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Chapter six addresses three more issues that are all particularly relevant for the modern church. First, Paul taught how believers are to handle conflict with each other (1 Corinthians 6:1-8). It seems that the Corinthian believers were dragging each other to court to settle their differences. While this seems natural (especially today), the apostle said that unbelievers had no business arbitrating disputes between believers. According to 1 Corinthians 2:15, spiritual people should be able to discern all things, so Paul stipulated that the elders of the church (who should be spiritual people) should take care of the disagreements between congregation members. Paul claimed that it is actually better to lose an argument than for two believers to sue each other in a secular court. 1
Second, Paul addressed the issue of sanctification, the maturing process that God intends for all believers to go through (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Not only can unrighteous people not understand spiritual matters, they will have no inheritance in the Messianic Kingdom that is awaiting believers. 2 Any believer should be able to look at his past (or potential) life and say, “God saved me from this.” The list of sins given are all lifestyle sins, i.e., habitual sins that control one’s life. Even as depraved as some of these are, they are no match for God’s cleansing power in a believer’s life. Paul did not allow anyone to say, “That’s just the way I am.”
Third, Paul addressed sexual sin specifically (1 Corinthians 6:12-20). Even though Christians are not under the Mosaic Law, we cannot engage in just anything we want. One of Israel’s greatest downfalls was sexual sin. It was pervasive among the pagan cultures, leading to some of Israel’s great defeats, and it continues to pervade modern culture, affecting the church in the same way. Paul reminded the Corinthians that, as the Body of Christ, engaging in sexual sin has the same effect as Christ hiring a prostitute. How could we do that? We must remember that we have already be purchased (redeemed) to be used by God, for God, and his own Holy Spirit indwells us to keep us from sin and help us glorify God.
- Part of the issue with this today is that there are multiple local churches in a city. Corinth had one church with elders leading and ruling over all the believers there. Even still, disputes between believers in different churches today could be addressed by the elders of both churches, if those churches practice biblical church government. ↩
- Believers can lose reward in the Millennial Kingdom based on how we live in this life, but unbelievers have no entrance to the Kingdom at all or reward to lose. ↩