What to Do With Sinners…Part 1
In 1 Corinthians 5 Paul writes about how the Corinthian church was tolerating a man who was having sexual relations with his mother in law. It appears that the church was perhaps more than tolerating it…Paul uses the phrase, “and you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from you”. In a following paragraph, Paul writes: “your glorying is not good”. Paul encourages the church to “deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” These are harsh words delivered by Paul and they are words that the church today needs to hear and apply. But they are hard words to understand how to apply. Not too many churches have to deal with the specific situation mentioned here, but all churches have to deal with how to handle “sin in the church”. And this problem is greatly compounded by the fact that all leaders of the church continue to sin as well.
If you have a good way to navigate this, please message me! Some segments of the church regularly practice the idea of removing people from the church over sin…shunning them…which seems to be Paul’s idea here. But most of the church rarely does this. On the other side, some churches seem to act like the Corinthian church and do very little if anything about a person in the church who is sinning…again, because we are all sinners. But Paul is clear that sin needs to be confronted. This is a difficult thing to navigate and I’m sure that I have gotten it wrong more times than I have gotten it right. The good news in this case is that when we read Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, it appears that this man has repented and has been restored. That’s the outcome that God desires…but how to get there is often very difficult. I have come to believe that though the general principle is still valid, sin needs to be addressed, the details of the solution are definitely not “one size fits all”.