Wednesday, February 20, 2008

1 Corinthians 5:9-6:8

Today’s reading has two parts. The second part (the verses in chapter 6) has to do with lawsuits and Paul’s guidance that believers should not sue each other. As important as this part of today’s reading is, and perhaps as relevant to today in the USA, I would like to concentrate on the first part of the reading. The first part of the reading has to do with whom Christians should associate.

In the verses of chapter 5 in today’s reading, I feel Paul makes it clear that we should not disassociate ourselves from unbelievers. As in so doing we could not carry out Christ’s command to tell them about salvation (remember Matthew 28:19-20, “19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”) In addition, Paul tells us we should not judge and condemn those outside the faith as God will take care of that. But Paul says we are to distance ourselves from the person who claims to be a Christian yet indulges in sins. “But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.” (1 Corinthians 5:11)

When I first read it, verse 11 was very troubling to me. I mean Paul telling us not to associate with anyone seems strange to me at first glance. But when I look at it on a deeper level, I think how could someone call themselves a Christian and indulge in these types of sins? The only explanation I can think of is that this person has rationalized their actions. By rationalizing their sin, these persons who call themselves Christians harm others for whom Christ died. In today’s reading Paul calls on other believers to call out the believers who live like non-believers. This certainly is not easy or popular but it is important. If it is done properly God can use it to convict and restore an erring believer.

I am humbled by today's reading.

Wishing you the best in your walk with Christ,
Richard Leach

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