v1-8 - The Corinthian church was tolerating a sin so wicked that it made even the most pagan sinner blush. It's so wrong that Paul doesn't even need to address why it's wrong. Rather, he takes the church to task for not addressing the issue. Paul's instruction is to hand this sinner over to Satan (v5), but notice that's not to be done out of spite or anger, but rather as an act of grace. Satan, by the ordinary means of this sinful world, will allow this man to pursue his sinful inclinations to their natural conclusion, and in doing so, this man will very painfully kill off his old sinful self. Even in the midst of this strong instruction to either eliminate the sin or eliminate the sinner, there's a really interesting statement that Paul makes, almost as an aside. He writes "When you are assembled... the power of our Lord Jesus is present... (v4)." That's an amazing fact: when we assemble as God's people in response to His call to worship, Jesus is present! In our society, tolerance has become a god in and of itself, and unfortunately this attitude has seeped it's way into many churches. V6-7 use the illustration of yeast to demonstrate why just a little bit of toleration of sin can ruin the entire loaf.
v9-12 - Your intolerance for sin doesn't mean you can not associate with sinners. Otherwise, as v10 indicates, you wouldn't be able to associate with anybody. It's so easy to get worked up about how sinful our society is becoming, often in the name of tolerance, but as a Christian, you've not been tasked with judging or eliminating sin from those outside the church (v12 - although we bear responsibilities as citizens to ensure our society reflects Godly values; there's a bit of tension in these doctrines as you can see). You are called to be judgmental, however. Here are the conditions that necessitate judgment (v11):
the person identifies as a Christian
unrepentantly continues in public sin
you must not associate with them - do not even eat with them.
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
Look at the footnote in the NIV for v13 ("expel the wicked person from you"). Notice how many OT passages are referenced: Deuteronomy 13:5; 17:7; 19:19; 21:21; 22:21, 24; 24:7. Does this help make it clear that our Holy God will not tolerate those who continue to unrepentantly sin?
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: The unrepentant sinner was to be handed over to Satan for the __________ of his flesh so that his __________ may be saved (v5).
Why do you think it's such an insult to Christ tolerate sin in His church?
Why do you think it's important to distinguish between repentant and unrepentant sinners in the church?
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who will judge all people, both inside and outside the church (v13)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask for insight to identify and turn away from your own unrepentant sins, and courage to confront those who's action drag the entire church down.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: