1 Corinthians 5

Try to imagine what it was like in the early church.  They met in homes.  They did not have buildings for the people were the church.  Even though we have buildings to meet in the people today are still the church.  We are to serve God to the best of our ability and to honour him.

Sometimes the church may lose their way in this. I think the apostle Paul wrote 1st Corinthians and chapter 5 in particular with a heavy heart because what the church was doing was not good. It may have been well-intentioned, but it was not good.  A man was living with his father’s wife and doing this immoral act openly.

Paul was writing to a Jewish church and he made it clear that he was so appalled by this that he considered that even the Gentiles did not do such things.  The gentiles were considered to be immoral and not part of Gods people as the Jews were.  This is the strongest condemnation that the apostle could bestow upon them.

Perhaps at the time they prayed about it and hoped that the situation would go away and that the did not have to do anything. Or perhaps they thought that these people were their friends and they did not want to offend them. They may have thought, that this was sin, Jesus died for sin and rose again so therefore although they are sinning, grace would abound, and the sin is forgiven. They were wrong.

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The apostle Paul said that he was not with them in body, but he was with them in spirit. We see that the apostle loved the Corinthian Church and desired Gods best for them, but this situation was tarnishing the church

Paul did not see it that way at all. He is horrified that the situation has arisen and is stirred up to do something about it. He is concerned that the man may be truly saved and as long as nothing was done the man would not repent.  He likens the situation to the Passover feast, clearing out the old leaven.   The feast of the Passover was an act of remembrance of how God was merciful when the Jews were in Egypt under slavery and God killed all the firstborn unless blood was over the door. In that case, the angel of death passed over.  In this case, the man was abusing that privilege of forgiveness with his lifestyle.  I note that Paul does not seem to concern himself with the woman, so perhaps she was not a member of the church.  He states that he had told them in a previous letter not to associate with the immoral, but he meant the immoral in the church.  The church must associate with the immoral outside the church, pleading with them to forsake their sin.  As Paul only talks about the man, I think she did not attend the church with him, but that is only speculation on my part, and I could be wrong.  The point is that sin in the church should not be permitted to go on, particularly as it is public sin.  Everyone in the church knew about it and news had spread to the apostle.

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As an apostle, Paul had the authority to judge the church.  He used that authority in the strongest terms saying that he was delivering the man to Satan for the destruction of his flesh that his spirit may be saved.  I see mercy in that judgment.  The man was sinning in the flesh.   The flesh we have now will pass away, but we all need to be concerned that our spirits are saved and that one day we will rise from the dead in new bodies.  This was Pauls desire for the man.

Paul did not tell the church to give the man a stern talking to.  The sin was public, and the church discipline had to be equally public.  He told them to put the man out of the church.  The intention was that the man had to be out of fellowship with the church until he repented and put the woman out of his life.  We know from what Paul wrote later that the church did put him out, but then would not let him back into fellowship when he repented, so Paul had to tell them to welcome him back into fellowship and forgive him.

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We need to be living godly lives and if we are aware that there are things going on our churches that are not pleasing to God, then God expects us to do something about it.

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