1 Corinthians

1 Corinthians 5:6-13

Last time we looked at chapter 5 verses 1-5. We saw there that there was a horrible sin that had occurred in the church. A man had married his stepmother. This was a sin that even the pagan world saw as an incredible crime. What did the church do when this sin was discovered? Instead of mourning the sexual immorality amongst their church members the church as a whole was arrogant about the matter. Paul, who loves the church and the individual saints at Corinth, but loves Jesus more, does not try to sweep the sexual immorality under the rug. He confronts it head-on. Though the church has done nothing, Paul has already pronounced judgment in the case. Paul commands them to gather together in the name of the Lord Jesus, with these commands and judgment of Paul, and had the man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. We spent some time considering what this last phrase meant. It is clear that Paul is going back to the moral law of God as stated in the Old Testament and using this as his argument as to why it is wrong for a man to marry his stepmother and why the man must be removed from among them and handed over to Satan to destroy his flesh. When Israel was an autonomous nation it could carry out the temporal punishment that the sin deserves, execution. But since the church is scattered amongst nations that rage against God, the church must hand the man over to Satan to destroy his flesh. Since this man is bent on sinning against God in this way, and the punishment fits the crime, the ultimate hope is that this man would be saved by the ending of his life so that he would not go on sinning against God. Those that argue that this is just talking about excommunication miss the fact that Paul is quoting is relating all of this to the Old Testament law. As Paul says, the law is good when used lawfully and this is an example of Paul doing just that. Now let’s turn to verses 6-13 as we continue Paul’s argument against the church in Corinth for its inaction in this case.

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