Psalm 110-112 1 Corinthians 5
“I am writing to tell you that you must not associate with those who call themselves believers in Christ but who sin sexually, or are greedy, or worship idols, or abuse others with words, or get drunk, or cheat people. Do not even eat with people like that. It is not my business to judge those who are not part of the church. God will judge them. But you must judge the people who are part of the church. The Scripture says, ‘You must get rid of the evil person among you.’” (1 Corinthians 5:11-13 NCV)
The more I read 1 Corinthians 5, the more I’m convinced that either most Christians don’t have this chapter in their Bibles or they don’t think too much about what they read. Paul exploded on the church in Corinth because they were bringing disrepute on the Church and the name of Christ by not only overlooking a serious sin, but actually celebrating their acceptance of it. Someone in the church had married, or was living with, his mother or his stepmother. Paul was livid, because the Christians in Corinth were accepting a sin so vile that everyone else in the world would condemn. Paul may have heard rumors of this problem, because in an earlier letter he had warned them not to associate with those who have sinned sexually. The Corinthians took that to mean they should judge people outside the church and stay away from “those” people but accept and love those in the Church when they committed the same sins. Their actions proclaimed to the world that they would “baptize” certain sins so that while they would condemn them when committed by people outside the church, people inside the church would be accepted by the proud Christians who forgave so easily.
Maybe I’m wrong about most Christians not reading 1 Corinthians 5. I think we tend to stop at verse 9, though, when Paul reminds the Corinthians that he had written them previously not to associate with people caught in sexual sins. He elaborated in the following verses that his prohibition on this issue, and other sins, had nothing to do with those outside the church or we might as well leave the earth. We are NOT to judge those who have not come to knowledge of Jesus Christ: that’s God’s prerogative. Our job towards people outside the church is to show them the love and grace of God. We’re to let them know of His power to forgive. Paul then gets to the point: stay away from Christians who are caught up in their sins. We obviously can’t stay away from followers of Christ who sin occasionally. Paul’s comments deal with the people who, although they claim the name of Christ and tell people that they have God’s grace, not only show no evidence of that grace, they proudly engage in their sin out in the open for all to see. These are Christians who flaunt their sexual sin, accumulate wealth – usually through devious means – and are unwilling to share it to help others in the household of faith especially, they participate in idol worship because it’s what society does – ok, we don’t have the same types of idols, but politicians, athletes, and entertainment celebrities fall into that category, they engage in verbal abuse of others instead of trying to build them up, they intoxicate themselves with alcohol or recreational drugs, or, they have a habit of cheating people. We are to judge people within the Church who flaunt their sin and expect Christians to forgive what people who don’t know God recognize as evil. We must get rid of such evil among us. Hard words, and not politically correct today, but an important reminder for us all.
Lord, thank You for Your grace and forgiveness. I didn’t deserve it. Help me to live each day with Your grace molding me to be more like You. Never let me glory in the evil of sin – whether in my own life or in the lives of others. Help me lead Christians caught up in sin to repentance, and those who don’t know You into Your grace.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved