At the very end of this section, Paul begins to talk about how Christians must then live. He uses strong words. We have such a temptation to water them down because we believe in the doctrine of justification by faith. It is a great, foundational doctrine and we do not want to mix in works with justification. But notice what Paul says: "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God?" He did not say, "The ‘unjustified’ will not inherit the kingdom of God," but "the wicked," those who are wicked, those who act wickedly.

I want to say something about the role of the state because although Paul does not develop it here in 1 Corinthians 6, considering another context will give us a more complete picture of this issue. What is the role of the state? Does the state have legitimate authority over the lives of Christians? One of the great illustrations of the proper role of the state is found in the trial of Jesus Christ. It was significant, not simply because it was Jesus on trial, but because Jesus stood in that position as the head of the church before Pilate, who was the representative of Caesar, the greatest power in the Roman world at the time.

Now concerning this matter of being cheated, we must understand that there is a difference between what you will endure as an individual in terms of personal conflict, and what you should endure on behalf of someone else. It is quite different for somebody to cheat me and for me to say, "Well, all right, he’s a Christian brother. Even though I'm in the right and he is in the wrong, rather than pursue this, I’ll allow myself to be cheated. He can take that and go. I’ll just count it a loss. I’ll write it off. I will trust God for the outcome." That is entirely appropriate on an individual basis.

Let us look further at this third problem in the church that Paul discusses in chapter 6. Apparently, Christians in Corinth were taking each other to court. We have to be careful not to get the idea that somehow the courts are utterly illegitimate, because they are not. All you have to do is read the Bible to discover the contrary. In Israel God himself established judges who were to hear cases that came from the people and to deal justly in those affairs. We are also reminded that the Apostle Paul, when arrested in Jerusalem and brought before the the Roman courts, did not hesitate at all to appeal to Caesar because he was a Roman citizen, and as a result had certain rights in a Roman court.

The word litigious is relatively new in common speech. It means "prone to litigation" or "prone to go to court." The reason this is somewhat of a new word is that a proneness to go to court is something relatively new, at least in American life. Generally, when there was a dispute between people several generations ago, it was settled in an informal way by neighbors helping the opposing parties work out their differences.