Lawsuits between Believers
1Furthermore, how dare you take a fellow believer to court! It is wrong to drag him before the unrighteous to settle a legal dispute. Isn’t it better to take him before God’s holy believers to settle the matter? 2Don’t you realize that we, the holy ones, will judge the universe? If the unbelieving world is under your jurisdiction, you should be fully competent to settle these trivial lawsuits among yourselves. 3For surely you know that we will one day judge angels, let alone these everyday matters. 4Don’t you realize that you are bringing your issues before civil judges appointed by people who have no standing within the church? 5What a shame that there is not one within the church who has the spirit of wisdom who could arbitrate these disputes and reconcile the offended parties! 6It’s not right for a believer to sue a fellow believer—and especially to bring it before the unbelievers.
7Don’t you realize that when you drag another believer into court you’re providing the evidence that you are already defeated? Wouldn’t it be better to accept the fact that someone is trying to cheat and take advantage of you, and simply choose the high road? At times it is better to just accept injustice and even to let someone take advantage of you, rather than to expose our conflicts publicly before unbelievers. 8But instead you keep cheating and doing wrong to your brothers and sisters, and then request that unbelievers render their judgment!
Christian Morality and the Kingdom Realm of God
9Surely you must know that people who practice evil cannot possess God’s kingdom realm. Stop being deceived! People who continue to engage in sexual immorality, idolatry, adultery, sexual perversion, homosexuality, 10fraud, greed, drunkenness, verbal abuse, or extortion—these will not inherit God’s kingdom realm. 11It’s true that some of you once lived in those lifestyles, but now you have been purified from sin, made holy, and given a perfect standing before God—all because of the power of the name of the Lord Jesus, the Messiah, and through our union with the Spirit of our God.
12It’s true that our freedom allows us to do anything, but that doesn’t mean that everything we do is good for us. I’m free to do as I choose, but I choose to never be enslaved to anything. 13Some have said, “I eat to live and I live to eat!” But God will do away with it all. The body was not created for illicit sex, but to serve and worship our Lord Jesus, who can fill the body with himself.
14Now the God who raised up our Lord from the grave will awaken and raise us up through his mighty power!
The Body of Christ
15Don’t you know that your bodies belong to Christ as his body parts? Should one presume to take the members of Christ’s body and make them into members of a harlot? Absolutely not! 16Aren’t you aware of the fact that when anyone sleeps with a prostitute he becomes a part of her, and she becomes a part of him? For it has been declared:
The two become a single body.
17But the one who joins himself to the Lord is mingled into one spirit with him. 18This is why you must keep running away from sexual immorality. For every other sin a person commits is external to the body, but immorality involves sinning against your own body.
19Have you forgotten that your body is now the sacred temple of the Spirit of Holiness, who lives in you? You don’t belong to yourself any longer, for the gift of God, the Holy Spirit, lives inside your sanctuary. 20You were God’s expensive purchase, paid for with tears of blood, so by all means, then, use your body to bring glory to God!