Let us be honest there are some points in these two chapters that are hard for us to swallow in our modern culture and our modern philosophy of thinking.
The first comes in Paul’s call for the church to throw-out the member that is living in open sin, and as Paul points out such a degrading sin that even the pagans would be shocked…Paul obviously didn’t know the pagans of 2016…but I digress. This is a challenge to us because in our modern culture to disfellowship someone even those who are openly sinning and not even fellowshipping with the Lord we refuse to remove from the membership rolls. I remember back at my old church a member wrote a very strongly worded letter against Adventism and then asked to have their name permanently removed, some on my board wanted to deny such a move saying it wasn’t our right whether to remove someone or not. In fact they were correct in this case it wasn’t our right not to remove them, we had to respect the wishes of the individual, but that is not what was meant.
The second challenging concept to our minds is this, Paul states that this removal from the membership is to in fact save the individual that has fallen,
“I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” 1 Corinthians 5:5
This is a challenge because almost no one in our modern culture believes firm discipline from a church actually works towards the salvation of an individual. By the way…if they repent we don’t kick them out or we let them back in (that is a little preview of 2 Corinthians dealing with this exact story 🙂 )
The third challenging point Paul makes is that we aren’t to hang out with a whole litany of people, but he isn’t talking about those outside who are professed secularists, which I believe means he expects us to spend time with these people, also a challenge to many a Christian mind. No Paul writes we shouldn’t hang-out with those in the church that are known to be living in these ways…which leads to…
The fourth challenge. Paul tells us to judge those within the church. I know, I know, “thou shalt not judge” people use it all the time. The concept is judging the heart of an individual or condemning them to eternal separation from God which did happen in Jesus’ day and probably still does today, but Paul is very clear as was Jesus if we really read His words closely…all of them…we are to judge the sinful actions of our fellow believers…not our preferences or cultural biases. Not our tastes or personal pet peeves but real thus saith The Lord stuff. If someone is smoking and destroying the temple of God we are allowed to say that is sin. The people we aren’t supposed to judge…their actions, are those outside the church. Why? Because I believe the point Paul is making is that those inside the church know better, thus judgement can take place, those outside, don’t and until they do we should not condemn their practices or them in association with their practices.
In chapter 6 the challenges to our modern way of thinking continue!
Challenge number five–we are not to sue our fellow Christians in the worlds courts! Paul tells us we should have enough common sense within the church to decide and mediate such disputes. Wow! Can you imagine that?
Challenge six ties into the above it would be better for us to be wrong and defrauded than to go before the public courts with Christian opposing Christian.
Challenge seven: Paul indicates that it is the intimate act of sex that makes a person one with another. People can’t be frivolous in this area and not therefore expect their hearts to suffer more than with other sin. Paul then amps up the consequences of sexual sin…not the eternal consequences, the person who commits a sexual sin and does not turn away from it and receive the forgiveness of Jesus is not any worse off than the person who was greedy and did not turn away from it and receive the forgiveness of Jesus…but the temporal consequences of sexual sin are more destructive to us here on this earth. I used to think that when Paul writes,
“Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.” (1 Cor. 6:18)
That this had something to do with the physical act and the physical consequences I now think due to the statement above about the “two becoming one” the sin is a sin against one’s own body because it damages the heart–the emotions of a person. David told us in the Psalms to, “guard our hearts” our hearts are hurt when we go down this path when not in God’s will. I am thankful for grace that we can get back to glorifying God with our bodies in spite of past mistakes!…but we do walk with a limp after such encounters.
These two chapters have a lot of challenges for those in our modern society. We would be weird if we lived by them but I think we may be more happy.
I like the practical approach of 1 Corinthians thus far…it is easier for me to grasp then the philosophical approach of much of Romans.
Happy Sabbath Y’all!
Tomorrow’s Reading: Genesis 40-43