This… is a very, VERY important lesson for believers, today.
One of the biggest, in my opinion. Shall we dig in?
It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. vs 1.
This WHOLE chapter is about separation, and this is the ‘court case’ that we’re going to look at as an example. Remember, First Corinthians was written to the church in Corinth. These are believers who have accepted Messiah as Savior. And apparently there’s some sleeping around with inappropriate partnering going on. Here’s what Paul says we should do about sin (ANY sin, not just fornication):
And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. vs. 2.
The first thing they’re to do is to mourn for sin, and be regretful that it was a part of their congregation.
For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, vs 3.
Next he says that we should (using his example) JUDGE the person who has sinned. Say what? That’s right. Messiah Himself in John 7:24 says that we are to ‘judge righteous judgment’. It’s one of our jobs as believers. But… what about ‘judge not, lest ye be judged?!?!, you ask. Yeah. We’ll get there in just a minute. Hang on… we’re still going thru what we’re supposed to do, first.
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, vs. 4
Note that the first two things to be done are personal, or things that we do ourselves. Next up are the two things to be done as a congregation, or gathering of brethren… and here’s the first: we’re to gather together to address the problem. There IS a problem. And it doesn’t get tolerated or ignored.
To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. vs. 5
Then the group takes action. They kick out (or ex-communicate, although that’s a little Catholic for me) the person from the brethern. Yeah, this action would not be considered luvving in this day and age. Yehovah wouldn’t be considered luvving, either. But this is what the Bible says. Either you believe it and adhere to it, or you don’t. It can’t be claimed and yet dismissed. Sorry.
Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. vs 6-8
Ah! A feast reference… and just as Passover is coming up! First, WHY would Paul use an analogy of the Passover feast? For one thing, these aren’t Jews, they’re Corinthians. If what today’s christians say is true, the Jewish law (and feasts) and Old Testament doesn’t apply anymore – Jee-zuss replaced all of that old stuff. And yet here we have a New Testament, POST-Ascension teaching about the feasts made by Paul to a group of people not Jewish and not even living in Israel. Why would he expect them to ‘get’ his little illustration… UNLESS THEY WERE FEAST-KEEPERS?!!? Ah-ha! That’s just got to hurt, christianity. I’m just sayin’.
This little illustration of making sure sin doesn’t beset the believers should be really obvious to feast-keepers. If you’re not one, then basically during Passover, a lamb is slain (and eaten, and the blood put on the doorposts), and then the Torah-observant believers go without any leavened food for a week. This is because leaven is illustrative of sin, and after Messiah’s gift, He’s taken away our sin. Paul’s saying KEEP IT that way. He didn’t die in vain, and His followers should be showing a marked difference.
I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: vs. 9
This isn’t the first time that Paul has warned believers not to have blatant sin happening among believers. And I say ‘sin’ and not ‘fornicators’, because in a second, he’s going to open this up to ALL kinds of sin, and I figure we might as well just face that, now. But now he’s going to cause your heads to spin, again, with this NEXT statement:
Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. vs 10
He says, “DO NOT keep company with sinners… but this admonition excludes unbelievers.“ Whoa, what? Yeah. He clarifies his statement with a ‘you can’t separate from everyone, and you shouldn’t anyhow. After all, Messiah hung with adultresses, publicans and pharisees… tax-collectors and the smarmy people.’ Now WHY are we allowed to hang with sinful nonnies? Because for gosh sakes, they’re not going to hold to Truth – that’s WHY they’re nonnies! Remember that verse about ‘judging righteous judgment’ that I quoted up there, earlier? Yeah! That’s for believers – RIGHTEOUS people. We judge them. You remember that verse you would’ve flung at me from Matthew 7:1 – ‘Judge not, lest ye be judged’? That applies to non-believers. We don’t judge them. We can’t hold them up to God’s standard, because they don’t even claim to abide by that standard. Get it?
And in case you think I’m making this up or twisting up Paul’s words? He totally confirms what I just told you with the next verses:
But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person. vs 11-13
He spells it right out, there. It’s the guy who says he’s a follower of Messiah who’s sinning that we are to separate from. NOT unbelievers. We can be friends with gays, liars, drunks… as long as they are NOT believers. Because they’re the world. Honestly, what do you expect the world to do, hello? OF COURSE they’re not going to obey scripture! But believers? Those are the people we’re supposed to hold accountable to what they say they believe.
This is NOT how the church does things. The church today? It segregates away from nonnies and hangs in little cliques, and then brushes their dirt under the rug and pretend they’re holy and luvving and are really a big ol’ disobedient pond of scum. It’s truly craptastic, anymore.
Paul’s message? Oh, yeah, it still totally applies, today.