Monday, February 7, 2011
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.
1 Corinthians 5:11
The second major problem in the Corinthian church was moral laxity. They tolerated gross immorality in their midst. A case of open incest was becoming something celebrated within the church. When these facts reached the ears of Paul, it moved him to teach this church how to confront this sin. He made it very clear that the church cannot expect those outside the church to live morally (1 Corinthians 5:10). But the church must use its authority as the Body of Christ to teach, reprove, and hold accountable those who chose to live in sexual sin and yet claim to be followers of Jesus.
Paul lumps it into the a list of deep personally impacting sins such as greed, idolatry, hatefulness, substance abuse, and financial swindling. None of these sins were to be tolerated. They were to be dealt with from within the Body of Christ. Once a person was confronted and if they refused to repent, the church was to take action (just as Jesus commanded in Matthew 18) and to no longer treat the deliberate sinner as part of the fellowship of the family. The goal was still restoration. But the church is ineffective as a gospel witness if transformed lives are not the constituency of its congregation. To allow sin full sway is to turn your back on Christ and render the gospel insignificant.
It is always time for Christians to adopt a zero tolerance for immorality and life-dominating sins. This is not for those who don't know Christ. It is for those within the Body of Christ. We should not be afraid to teach and confront this reality. We have no message if we tolerate sin. It is that simple.
- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13