1 Corinthians 5 - Root It Out
Tolerance has its place in society, but sin should never be tolerated in your life or in the church.
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1 Corinthians 5 (ESV)
1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you,
and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans,
for a man has his father’s wife.
2 And you are arrogant!
Ought you not rather to mourn?
Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
though absent in body,
I am present in spirit;
and as if present,
I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing.
4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus
and my spirit is present,
with the power of our Lord Jesus,
5 you are to deliver this man
for the destruction of the flesh,
so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
6 Your boasting is not good.
Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
7 Cleanse out the old leaven
that you may be a new lump,
as you really are unleavened.
our Passover lamb,
has been sacrificed.
8 Let us therefore
celebrate the festival,
not with the old leaven,
the leaven of malice and evil,
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 sexually immoral of this world,
or the greedy and swindlers,
since then you would need to go out of the world.
11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone
who bears the name of brother
if he is guilty
of sexual immorality
or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—
not even to eat with such a one.
12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders?
Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?
13 God judges those outside.
“Purge the evil person from among you.”
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1 Corinthians 5 Summary
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.
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.
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.
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!
We must also take note of the comprehensiveness of the sinful activities we must not tolerate in the church. As of late, the discussion has centered around sins related to human sexuality, but we are also called to root our greed, idolatry (a hugely comprehensive topic in and of itself!), and alcohol & substance abuse (v10-11).