and deal with internal conflicts radiates outwardly, more accurately than words, what we hold to be true and valued, and whom we glorify.
- Pause to thank God for his great mercy and forgiveness of your sins.
- Pray for opportunities to reflect through your conduct today your new birth as a forgiven sinner, grateful for Christ’s sacrifice, and dedicated to live in and for him.