SGBC Modesto

Christians and Lawsuits

March 13, 2024 by

William Heinrich

In I Corinthians 6:1, Paul states, “Dare any of you having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints.” In 6:7, he continues, “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?” This is not a wholesale condemnation of law courts, for Paul more than once appealed to them when accused of crimes. In fact, his appeal to Caesar was a request to be heard by the high court in the world of that day.

Paul is not stating that the courts were corrupt, nor that a believer would be unable to receive a fair hearing. However, he is deeply concerned that Christians should not parade any of their differences before the world. Family disputes were to be handled within the family. Furthermore, it is inconsistent for those justified before God to appear in judgment before the unjustified. This last point he chose to expand with logic. He says since saints will someday judge both the world and angels, they should certainly now judge among themselves. He concludes his comments on this saying that he desires to produce in them a sense of shame; shame for going to law instead of not choosing to be cheated if necessary; also shame that they made unbelievers their judges and paraded their stubborn differences before them instead of seeking a wise believer to arbitrate.

Christians are saved sinners. Sometimes they are stubborn, selfish, and even divisive. The difference between Christians and non-Christians is that one is gradually becoming more like Jesus, and the other is not. One is seen on his knees, confessing his sins, and the other is not. At times, the unbelievers will act more like Jesus than the believer, but only the one is forgiven, for he confessed his sin and trusted Christ.

Christians today must be very careful to not go to law against another Christian. He must be willing to be cheated and accept wrong. He must consider doing what God wants of him more important than his “rights” or being “fair.” No doubt many today need to be ashamed, as there were in the Corinthian church then.