1 Corinthians 5

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5:1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

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The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway,
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ESV Text Edition: 2007

3 Responses to "1 Corinthians 5"
  1. Hoi Fei says:

    What does v.5 mean? How can someone’s spirit be saved ‘in the day of the Lord’ when we deliver him to Satan?

  2. bert says:

    hi hoi fei,

    i think a lot of what Paul is saying here is in reference to church discipline, and how the church treats and deals with a member of the body that refuses to repent. One of the terms that’s commonly used is excommunication.

    The idea is that, if a believer refuses to repent from their sin, it may be better to kick them out of the church. The hope of that is, when they are removed from the community, it may move them towards repentance. (see verse 13)

    It’s the idea, that sometimes the best way to love someone is to cut them off, so that their character may be redeemed. It’s a tough stance, and not easily practiced or understood. In many ways, it’s an early form of what’s commonly practiced with families dealing with a member who’s suffering from substance abuse. They’ll hold an intervention meeting, and if that person continues in their abuse, they’ll cut him out of their family, and essentially give them the cold shoulder. The idea is that if the person finally hits rock bottom, they will finally be willing to change.

    Within the body of Christ, the idea is if you are going to let sin keep you from hearing God, it’s better in the long run to let them be separated from the body, so that they might repent, and turn from their ways. The motive here is love, not judgement. That’s the difference. It’s not rejecting a believer just because of their sin, but it’s because you love them and want them to return. It’s a last straw type of discipline.

    I think as parents we might understand the implication. Is it better to coddle a child so that they never become responsible, or is it wiser to impose some sort of discipline and teach them the right ways, so they can grow healthily?

    Feel free to sound in.

  3. Hoi Fei says:

    Hi, Bert,

    That makes sense. I think love is an important element here. If we deliver someone to Satan (i.e. by excommunicating him) and just forget all about it, I doubt his spirit will be saved in the end. Even he is no longer one of our community, we should still care for him, as a non-believer, and pray for him.

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