Archive for November 20th, 2019

1 Corinthians 5:11-13

In 1 Corinthians 5:11-13 Paul hands down some pretty strong guidance for how we should live as Christ Followers. The short version is that if we know someone who is guilty of sin, we should avoid them. Does this mean habitual sinners, or everyone who sins. If the later we’ll have a pretty quiet existence because all have sinned and fall short of God’s obedience. Paul is referring here to habitually make the choice to continue in a sinful behavior even after being confronted or convicted about it. All sin is a choice. Satan doesn’t make us sin. We choose to sin, sometimes helped along that path by the enemy or people we associate with, but make no mistake that all sin is a choice we make first and foremost.

Paul is warning us not to hang out with people who might lead us into the ongoing choice to continue in a sin, or may actually bring us along into a new area of sinfulness. We certainly don’t need those kind of influences in our life. So he warns us not to associate with them, even to the point of sharing a meal together. We need to isolate ourselves and be sure we don’t intentionally do things that will cause us to fall. “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.”

Does Paul’s directive apply to people around us who are not Christ Followers? The text seems to indicate that what matters is those who are Christ Followers. They have a different level of accountability and expectation to keep. So while it wold be easy to apply the same filter to all, Paul is clear it begins within the body of Christ. God’s standards must first be applied to those who call Him Lord. We may prefer to do it the other way around, but that is not God’s way. He’s about cleaning His house first, and we play a role in that process, first in cleaning up the sin in our own life, and then by confronting sin in the lives of other Christ Followers we are connected with. “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?”

Paul summarizes his teaching on sin very succinctly. God alone will address the sins of the world. That’s not our job from within the body of Christ. “God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” What is our responsibility is to purge sin from within the walls of the church. Not by pointing fingers or posting pictures on social media. It has to begin with ourselves and an honest assessment of where we fall short and have a sin problem. Scripture is clear that we do – so this isn’t a case where some get a pass and others have to change their ways. We look inside, we look at the lives of those around us, and we deal with sin or should face the reality that the church should discipline us until we choose to live God’s way.

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