1 Corinthians 5:1-13
5 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? 3 Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. 4 When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.
6 Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.
9 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.
12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”
Paul tells us some things in this passage that are a bit disturbing. We are told of a situation that is pretty nasty and that the church should hand him over to Satan. Apparently it is better to be kicked out of church and live in sin than to live in sin under the guise of being right with God. The next thing that is a bit disturbing is vv 12-13. We are told not to pass judgment on those outside of the church, but there is a responsibility to respond to holiness with obedience that sometimes means we have to ask people to exit our fellowship. This does not mean that everytime we disagree with someone we can excommunicate or kick them out. We also have a responsibility to lift each other up. A lot of stuff to think through and it is rarely cut and dried.
Do you think you know when it is okay to pass judgment on someone? Is Paul right? What do you think? If you do disagree with Paul, how do you read this passage?
Jesus, continue to transform me into your likeness. May your grace flow through me. Amen.