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6
The error of litigation in the Church
1Now another matter — the Greeks are devoted to litigation, it is a passion with them, but what has that to do with you? Are you going to haunt the law-courts of Corinth and with cases which you bring against one another! 2This has little to do with the true judgment and justice which your faith exemplifies. 3That is capable of judging angels, and if you have it are you not even capable of settling these business disputes which arise amongst yourselves? 4-7Have you no one wise enough for that, but must you go to law with one another, and invoke the methods and assistance of a corrupt judicial system to get the better of your brother? Questions of everyday life then cannot be settled by the Church, but you must needs take them before those who know nothing of your faith, and whom the Church on that account esteems as of no account. Yet you bring your quarrels and disputes before them! And why do such disputes arise? 8Is it not because you still have in your midst the old spirit of over-reaching and dishonesty? I declare it is better to be wronged, to be cheated and robbed, and to take the injustice and say no more about it, for that would more resemble your calling than to do the opposite. 9Yes, for the old world of wickedness that God is judging, which is for ever excluded from His Kingdom, is still lurking in your midst. O do not be deceived by it, whatever cloak it may put on! Fornication, idolatry, adultery, sodomy, 10dishonesty, greed, drunkenness, cursing, theft — these are the things that hide the Kingdom of God, and they can never win it. 11Were you once involved in them, and were you purified, cleansed, justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the spirit of our God? Yes, you were, you had won clear of that spirit of perdition, but see that it does not entangle you again, know it for what it is.
Man not subordinate to physical nature
12True, I am free, I am independent, and can act as seems good to me, yet, though nothing is bad in itself, evil in its influence is dangerous. I am a free man, but I will not be mastered by any influences. 13Food and drink have nothing to do with my real being, they affect the belly, not me, you say, and I am in my true self independent of them. Yet that physical part of you is doomed to destruction along with the material things that feed it. Perhaps you would dare to apply the same view to the body. Never! The body is not for fornication. It is for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. 14And as the Lord was raised from the dead by the power of God, so shall we be raised. 15For there is nothing legitimate or natural for you in an appetite which demands such vile institutions and uses for its satisfaction. Your bodies are no longer carnal, they are members of Christ. 16Shall I take that which is spiritual and convert it into the very opposite, change the limbs of Christ into the flesh of a harlot? “They twain shall be of one flesh,” says Moses (Gen ii. 24), and so this awful substitution takes place, and in the place of Christ's body we find that of a harlot. Such then is their practice, this besetting sin of Corinth. Flee from it. 17For the One Spirit makes us one with the Lord. 18That is the truth, of which the other is the lie. Just as in the truth man cannot separate himself from the Lord, for there is but one Spirit, so in the false, in the carnal action, man cannot separate himself from the sin to which he surrenders, he sins not against another only, nor does the wrong of his action merely affect that which is outside himself. He cannot excuse himself by saying “it has nothing to do with my true being, it is inherent in the body only, and I disclaim its connection with me, though as a physical being I am forced by the power of Nature to submit to it, even as I am forced by other appetites to eat and drink!” The reasoning is false. 19Your bodies are spiritual structures, the spirit that dwells in you is of God, and your bodies are correspondingly spiritual, as temples, rather than animal organisms; 20they owe allegiance not to the physical self, but to Him who redeemed them at a price. God Himself is to be glorified in your bodies.
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Lawsuits among believers
1If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? 2Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church? 5I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6But instead, one brother takes another to court – and this in front of unbelievers!
7The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters. 9Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men#6:9 The words men who have sex with men translate two Greek words that refer to the passive and active participants in homosexual acts. 10nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11And that is what some of you were. 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.
Sexual immorality
12‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say – but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’ – but I will not be mastered by anything. 13You say, ‘Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.’ The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh.’#6:16 Gen. 2:24 17But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.#6:17 Or in the Spirit
18Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.