6:1 Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? 2 Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life? 4 If then you have judgments concerning things pertaining to this life, do you appoint those who are least esteemed by the church to judge? 5 I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren? 6 But brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers!
7 Now therefore, it is already an utter failure for you that you go to law against one another. Why do you not rather accept wrong? Why do you not rather let yourselves be cheated? 8 No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! 9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.
First we found out the Church in Corinth was fracturing based on their favourite preacher/teacher. Then we found out someone in the church was having sex with his father’s wife. Now we're finding out that the members are cheating each other and suing each other over it. I left the entire story complete rather than break it up so you could see the entire counsel from Paul in one reading.
Some have written to me regarding my blogs on 1 Corinthians saying it sounds like we are saved no matter what we do. Clearly if there was any confusion over that it has been removed now. Paul again declares that they were sanctified and washed and justified yet warns that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom. Why warn them if their future with God is guaranteed? Our relationship with God is like a marriage. We don't get married because we are perfect or found someone perfect. Marriage is based on love and commitment. Marriages don't automatically end when mistakes are made or less than love is shown to the other person. A marriage without grace and forgiveness will soon become toxic and eventually disintegrate. It is also true that a marriage will not survive in which one or both people consistently violate the commitment made to each other. Ironically most marriage breakups that I have observed happened not as a result of some awful violation of the marriage vows but by relentless neglect over a long period of time until the two were strangers to each other. If you study all the Bible passages where professed believers are turned away by God His reason for their rejection is always the same: "I never knew you..."
How can church members who love Jesus and love each other cheat one another and sue each other? It's not possible. Paul offers a solution to the whole mess. "Wouldn't it be better to be cheated than to sue?" Isn't that what Jesus would do? Isn't that exactly what He did do? Like a marriage vow Peter promised he would never forsake Jesus. Like a cheating spouse he turned that vow inside out and upside down. Jesus had every reasonable right to end their relationship. In fact He didn't need to end it. Peter already did that.
We know what happened though. Jesus forgave him. Jesus restored the relationship and Peter went on to truly "never forsake Him." Love awakens love. We love God because He first loved us.
People cheat and steal because they love themselves more than anyone else. Their victims retaliate or sue because they too love themselves more than they love the one who hurt them. In such a cycle how will the hurting stop. Where is the love that will awaken love?
Judas was loved by Jesus too. Jesus stooped to wash his feet knowing those same feet would carry him to the priests where he would sell Jesus out for 30 pieces of silver. Judas was moved by what Jesus did. Love awakened love. Judas was washed, sanctified, and justified but he chose to push that love away. He held to his plan. We know the rest.
There is no such thing as a relationship that can't be destroyed. What is true is that Jesus will never be the One that pulls the plug. Never. He will take our abuse. He will not sue. He will not write divorce papers. What will happen is that eventually we will become so hardened that we won't talk to Him. We won't return His calls. We won't even hear His voice. We will choose self over our relationship with Him to the point that there is no love left to awaken in us.
"I never knew you..."
The 4 saddest words in Scripture.