In Romans we looked extensively at the Biblical term for judging as it relates to the commonly misinterpreted, and frequently taken out of context verse, "judge not, lest you be judged" and others like it. We talked about the fact that Paul was not talking about, 'not calling sin-sin'. This point couldn't be more clear than it is in verse 1 of 1 Corinthians 5. Paul is addressing the church; the church he planted and spent 18 months with; and he's not happy:
1Corinthians 5:1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father's wife!
(ESV) It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife. The ESV version (in my way of thinking) seems to hit this harder by using the term "pagans" instead of "gentiles". In the first century (as far as I know) this is saying the same thing. Now we consider Gentiles to be non-Jews. In any case, Paul is so disgusted that he says "not even pagans would tolerate this." What Paul seems to be most disgusted with is not the sin itself, but the arrogance and willingness of this group to tolerate this sin.1Corinthians 5:2 And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. Paul is so clear here that we are to mourn over sin; not just ours, but for those in the body of Christ. As you read these next 2 verse you may need a complete paradigm shift. The knee jerk reaction might be how brutal this instruction from Paul is, but as you think it through, you will come to realize what an act of love this truly is; after all, "what does it profit a man to gain the whole world yet forfeit his soul".
1Corinthians 5:4-5 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 deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Instead, what do we see in the church buildings today? Nobody wants to call sin-sin, let alone turn someone over to Satan.
I didn't understand this next statement for a long time when I read the parables of Jesus; and Paul uses the same term here"
1Corinthians 5:6 Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? This statement used in a couple contexts makes the lesson unmistakable. We are not to tolerate false teaching (from Jesus' parable) or practicing, deliberate sin in the body of Christ. The leaven is symbolic of the poison that will spread through the Body, just as leaven spreads to the whole lump.This next verse, Paul is talking about those claiming to be brothers in Christ. He is not saying that you can't keep company with those of the world and do not know Christ; but to those that are brothers, or claiming to be brothers:1Corinthians 5:10-11 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.
11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.
WOW! Now that is a tough decision, if decision be the right word? If someone you care about (a friend, a relative) is deliberately continuing in sin you need to assess the situation....and believe me, I know this is easier said than done by a LONG SHOT. But according to The Word, we need to access whether they are a brother or sister in Christ or not. If they are not, we need to share The Gospel with them, show them the love of Christ, and reason with them to repent and flee to The Savior. If you would consider them a brother in Christ it seems to get harder; we need to confront them with their sin in private and if they don't repent, we need to take the next steps; but ultimately, if they do not repent we are not to keep company with them and deliver them over to Satan. OUCH! WOW! WHAT! I didn't write it, I just believe it.