1 Corinthians 5:1…
‘Church discipline’ is a phrase no one wants to hear.
I can assure you this is as true for church leaders as it is for church members, and probably more so.
But church discipline is required for the life and health of the church, and it is a subject the Bible deals with over and over.
In the Old Testament, the Lord gave strong instruction to the nation of Israel about keeping themselves “pure” from the influences of the cultures they would find themselves in the midst of. (This became a ‘type’ of how the future church was to also keep itself pure of the cultural influences it found itself in the midst of.)
In the case of the nation of Israel, if any of the children of Israel took up the idolatrous practices of the surrounding cultures or engaged in behaviors those cultures practiced, they were to be put to death. The Lord was THAT serious about maintaining the purity of what it meant to be in faithful relationship with Himself.
The morally and ceremonially impure were to be immediately driven out. This was not so much for the punishment of the wicked practitioner as it was for the preservation of the purity of what faith in God looked like to the world, and for the sobriety of the believers.
Everything the world represents as far as religion is concerned is fake. Relationship with God is real. Genuine relationship must be preserved for the sake of both believers and non-believers.
This unlawful practice has been passed down to us by Jewish Law and custom and then by Jesus as being ‘leaven.’
Leaven is a type of sin in God’s Word, and now we, as His Church, are to keep the leaven out of Church life and practice. This leaven of unrepentant sin is as dangerous to the Church and to observers of the Church now as it was of the Israelites then.
And so, Paul has become aware of an instance of grievous sexual sin in the church at Corinth. Further, he has become aware not only has the church NOTdealt with this sin at all – they are actually proud of themselves and glorying in the fact they have notjudged this man and continue in fellowship with him.
They pride themselves in the creation of a ‘softer, gentler’ church than the church Christ had birthed in their midst through the ministry of the apostle Paul.
Paul addresses this very powerfully, as much for the sake of the sinner as for the church itself. The church MUST take action, and completely separate themselves from any and all fellowship from this unrepentant sinner so the shunned sinner will realize all he has lost in fellowship with the church and with God and repent.
It must likewise ALWAYS be the desire of the church employing church discipline must be done, and that it always be done with a heart for the repentance of the sinner.