I have mentioned before that Pastor Mary, and I follow the Revised Common Lectionary Daily Readings for the passages that we include within these daily devotionals. What I may not have mentioned is how God is always timely with His Truth, and as I prepare to share, sometimes His Truth can be difficult to study and even more difficult to pen for all of you to read. When that happens, I usually know that there is most likely an area of repentance and/or refinement, within me that needs to take place so that I can continue to grow in my own relationship with Jesus and allow Him to strengthen and keep moving me forward in my faith.
So, I recently witnessed fellow believers inside the Church passing judgment on what they probably believed were the sins of others outside the Church. The fellow believers did not know that I observed their interaction, and my immediate reaction was to cry like a baby. I am sharing this situation with you because it directly connects with today’s passage. Also, since I am responsible for my own heart before the Lord, I share this with you because I was not blameless within this situation. I have since repented for my inaction to lovingly talk and pray with my fellow Family inside the Church.
In today’s passage, Paul addresses relationships and sin in the Family of God, “the Church”. He helps us to understand that we need to know the difference between inside the Church or outside the Church.
Paul was writing again to the believers in Corinth (inside the Church) because they were ignoring incest within their community. That is why Paul begins by pointing out sexual sin. He continues to mention many other kinds of sinful actions from people in the world, because the Corinthian believers (as well as us) are not to avoid unbelievers. Rather, believers are expected to have contact with the unbelievers of the world, because that is how we bear witness to Christ in the world and act as His Salt and Light to spread His redeeming message of love. Jesus is the Great Physician Who wants to bring physical, spiritual, and soul affliction healing. He seeks out the lost, and we know this because He ate with the tax collectors, He associated with prostitutes, and He held the lepers. Jesus is the corner stone who brought all of these unbelievers to faith in Him; so, if we say that we live in God, then we should live our lives as Jesus did (1 John 2:6) and seek to also bring the lost to Him.
When we read about “judging” our fellow believers we must remember that “God sent His Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:17). This Truth means that our judgement of others is a sinful place of self-righteousness. Paul isn’t telling us to be the judge of one another, rather he is guiding us to love our Family of God, “the Church”, towards the much-needed repentance for the judgement of sin. Continuous sin has no place in the Church and real love confronts sin. Together, as a Family, with the leadership of the Church, we pray and seek for the love of Christ to guide us towards repentance, redemption, and wholeness. If someone inside the Church wants to hold onto sin and continue to sin, then they must go.
1 Corinthians 5:9-13 NLT
9 When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. 10 But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that. 11 I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.
12 It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. 13 God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”
Prayer: Jesus, Thank You for not coming to judge, for we are all guilty. Help us to love as You love, and to put away the spirit of self-righteousness and judgement. Give us a heart like Yours, Jesus, so that we may love unbelievers like You love them. Help us to bear witness to You. Guide us with Your courage and wisdom, as a Family, to deal with sin in our own lives and within Your Church. We ask all of this in Your Holy Name, Jesus. Amen.