03/19/F – Legal Matters in the Church

Ezra 10:1-17; 1 Corinthians 6:1-8; Psalms 31:19-20; Proverbs 11:18-19

NT: “If any of you has a dispute against another, how dare you take it to court before the unrighteous, and not before the saints? Or don’t you know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the trivial cases? …I say this to your shame! Can it be that there is not one wise person among you who is able to arbitrate between fellow believers? Instead, brother goes to court against brother, and that before unbelievers! As it is, to have legal disputes against one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves do wrong and cheat — and you do this to brothers and sisters!” (‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭6:1-2, 5-8‬ ‭CSB)

Another problem in the Corinthian church was the issue of brothers and sisters in Christ having disputes with each other and fighting them out in the court system. This was not only solidifying the divisiveness in the church, it was also weakening the church’s testimony in the community. How could they sincerely declare the gospel and claim to be disciples of Christ if they were suing each other in the pagan court systems? Redeemed believers in Jesus, submitted to the Lordship of Christ and committed to the word, will and ways of God should be able to settle their disagreements through humility and love for one another. The fact that they had to go to court to settle their matters indicated a failure in their faith and obedience.  Christ taught that it is better to be wronged or cheated than to lose a brother, sister, or dear friend. If we are to love our enemies, how much more so should we show sacrificial love and kindness to our fellow brothers and sisters? The Corinthian church wasn’t obeying the teachings of Christ – they were doing the exact opposite.

Psalms: “How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you. In the presence of everyone you have acted for those who take refuge in you. You hide them in the protection of your presence; you conceal them in a shelter from human schemes, from quarrelsome tongues.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭31:19-20‬ ‭CSB)

One of the reasons Christians take matters into their own hands and sue fellow believers in the courts, is because they don’t truly believe God’s word and trust in His character. They believe that the only way they can receive justice and have the wrongs committed against them righted, is to trust in themselves and the word’s systems. They believe the only way they can get their due is to fight other people for it. King David expressed the complete opposite. King David knew that goodness awaited those who feared the Lord. David knew that God would act on behalf of those who took refuge in Him. David knew that God would shelter those who honored and obeyed His word, will and ways, and protect them from the world’s schemes. Faith in Christ saved us and redeemed us. Faith in Christ and the word, will and ways of the Father will continue to save us and transform us. Vengeance is Mine, says the Lord – so we need to walk in forgiveness and love, and trust God to do what is right.

Prayer: Lord, Your word teaches that I am to walk in love, mercy and forgiveness, and that I am to sacrificially serve my brother and sister in Christ. You teach me, that if I am wronged, I am to forgive and allow you to bring justice. Help me, by Your grace, to not be obsessed with what I am owed, but to be passionate for the things that demonstrate Your gospel and bring glory to Your name. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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