The Courthouse in Sin City

Dec 09, 2012 By: Pastor Joseph LoSardo Series: The Church in Sin City Scripture: 1 Corinthians 6:1-8
In the first part of chapter 6, Paul writes to the Corinthian Christians urging them take responsibility for legal matters within their community, rather than taking them to worldly courts. The language in verses 1-5 of the text indicates that Paul is very disturbed by this report. While modern readers of the epistle can understand the outrage that Paul might have over the permission of the sin of incest in the church (5:1-5), lawsuits seem to belong to an altogether different category – what is sinful about lawsuits and taking another Christian to court? Every law court in our nation has for centuries seen Christians involved in some sort of legal litigation – it seems to be the normal and honorable way of handling a civil dispute. What explanation is there for Paul’s indignant reaction? And why would Paul deal with this issue here between two units that deal with sexual immorality (5:1-13 and 6:12-20)? Are legal proceedings between Christians really that scandalous? These questions are answered as we understand that in 1 Cor 6:1-11 Paul has not really changed the subject from the topic of chapter 5, or really from the entire epistle, for that matter. His concern remains the unified display of the church. In chapter 5 as well as chapter 6 the real problem is in the words of commentator Gordon Fee, “a failure of the church to be the church.” 1 Corinthians from beginning to end is a clarion call to the church, that we might understand who we are as “Christ’s body,” “the saints,” “the people of God,” called out from society, to form a new society where we are bound together in a manner that is substantially different from our former way of life.