This is kind of heavy stuff for a Friday afternoon but I just can’t get these verses out of my head. I shared them with our small group last week and it wasn’t enough to get it off my heart. I was shuffling through my Bible last week looking for something and ended up on 1 Corinthians 5. It’s kind of long so I’ll let you link over there to read it.
But basically Paul is writing to the church where there has been some unrepentant and blatant sexual sin in the church and no one is doing anything about it. In fact, they’re kind of proud of it. And Paul basically says “What the heck are you doing? Throw the guy out of the church! I’ve told you before not to associate with sexually immoral people!” And I think so many Christians stop reading there. And that’s how many get their stance where they need to keep sinners out of the church and at arm’s length in general. They’re bad yeast! They’re going to ruin us all!
But I love what Paul does next. He says, “I know I said not to associate with sexually immoral people but I wasn’t talking about people of this world! In that case, you’d have to leave this world!” That line cracks me up! He’s giving a big DUH to the church. He’s saying of course I don’t mean not to associate with unbelievers/non-Christians who sin. That’s impossible! You’d have to fly right out of here to accomplish that. But he does say, don’t associate with Christians who are living a life of sin! Oh yes, he says if that person calls himself a Christ follower and they are sexually immoral or greedy, an idolator or slanderer or drunkard or swindler, don’t even EAT with them. Bottom line, they’re hypocrites. So here it seems Paul is saying it’s better to associate with the non-Christian than the Christian! In fact, he says of the non-Christians, who am I to judge them? They’re sinners. They’re going to sin. God will judge them. Not me. Not you. If someone doesn’t profess Christ, quit expecting them to act like it.
I don’t know about you, but this makes me start asking a lot of questions, just a few of which are:
What do I do with the Christian friend that isn’t acting like it? Where does grace end and truth start? To what level am I responsible for them?
How do I change my views of attendants at church? Or those that don’t attend church? Or those that shouldn’t? Man, that’s a tough question. Paul is so clear but that concept is so foreign to me!
Or more important, in what ways could I be accused of being a hypocrite?
I don’t know if I have answers yet but the verses and questions are burrowing way down deep.
Have opinions? I’d love to hear them.