1 Corinthians 5
-Paul now gets specific with the issues that plague the Corinthian church in their fleshly (sarkinos) living pattern that is bringing in sin upon sin into the body of Christ making it impure and diluted. He begins with a situation where a man in the congregation has taken his father’s wife (not specifically stated as his mom, but it could have been, it was more than likely a step-mom situation) in sexual immorality and was actually bragging about it as being alright (1 Corinthians 5:1-2, 6). Paul shames the individual by saying this kind of activity is not even tolerated among the pagan unbelievers of the region and that this one should be removed immediately from among them. Paul, being there with them by Spirit, delivers this one over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that this man’s spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord (1 Corinthians 3:15; 5:3-5). *Application* Paul’s reasoning should be understandable enough for us. A little leaven leavens the whole lump (1 Corinthians 5:6-8). We know the baking process and how leaven in the dough makes the whole loaf of bread rise. Unleavened bread biblically is a symbol of purity and perfection, which Christ wants in His people. This should be our expectation as we seek with all our heart to become more and more like Him. The point Paul was making needs to be properly understood. This particular man was being arrogant in the face of doing something horribly wrong and infecting the church with his blatant sinful conduct. In other words, his heart wasn’t right. Paul was all about reconciliation when trespasses occurred (1 Corinthians 4:14, Galatians 6:1, 1 Thessalonians 5:14, 2 Thessalonians 3:15) as long as there was a repentant heart. This situation was different because there was defiance and boasting in the face of correction. When a believer will not turn to the Lord when rebuked and remains stubborn in sin, hard and even drastic measures are called for as we see here in this passage.
-We need to celebrate the festival (i.e. the gathering of believers, the church) not with the old leaven of malice and evil (willful disobedience), but with unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1 Corinthians 5:8). This indicates a serious nature to the activity of the Lord’s body. We are told by Paul, through the Holy Spirit, not to even associate with sexually immoral, greedy, idolatrous, reviling, drunkard, or swindling (deceitful, cheating, two-faced, false) people that claim to be believers (1 Corinthians 5:9, 11). In fact Paul says not to even eat with such a one. He is not talking about those outside the body of Christ, which he makes clear in verse 10, but those who claim Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior and still live in a perverted manner. The point should be clear that true Christians should live separated lives from the world while welcoming into the Kingdom of God those who are lost and seeking the truth of salvation. God judges those outside the church, not us, but we have every right and responsibility to purge the evil person from the church who is creating immoral influences on the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 5:12-13). Judgment begins at the house of God (1 Peter 4:17-19). *Application* I personally would want to be corrected by the church than by the Living God when I am in a trespass, provided they did it correctly in love and for a redemptive purpose. If we take care of each other to ensure holy and righteous living on this earth, God will not need to judge us with consequences we don’t desire. This is what we need to understand from this passage. Iron must sharpen iron (Proverbs 27:17).
Verse to Memorize- 1 Corinthians 5:6