Some estimate that over 40 million lawsuits are filed every year in the United States. According to the American Bar Association, there are over a million registered lawyers. Litigation has become so common that we often see commercials for class action suits on late-night television.
One indicator of division in the Corinthian church was that its members took one another to court. “The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already,” Paul charged in 1 Corinthians 6:7. “Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?” His accusation offers an ironic counterpoint to the criticism made in the previous chapter. Even as the church ignored one members’ notorious sin, they turned to the secular court to air personal disputes.
The assertion of the previous chapter (5:12) that the church has no business judging those outside the church does not mean that morality does not matter to God (6:9). Corinth’s problem seems to have been an odd combination of hypersensitivity to others’ offenses mixed with personal moral dullness. As they dragged one another to court, they justified their own moral laxity by misapplying the rule of Christian liberty. Their slogan was “I have the right to do anything” (v. 12). This lack of self-awareness was mixed with spiritual amnesia. They did not see their own behavior for what it was. They had forgotten who they were and what God had done for them! They thought they were free to do anything they wished. They did not understand that God’s grace gives us the freedom to obey.
>> Maybe you have things in your past of which you are now ashamed. Perhaps you are suffering consequences because of this. You may even be in prison. Whatever you once were, if you have trusted in Jesus Christ, “you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (v. 11). Honor God with your body.
We pray the words of the hymn by Frances Ridley Havergal: “Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of thy love. Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for thee. Take my voice and let me sing always, only, for my King.”