by Rebecca Livermore
I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner – not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person” (1 Corinthians 5:9-13 NKJV).
It seems to be popular in both Christian and non Christian circles to “judge not.” Avoiding judging others is the politically correct thing to do. First Corinthians five makes it clear that judgment needs to be done in the church, but there are two things that we need to consider in the above passage of Scripture. First of all, there is a difference in how we are to relate to other Christians (as well as those who claim to be Christians but may not be), and how we relate to those who are not part of the Body of Christ. We would have to not even be in the world at all if we were to avoid sinful people altogether! But what about believers who are openly participating in known sin? According to Paul, we are not to even eat with them, and are in fact to put them out of the church. Doesn’t sound very politically correct, does it? And yet it is what the Scripture says!
The sobering reality of the passage in 1Corinthians is that sin is serious. It is not something that should be tolerated among Christians – including each of us.
What I’d like you to do is put yourself in the place of someone who needs church discipline. Think about the seriousness of the sin in your life, and come to grips with the fact that continuing in it is not an option. Are there secret sins you are harboring? Are you guilty of ongoing behaviors mentioned in the passage above such as sexual immorality, coveteousness and drunkenness? If so, repent! For both God and the church can and in fact must judge ongoing, unrepentant sin. The good news is, there is grace, peace, forgiveness, and restoration to those who turn from their sins.
Father, we pray that you will help each of us to examine our lives, and turn and repent of the sin that we are hiding from others. Help us to come clean before You, and before others so that we can walk in wholeness and purity. Help us to never for a moment think that the sin we are hiding is no big deal. We confess our sins to You, and ask You to make us whole and complete in You. Thank You for Your grace and forgiveness. Amen.
Thought: Are you flirting with sin? If so, repent! Use your journal to work through some of the reasons why you struggle with that particular sin. Also write out a plan for overcoming this particular sin. (Note: If you don't like to journal, spend some time in prayer on this topic.)
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