|1 Corinthians 5 |
1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as is not even named among the Gentiles — that one should have his father's wife!
2 And you are proud! And have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you.
3 For truly, though I am absent in body, I am present in spirit, and have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him who has done this deed.
4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
5 You are to deliver such a person to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.1
6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?2
7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you really are unleavened. For Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.
8 Therefore, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9 I wrote to you in a letter not to keep company with those who are sexually immoral.
10 But not with the immoral of this world, or with the covetous, or oppressive cheaters, or with idolaters; for then you would have to depart out of the world.
11 But now I write to you not to keep company with any man who calls himself a Christian and is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an oppressive cheater; do not even eat with such a person.3 [Paul has defined covetousness as idolatry. Whatever we want or value, we worship, and how one spends their free time defines their devotion.]
12 For while I have no business judging those who are outside the church, are you not supposed to judge those who are within the church?
13 But those who are outside the church, God judges. Therefore expel that wicked person from among yourselves.
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1 The soul can be destroyed, but the spirit of a man lives on. See Is There Hope for All for more information on this distinction.
2 A little leaven affects the whole loaf; Paul is saying that if you tolerate obviously immoral sin from one member of your church, the whole body can be drawn into the deceitfulness of sin, ruining the entire body.
3 Paul says do not associate in friendship with any person who calls themselves a Christian, who practices sexual immorality, is covetous, an idolater, a railer, a drunkard, or a dishonest cheat of others. From George Fox's Letter on Covetousness:
So the apostle here does not speak of the fornicators, and covetous idolaters,* and extortionists of the world, who were without; for God judges such. But the saints, the apostles, and the true church were to judge those who practiced such things within the church, showing the true christian's church had a power; and not to keep company nor to eat with such, professing Christ, that were of such practices, knowing that the unrighteous should not inherit the kingdom of God, nor drunkards, nor fornicators [sexually immoral], thieves, railers [verbally abusive], extortionists, nor covetous idolaters; they that lived in these evils, were not like to inherit the kingdom of God; for they were defiled, unwashed, and not sanctified nor justified, etc. So that if the saints did keep company, or did eat with such unwashed, unsanctified, unjustified persons, or have fellowship with them, they took the members of Christ and joined them to an harlot; for he that is joined to an harlot, is one body; ‘for two,’ said he, ‘shall be one flesh.’
* Paul has defined covetousness as idolatry. Whatever we want or value, we worship, and how one spends their free time defines their devotion. An idolater is someone who values anything equal to or greater than God. This could be possessions, pastimes, pleasures, friends, etc.
And if you are not even to eat with such Christians who are practicing such sin, then do you think you are allowed to fellowship with them in the name of the Lord?
Not that you are already so pure, and others are not; no, it is the difference in obligation, hope, and faith that separates us, until we are purified. By your disassociating yourself in hopes of becoming pure, you may eventually be able to help them; greater love has no man than he who lays down his life for his friends. The people in the deficit sects, however well-intentioned they are, believe they are justified in continuing in sin — and that Jesus does not want them to become pure, and furthermore that Jesus cannot purify them — they are unbelievers in the true Jesus, the true hope, and the true faith: what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?
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