Day 58…1 Corinthians 5:1-5:

April 18, 2011 at 9:59 AM Leave a comment

I Corinthians 5:1-5: Immorality in the church

In this chapter Paul has to deal with an unfortunate ugly situation that has happened in the church at Corinth, that should never have happened if they had listened to his teaching. They needed to remove the sinner among them.

v.1, A report had gotten to Paul about “sexual immorality going on among [the Cornithian Church].” A man had been “living in sin with his step-mother.” But what the worse thing about this affair was that the church members had been unwilling to discipline this man. Paul went as far to say that this sin was disgusting that even the “pagans don’t do it.” It is not clear how the affair happened but what was clear even the pagans (unbelievers) would have shuddered at this sexual immorality. The Jews considered this against the law (Leviticus 18:8, 20:11) and the Romans had laws against it as well. This act was forbidden.

v.2, Paul continues on with his exhortation to the believers and asks a very important question “why aren’t you mourning in sorrow and shame? They were not even mourning the sin in their church, let alone dealing with it, that Paul tells them clearly what they need to do with another question “why haven’t you removed this man from your fellowship?” The Corinthian believer’s pride and arrogance had lead them to allow flagrant sin among their members (possibly even a leader in the church). Paul tells them they need to discipline this flagrant sin, such sin left undisciplined will affect the whole church and cause division and paralyzation.

v.3, Even though the Corinthian believers had failed to discipline this man, Paul (not “physically present” possibly 100’s of miles away) tells them what to do, then he told them he is “with [them] in spirit.” Paul was not just flippantly saying this, no, he really was saying he knew what needed to be done and he was telling them what to do as if he was actually there as their church founder and with authority of an apostle.

v.4-5, in the next few verses Paul describes in detail what they need to do to deal with the sinner among them. Take note that Paul is talking about a believer, not an unbeliever!

 3 things need to be done:

  1. Call a meeting of all the church members (the whole congregation needed to be present to support the action that needs to take place)
  2. Paul will be present in spirit & so will the power of Jesus (refers to spiritual action needs to take place)
  3. Throw the man out and hand him over to Satan (they weren’t actually handing him over to Satan–this was to force him to see the consequences of living in sin within Satan’s sphere of influence) so that his sinful nature will be destroyed (by taking him out of the fellowship of the church, his hope was this man would face his sinful nature head on and repent) and if he faced his sinful nature and repented he would be saved on the day the Lord returns (Paul hoped this disciplinary action would be of eternal benefit to the man in the end. Discipline should never be out of vengeance or be vindictive but it should be to restore and redeem the person that has sinned)

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO ME? Not just Paul, but God takes sin in the church seriously, so much so that he wants all sin removed and destroyed. However you can always see God’s love shine through even as Paul says that his hope is this sinner will repent and “be saved on the day the Lord returns.” Even when God disciplines us, he shows his love.

I am reminded of the statement I heard many times when being disciplined: “I’m doing this because I love you.” This passage really shows that. Paul not only gives the Corinthian believers the details on how to take action on this man’s sin and discipline him but he hopes the man will repent and be restored back into the fellowship of believers.

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?  To really take this passage to heart I need to do a heart-check or a better way of saying that is to take inventory of my sins. To see if there is any sins I am harbouring. Sins that I am holding onto. Sins I am still committing as a believer–over and over again. Ask God for forgiveness, repent, crucify my old sinful nature and start living for God again.

Entry filed under: Journey Thru the Bible.

Day 12 & 13 of the reno Day 14 of the reno

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