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1How dare one of you with a complaint against another go to court before pagan judges and not before God’s people? 2Don’t you know that God’s people are going to judge the universe? If you are going to judge the universe, are you incompetent to judge these minor matters? 3Don’t you know that we will judge angels, not to mention affairs of everyday life? 4So if you require judgments about matters of everyday life, why do you put them in front of men who have no standing in the Messianic Community? 5I say, shame on you! Can it be that there isn’t one person among you wise enough to be able to settle a dispute between brothers? 6Instead, a brother brings a lawsuit against another brother, and that before unbelievers!
7Actually, if you are bringing lawsuits against each other, it is already a defeat for you. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8Instead, you yourselves wrong and cheat; and you do it to your own brothers! 9Don’t you know that unrighteous people will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don’t delude yourselves — people who engage in sex before marriage, who worship idols, who engage in sex after marriage with someone other than their spouse, who engage in active or passive homosexuality, 10who steal, who are greedy, who get drunk, who assail people with contemptuous language, who rob — none of them will share in the Kingdom of God. 11Some of you used to do these things. But you have cleansed yourselves, you have been set apart for God, you have come to be counted righteous through the power of the Lord Yeshua the Messiah and the Spirit of our God.
12You say, “For me, everything is permitted”? Maybe, but not everything is helpful. “For me, everything is permitted”? Maybe, but as far as I am concerned, I am not going to let anything gain control over me. 13“Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”? Maybe, but God will put an end to both of them. Anyhow, the body is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. 14God raised up the Lord, and he will raise us up too by his power.
15Don’t you know that your bodies are parts of the Messiah? So, am I to take parts of the Messiah and make them parts of a prostitute? Heaven forbid! 16Don’t you know that a man who joins himself to a prostitute becomes physically one with her? For the Tanakh says, “The two will become one flesh”; 17but the person who is joined to the Lord is one spirit. 18Run from sexual immorality! Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the fornicator sins against his own body. 19Or don’t you know that your body is a temple for the Ruach HaKodesh who lives inside you, whom you received from God? The fact is, you don’t belong to yourselves; 20for you were bought at a price. So use your bodies to glorify God.
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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.