1 Corinthians Chapter 6 vs 9 to 20 – A Holiness too Big for Heaven - JS Gillespie 

The Corinthians were not consistent in very much 

At least they were consistent in one thing; their failure to judge! 

To judge: 

Moral problems (chp 5) 
Material problems (chp 6) 
Marital problems (chp 7) 
Spiritual problems in the meeting  (chp 10ff) 

Why was this?  We're they: 

Doctrinally confused?  (cf Rom 6:1ff) 
Morally compromised?  (1 Co 6) 
Spiritually corrupted?  (1 Co10) 
Socially constrained?  -  the multicultural and inclusive society of 1 Corinthians chp 1 to stay together had to be permissive. 

Whatever the reason they did not wish to or could not take a stand.  

Chapter 6 thus commences with the issue of: 

Public Justice (6:1-8) or Public Righteousness 

From 6:9ff we move from Public Righteousness to: 

Personal Righteousness (6:9ff) 

Do we need personal righteousness?  

It may seem self evident that we do; that righteousness is by definition good. 

Ask the man in the street; 'is righteousness / fairness / justice a good thing?'  or do you wish to live in a fair or just society I'm sure every one would agree. 

The French revolution: 'Liberty,  egality,  fraternity' 

Robert Burns,;' A Man's a Man For A That' 

“A prince can make a belted knight, 
A marquis, duke, and all that, 
But an honest man's above his might. 
Good faith, he mustn't fault that! 
For all that and all that, 
Their dignities and all that. 
The pith of sense and pride of worth 
Are higher rank than all that.” 

Righteousness and justice are well recognised and valued attributes. 

But why is personal righteousness important? 

It is here that the Biblical text and the God given answer diverge from the simple and pragmatic thinking of ordinary men. 

For people and societies fairness and justice is important because of our: 

Relationships with one another 

If I am going to buy a pound of mince off of you,  I want to know that when I part with my money I do actually get a pound of mince and that I don't get diddles and sold 3/4 pound of mince. 

If I buy medicines from the chemist I need to know that if the box says it contains penicillin,  it does actually contain penicillin and not just talcum powder.  

If I immunise my children with vaccine to protect them from measles,  I need to have confidence that this is what I have in fact been sold,  this is what the laboratory has put in the vial; it is indeed measles vaccine. 

If I have the misfortune to end up in court I want to have confidence that my case  will be dealt with fairly 

This also is a concern in scripture of course: 

Lev 19:35-37 
Deut 25:13-16 
Prov 16:11 
Prov 20:10 
Prov 20:23 
Micah 6:11 

In essence this is a concern of the first 8 verses of 1 Corinthians chp 6 

1 Corinthians chapter 6 goes beyond that to: 

Relationship with one Another (6:1-8) 
Citizenship in the Kingdom (6:9-11) 
Fellowship with God (6:12-20) 

Citizenship in the Kingdom (6:9-11) 

Why bother with Righteousness? 

It's my problem isn't it? 

It's my business isn't it? 

It's only me who suffers? 

There is a Kingdom to inherit 

Righteousness is an essential attribute for inheriting the Kingdom 

V9: 'shall not inherit the Kingdom' 

V10: 'shall inherit the kingdom...' 

V11 -  Washed 

V11 -  Sanctified 

V11 -  Justified 

The Power of Righteousness (6:12) 

Righteousness liberates from the power and dominion of sin over us 

How often have we observed the alcoholic or the drug addiction as they pursue their chosen path; and it becomes so apparent to us that it is not hem who control the vice but the vice which is in control of them? 

In reality this is not limited to substance abuse,  but is true of all sin; cf Romans chp 6 & 7. 

Fellowship with God (6:12-20) 

It is not a law based,  legal or rules based Righteousness 

This is very important when it comes to chapter 7 

It is what is expedient: sumphero : 4851 : 'to bring together in one place' : to be profitable,  advantageous, to contribute or bring together for the benefit of another 

This word 'expedient'  turns out to be pretty critical here,  for it raises the question as to what really constitutes an advantage. 

The Purpose of Righteousness (6:13) 

Relationship with one another (6:1-8) 
Citizenship in the Kingdom 
Fellowship with God (6:13ff)


Notes from a sermon preached  as part of our systematic bible study series on 1 Corinthians. 

Free audio, mp3 downloads  available above, of these messages as we expound verse by verse through the first epistle of Paul to the Corinthians. 

Yours by Grace in Christ 

Dr J Stewart Gillespie