Read 1 Corinthians 5
Paul warns his audience at the end of chapter 4 that, should the not change, he would be coming to them with a “rod of discipline.” Here begins some of the reasoning for the need of that rod. As we move forward here, it is important for us to recognize that Paul is covering some difficult topics, made more difficult by the current cultural trends that are taking place in the world today. Yet, despite their difficulty, Paul is able to speak both sternly and lovingly at the same time. This too is the posture that we, the church, should be taking, never losing sight of our continual call to love others as God has loved us.
The presence of sexual immorality in the city of Corinth was not unusual. In fact, it was quite common. But the presence of it, and more importantly, the acceptance of it within the church community, was completely out of line. Paul points out that sin this extreme would not have even been accepted by those outside of the church and yet the people in there were proud.
For Him, this was a blatant abuse of the understanding of Christian Freedom and a total affront to the Gospel. Why? Because of the type of sin? No. Scripture is quite clear that no one sin is worse than another. The issue here comes in the pride that has led to more sin rather than transformation in Christ. Jesus’ call was to “go and sin no more,” and instead, these folks were basking in it.
One thing to note at the end here as well: Paul’s words about judgment are directly pointed toward us as Christians holding each other accountable. This does not place us in the seat of judgment for others but instead is a call to build each other up.
**One other thing: It is important to note here the way in which Paul talks about Christian discipline. Yes, he uses words that seem harsh: “Hand this man over to Satan…” However, the tone of that whole statement is ultimately restorative in nature: “so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.” Christian discipline within the church… and at home… should always be restorative at its very core, upholding the Truth of grace and forgiveness that Jesus Christ brings and the love that He shows to us… a love that we cannot be separated from (even by our own sinful actions), no matter what.