Free to Do Whatever?
Loving Father, show me Your heart as I dive into Your Word today.
Read 1 Corinthians 5:1–13
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, 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 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.”
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat does the word “holiness” mean to you? What kinds of behavior might be defined as “unholy” in today’s society?
None of us likes to be described as “prudish,” “irrelevant,” “judgmental” or “old-fashioned.” And many of us are hesitant to challenge others over their behavior, especially in relation to their sex lives, which are simultaneously held to be private (“mind your own business”) and flaunted publicly.
Paul didn’t have such qualms. What is it that makes him so outraged by the behavior of the man in this passage? Notice how concerned Paul is about the public impact of the man’s behavior on the rest of the church (6). This is not at root a matter of ethics or social mores; for Paul, everything goes back to theology—his understanding of what God has accomplished in Christ. He relates this to the Passover—Israel’s greatest experience of redemption. The behavior is outrageous because they clearly have not properly grasped the significance of what God has done. How different is that to how we would react?
Just how seriously does he take it? How does Paul think the church should behave towards the person in question (9–11)? When was the last time you encountered church discipline in action?
Are you hesitant or too “shy” to confront outrageous behavior when you see it? How would Christ respond?
Jesus, give me Your heart as I navigate the issues of our culture. Show me Your wisdom as I confront sin in love to bring restoration.
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