Thursday, March 15, 2018

Year 8, Day 74: 1 Corinthians 5

Theological Commentary: Click Here

There is a really neat perspective that comes in an otherwise harsh chapter of Paul’s writing.  In his closing words of this chapter, Paul reminds us that if we are a part of the world then we will encounter sinfulness.  We are going to see worldly behavior in the world!  Imagine that!  It is a crazy idea to think that we will see worldly behavior in the world!

Why am I making such a big deal about this?  I think many Christians seek to avoid the world because we don’t want to become tainted.  I get that.  We do need to have places to which we can go to remain grounded in the faith.  But look earlier in the chapter.  Did you hear Paul say that if we were to seek to avoid contact with sin we would have needed to teach to abandon the world?  Yet, Paul doesn’t teach that.  We aren’t to abandon the world.  We are to acknowledge that when we go into the world then we are going to encounter sinfulness.  Jesus went out into the world, reached into a sinful people, and brought them into relationship with God.  That’s what we should expect to be called to do with respect to the world.

That being said, Paul does talk about expecting sin within the church.  We shouldn’t expect sin within the church.  The gathering of God’s people should be our safe place.  It should be our place where we go, find encouragement, grow in the faith, and experience love and grace instead of brokenness and sin.

This is why Paul comes off so harshly in this chapter.  Paul is worried because the sin is allowed to remain and even take root within the church!  It’s one thing to go out into the world and come into contact with sinfulness.  It is another thing to allow sin to take root and grow within.

We do need to be careful with this, however.  We are all sinners.  As the saying goes, churches are more like hospitals for the sick than museums for the saints.  Paul isn’t saying that every sinner should be cast out.  Who would be left within the church?  Paul is saying that sin should not be given room to prosper within the church.  Sin should be confronted.  Those who are not willing to confess the sin and work on it, especially when the sin is obviously present, should be dealt with accordingly.

Sinfulness will be present.  But it should be accepted.  It should be allowed.  And it should certainly not be given room to prosper.  It should be resisted.