Tuesday, 24 June 2014
No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren!1 Corinthians 6:8
This verse should be looked at in connection with the previous verse for a full understanding of what Paul is relaying –
“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? No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren!”
He had just asked them why wouldn’t they accept wrong and even be cheated instead of going to law against one another. In his written words, it is as if he were speaking without giving them time to even explain themselves because their actions were inexcusable. And so he continues with the same thought, stating a fact that they cannot ignore – “No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat.”
They are in essence caught with their hands in the cookie jar. He has identified openly that their actions are harmful and wrong towards one another. There is a root of bitterness between the believers which has been allowed to enter into the congregation. It is something that is warned against in Hebrews 12 –
“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled…” Hebrews 12:14, 15
This “root of bitterness” is explicitly stated by Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians as something which should not be allowed. Here are his words to them –
“…no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.” 1 Thessalonians 4:6
The fact that they were cheating and doing wrong is bad enough, but what was more vile to him is that “you do these things to your brethren!” If this is how they were treating one another, then how much more disgraceful must be their actions to those who weren’t considered as brothers! It is the Lord Jesus they represent. And yet because of the things they were doing, those outside the church would certainly be inclined to say, “I want no part of that religion.”
Life application: Would you apply for a job in a company that was known for employees cheating one another and suing one another? Would you willingly join such a company, knowing in advance that there was nothing but infighting and division? Of course not! If this is the case with work, how much more do you think people will reject coming to Christ if they go into a church and see nothing but the same between believers. Our actions in church have real significance to the eyes of those who come in seeking answers to their questions about the Lord.
Lord, help me to remember that people are watching my actions and evaluating You based on what I say and do. It is so easy to forget this as distractions arise, deadlines need to be met, and as my thoughts wander to things that come to mind. Fill me with Your Spirit and keep me attuned to who I am in You so that others will see and want to know You because of how I act. This I pray to bring glory to You. Amen.