Don’t Mess with Sin
Lord of all life, You are my guardian and my guide. I thank You for new mercies this day.
Read 1 Corinthians 5:1-13
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
What to Paul should have been an occasion for discipline was being treated as an opportunity for some self-congratulation (2). Sadly, that is still happening today in segments of the church.
A famous politician once said his party was committed to being: “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime.” Replace “crime” with “sin” for a fair summary of Paul’s message. The Corinthian Christians were beyond blasé about sin. Rather than feeling shame for the sexual misdemeanor between a man and his stepmother, which even pagans shunned, they boasted about it. Paul’s treatment of true Christian freedom (1 Cor. 6:12-20) suggests that they were proud of their liberty: “Look at us; we are not bound by restrictive law.” The antinomian temptation has plagued the church throughout its history. It finds a foothold among us when we adjust our position to avoid being seen as hardliners or discriminatory.
Sin in the Christian community should cause grief (2), and godly sorrow should lead to tough measures: “put out of your fellowship” (2,13) and handing over to Satan (5). Both actions imply a solemn act of exclusion from and withdrawal of all the privileges of Christian fellowship. Paul lends his apostolic authority to this action (3,4) as a wake-up call to those who sin arrogantly. An insipid approach to sin threatens a fall into condemnation, and, since our behavior always has an influence on others, one person sinning with impunity brings damage to the whole community (6).
Paul’s focus is on the Lord Jesus Christ: his authority as the living Lord (4), and his death to rid the world of sin (7,8). Just as the death of the Passover lamb set the people free from Egyptian slavery, so Jesus sets us free. We celebrate what it means to be freed from slavery by living distinctively, purging sin from among us and befriending sinners, as our Savior did.
Jesus could rebuke those who claimed faith but lived like sinners, while at the same time befriending notorious sinners. How can you and your church follow his example?
Sovereign Lord, I have become accustomed to sin in my life and adjusted to its presence. Jolt me with a call to repentance and lead me into a new beginning.