1 Corinthians 6:7-12

In 1 Corinthians 6:7-12 Paul continues to address the behavior of the church to file lawsuits against one another and let the legal system make decisions rather than use the wisdom of the church. “To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?” The church looks outwardly and accuses the world for many things, yet it doesn’t live out the laws of God and live in a way that is different. We shouldn’t just fit into the world around us, we should stick out like a sore thumb. The objective is not to merely fit in, but to live God’s way so clearly that we can’t be missed. “But you yourselves wrong and defraud – even your own brothers!” But Paul definitely calls out the church for doing anything but that.

Paul reminds us that there is a price to pay for sin. And that outcome will not be to spend eternity with the Father. Sinners won’t be in heaven unless their sin has been dealt with through forgiveness. And that forgiveness only comes through one way – the shed blood of Jesus on the Cross. There are many sins – in fact all of them large and small – that are enough to keep us from heaven. “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, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

We are all guilty of sin. Maybe not the sins listed in the verse above, but that isn’t a complete and total list, just some of the most prevalent of the time when Paul wrote. We’ve got all those and many more today. And just like the church in Paul’s day was guilty of sin, so are you and me today. The good news then, and for us today, is that God has made a way to overcome the outcome of sin in our life. We won’t be able to stop sinning and live in complete obedience to His will, but we can be set free from the consequence of sin through Jesus. 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.”

Paul gives us a couple principles about how we should live regarding the options we have and decisions we are faced with. There are a handful of these guiding principles in the letter Paul penned to the Corinthian church, and the first two are here:

  1. All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful.” We have freedom in Christ to do many things. But that freedom doesn’t mean we should necessarily do something. We have to ask the question – is it helpful to myself and to those around me?
  2.  “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything.” We again have freedom to do many things in life, but nothing we do should control us. We need to ask the question – will it control me?

These are two important questions we should ask when we face decisions about whether to do something or not. Is it helpful? Will it control me? If it isn’t helpful and could potentially control me we should just say no and not do it. Simply following Paul’s guidance here can save us from a lot of trouble and heartache and certainly can help limit the negative influence our life may have on someone else.

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