Friday, November 11, 2011

Faith on Fridays: I Corinthians 5

1 Corinthians 5

Paul Condemns Spiritual Pride
 1 I can hardly believe the report about the sexual immorality going on among you—something that even pagans don’t do. I am told that a man in your church is living in sin with his stepmother.[a] 2 You are so proud of yourselves, but you should be mourning in sorrow and shame. And you should remove this man from your fellowship. 3 Even though I am not with you in person, I am with you in the Spirit.[b] And as though I were there, I have already passed judgment on this man 4 in the name of the Lord Jesus. You must call a meeting of the church.[c] I will be present with you in spirit, and so will the power of our Lord Jesus. 5 Then you must throw this man out and hand him over to Satan so that his sinful nature will be destroyed[d] and he himself[e] will be saved on the day the Lord[f] returns.
 6 Your boasting about this is terrible. Don’t you realize that this sin is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old “yeast” by removing this wicked person from among you. Then you will be like a fresh batch of dough made without yeast, which is what you really are. Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us.[g] 8 So let us celebrate the festival, not with the old bread[h] of wickedness and evil, but with the new bread[i] of sincerity and truth.
 9 When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. 10 But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. 11 I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer[j] yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.
 12 It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. 13 God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”

~*~

Today's chapter above is brought to us by the New Living Translation ... and ought to hit home for society today.

Do we ignore this chapter? It seems like too many Christians do. I don't know about you, but I've had friends aplenty in the church who fell prey to sexual sin. It's one of those things that can sometimes still shock us, but which in general we've become desensitized to.

That makes me so, so sad.

I understand sexual temptation. I understand passion. As anyone who has read my books can attest to, I believe that passion is a necessary and beautiful part of life. But I also believe it can be destructive if we let it rule us when we ought to keep it bridled.

Paul doesn't sugarcoat the issue here--he calls it out more strongly than I've ever noted him calling out anything else. In other parts, he invites us to admonish our brothers and sister who are sinning, to challenge them to stop and confess their sins. Then, if they don't cease their bad behavior, to cast them out. But he doesn't give them a second chance here, does he? He says, "Throw them out and hand them over to Satan."

Yikes. Though I mean, a guy with his stepmother ... and they were boasting about it??

This is a tough issue, one that's made all the more confusing to modern readers by changes in marriage customs over the centuries. Things are formal now that didn't used to be, and lax that were once formal. But one thing remains unchanged:

God calls us to something holy and beautiful. And all too often, we throw it away.

I'd really like to get a conversation going on this oh-so-important topic. What are your thoughts?

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