King's Business - 1917-10



world (vi. 2-4; cf. Daniel vii. 22; Matthew xix. 28; Luke xxii. 30; 2 Peter ii. 4; Jude 6; Revelation xx. 4). The cure for the spirit of litigation is indicated as Christian arbitration (Mat­ thew xviii. 15-20); willingness to take wrong for Christ’s sake rather than to suffer litigation in the world’s courts (1 Corinthians vi. 4-6; cf. 1 Peter ii. 23— Jesus; 1 Corinthians iv. 12—Paul); a deeper spirituality (vi. 2—“Know ye not?”) ; and a recognition of the relation­ ship existing between believers and Christ (vi. 8). Because litigation between believing brethren is a defrauding or overreaching of a brother; a wrong testimony to give before the world; a failure to recognize the body of Christ; hurtful to oneself, to one’s brother, to the Church, and to the cause of Christ; a confession of the weakness of the Church; and an insult to the intelli­ gence of Christianity—it is therefore an unrighteous and unchristian action. We do well to understand the real ques­ tion discussed in this section. Is it a ques­ tion of litigation per se, or in itself con­ sidered? Is it wrong for a Christian to appeal to the criminal (not the civil) courts? Are government and law for the discipline of the ungodly of divine ordina­ tion or not (Romans xiii. 1-10) ? Did Paul appeal to the law for protection (Acts xxv. 10-12, 21; xxvi. 32)? Again, is it wrong for a believer to go to law against an unbeliever, or does the sin consist only in the believer going to law with a believer ? Further, how much weight is to be attached to the condition of Christianity at that time and to the fact that there were no Chris­ tian courts, as contrasted with present con­ ditions of jurisprudence? 5. Christian Liberty Does Not Allow License in Such Matters— Self- Judgment (vi. 12-20 ). Christian liberty is not to be construed as license (cf. Romans vi. 15-22). The use of the body' for purposes of immorality was common in Corinth, particularly in connec­ tion with the worship of heathen gods,

enjoining forgiveness and the suffering of wrongs, according to the example and teaching of Christ, as fundamental. We can easily imagine how this law of fraternal love was grossly violated^ when believers in Christ fought, the one with the other, before a heathen tribunal for what they considered their rights. It is as though the apostle said, Do not invoke the courts to decide matters between yourselves. The Church is to judge the world; why, then, should the. Church call upon the world to judge it? Even the Jews were taught that they must not bring their cases befdre Gen­ tile courts for adjudication. Any violation of this teaching was regarded as blasphemy against this law. Further, the Roman gov­ ernment allowed the Jews the privilege of bringing their grievances before Jewish, rather than Roman tribunals. Inasmuch as there were no Christian courts, strictly speaking, in those days, and inasmuch as the judges were heathen judges, there remained nothing else for believers to do but to adjudicate their difficulties within the Church itself. But further, in bringing lawsuits one against another, they were not only injur­ ing the cause of Christ and giving the world an opportunity to rail against Chris­ tianity; they were, in injuring their broth­ ers, injuring themselves (vi. 7, 8). The litigants had overlooked the truth of the solidarity of believers. In the light of this great truth such litigation is suicide. The result of the sin of litigation, there­ fore, is seen in its effects on the outside world, on the Church, on the individuals themselves, and on their relation to Christ. The existence of occasions for such law­ suits indicated a very low level of Chris­ tian experience (vi. 7); shows no confi­ dence in the body of Christ (vi. 4-6) ; gave heathen tribunals occasion to gloat over the faults of the Church (vi. 1, 2) ; mani­ fested an unwillingness to suffer for Christ’s sake (vi. 7); showed a lack of faith in the justice of God (vi. 7), and a failure to realize the position of the Church in the matter of judging angels and the

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