For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans
Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.
I Corinthians 5:1-21
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. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For 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. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 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. I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 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 greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
“…God judges those outside….” How many of us when reading this passage skipped this part and went straight to purging the evil one…? That is what we hear from among Christian brethren, a clamor to purge the evil from the land meaning of course the heathen, not anyone in our number. (yes, that was meant to be sarcastic) The question is: at what point did the Christian world begin to judge those outside the fellowship? There is much accusation of Christian believers sharing in this guilt. Paul holds a believing fellowship to high standards citing the spread of anti-God actions to others in the fellowship is much like yeast that will cause the whole loaf to rise. But it stops there. This holding one another to the standards set forth in the Word does not extend beyond the fellowship for that is the jurisdiction of God. The Holy Spirit convicts and judges those outside a believing fellowship. We are not set up as God’s policemen. We are to protect and build up one another, however. We do not adopt the standards of the world around us; when this is done the salt has lost its flavor. We are to encourage one another in love and when those among us cannot rise to the standards set in the Scripture(note: not set by members of the fellowship) then and only then are we to “Purge the evil person from among you.”