The apostle Paul seemed surprised by the things going on in the Corinthian church. The church was dividing itself based on members’ preferences of church leaders. A church member apparently was sleeping with his step-mother, and the church was bragging about it. Church members were suing each other in court. Sexual immorality remained a problem in the church as some still seemed to be visiting prostitutes – and not even hiding that fact.
Paul asked a lot of rhetorical questions in Chapter 6. I think he was trying to evoke a response from them. He asked, “Do you not know …”
“… that the saints will judge the world?”
“… that we are to judge angels?”
“… that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?”
“… that your bodies are members of Christ?”
“… that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her?”
“… that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?”
It almost is as if Paul was asking the Corinthian Christians – that he is asking us – “Do you not know who you are?”
The prophet Daniel received a vision from God and of God. And in that vision, he saw the kingdoms of the world being judged. And he saw who was entrusted with making those ultimate judgments. You might be surprised to find out that it was the people of God.
“And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; his kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him” (Daniel 7:27).
A lot can be said about this passage, but suffice it say that judgment and dominion requires wisdom. And the people of God – indwelt by the Holy Spirit – are full of the wisdom needed to judge the world.
So why, Paul asked the Corinthian church, would we go seek out the judgment of the secular courts and the wisdom of the unrighteous, who have no standing in the church and who will not inherit the kingdom of God? On the Last Day, it will be the Christians who will judge the world on matters of much greater importance than petty lawsuits!
“Do you not know” who you are?
If we put our faith in Jesus Christ and are filled with the Holy Spirit, something wonderful happens to us. And it is not just a theoretical “something.” It is very real and very lasting. Christians have all the wisdom they need to judge matters big and small. This is not to take anything away from people who are distant from the kingdom of God. But it is to note we ought never to disregard the gifts God has given us in Christ.
This passage reminded me of Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32). At some point, the prodigal son got hungry. He was feeding pigs, and the pigs’ food started looking really good to him.
And then the young man remembered who he was. He “came to himself,” Jesus said. Because of who he was – simply by being born to the father to whom he was born – the young man had everything he needed already. He just had to wake up and reach out his hand.
“Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ” … and “that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit?” So why would we seek out secular wisdom when we have the full depth of the wisdom of God? And why would we seek out pleasure from prostitutes when we have something so holy and precious residing in our souls?
Don’t we know who we are? “You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. … You are not your own, for you were brought with a price. So glorify God with your body.”
We ought not to forget who we are as children of God. We have everything we need. The task now is to trust in that.