Monday, March 25, 2024

Put the Evil Person Away (1 Corinthians 5:19-13)

"I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people" (1 Cor. 5:9).

Before writing this letter to the Corinthians, Paul had sent another to them commanding them to separate themselves from sexually immoral brothers. The Corinthian Church either misunderstood Paul or they tried to avoid the issue by distorting his command, claiming that it was impossible to obey because Christians cannot avoid contact with profane, wicked people. To clear up the confusion, Paul writes the Corinthians again to clarify his point.

Paul commanded the church to separate themselves, not from the world, but from those in the church who claimed to be Christians but lived as fornicators, extortioners, and idolaters. While Christians cannot help doing business and communicating with unbelievers, they can do something about the professed Christian in their midst who lives like an unbeliever.

The commands expressed in this passage are very clear and yet are often overlooked in many churches today. Paul makes it undeniably clear that a Christian cannot continue to live in sin while enjoying the benefits of church communion and Christian fellowship. Those who are sexually immoral, who want things they do not have, who extract gain through unjust means, who carry out practices or beliefs that are idolatrous, and who are drunkards, such people cannot continue to be embraced by the church. Paul also makes it expressly clear that the church must not tolerate such behavior, but that it should put away such people from their midst and not even eat with them. These are hard words, but they are necessary for the good of the church and for the individual that has yet to live as he or she professes.

Matthew Henry wrote, “as to members of the church, they are within, are professedly bound by the laws and rules of Christianity, and not only liable to the judgment of God, but to the censures of those who are set over them, and the fellow-members of the same body, when they transgress those rules. Every Christian is bound to judge them unfit for communion and familiar converse. They are to be punished, by having this mark of disgrace put upon them, that they may be shamed, and, if possible, reclaimed thereby: and the more because the sins of such much more dishonor God than the sins of the openly wicked and profane (those of the world) can do.”

Is there anyone you associate with who claims to be a Christian but lives like an unbeliever? If so, you need to confront them with their sin and if they refuse to repent, remove yourself from their company. Maybe you are living in some kind of sin that brings dishonor to God. If so, confess your sin, repent of it, and bring glory to Christ.