BE FIRM ON SIN
Sovereign and generous God, I praise you in astonishment for who you are and what you have done for me.
Read 1 Corinthians 5
Dealing With a Case of Incest
5 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? 3 For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. 4 So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh,[a][b] so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.
6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister[c] but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”[d]
- 1 Corinthians 5:5 In contexts like this, the Greek word for flesh (sarx) refers to the sinful state of human beings, often presented as a power in opposition to the Spirit.
- 1 Corinthians 5:5 Or of his body
- 1 Corinthians 5:11 The Greek word for brother or sister (adelphos) refers here to a believer, whether man or woman, as part of God’s family; also in 8:11, 13.
- 1 Corinthians 5:13 Deut. 13:5; 17:7; 19:19; 21:21; 22:21,24; 24:7
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Reflect‘Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly…’ (3:1). Is there more of the world or more of Jesus in you and your church?
There’s sexual immorality everywhere in Corinth, including the church (v 1). Tolerance of sin, and even pride in it (vs 2,6), has become the norm. Rogue teaching about freedom in Christ says, ‘Live as you like – after all, you’re forgiven whatever you do!’ ‘No,’ retorts Paul. ‘Live as Jesus made you to be, “a new unleavened batch – as you really are”’ (v 7). Be untainted, be holy.
So the solution? I wonder how you respond when you read verses 2b,4,5. My immediate thought is, ‘Surely churches wouldn’t handle it like this nowadays, would they?’ Well, I suspect some would and some wouldn’t, but Paul spells it out clearly – something has to be done.
Churches must take sin seriously, especially high-profile cases such as this. Paul says nothing short of exclusion from the church will do, for the sake of the individual and the whole church – sin is infectious (v 6). But notice the purpose of this tough action (v 5b). It’s not ‘goodbye forever’, but ‘salvation’, the return of the repentant person to the church.
The church seems especially vulnerable when it comes to sexual sin. How does your church handle obvious, serious sin like this? Pray for wisdom for your own and national church leaders as they face these tough issues.
Lord, it is not easy living in a sex-saturated society. The temptation to sin is powerful. Today I put on your full armor so I can resist sin and live for your glory.
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