Would you remove a church member who gets drunk every weekend? Would you stop eating with a church member that steals all the time? I’m guessing some would think that was harsh. But it seems Apostle Paul teaches that’s what we should do. For today’s post, we’re going to review an interesting passage. If you care to look at your preferred translation, get it out and flip the page to 1 Corinthians 5. We’re going to read verse 9 through 13.
1 Corinthians 5:9-13
1 Corinthians 5:9-13 states, “I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; 10 I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. 11 But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? 13 But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.”
So Apostle Paul instructed the Corinth church not to associate with so-called brothers. I’m sure if there were TV reporters then, it’d be on the news all day that Paul said “so-called brother”. Cultural jokes aside, one can perhaps admit he was stern here. Paul is calling out people who claim to be Christian that actively practice certain lifestyles. These “so-called brothers” not to be associated with are immoral people, covetous, idolaters, revilers, drunkards, or a swindler.
Paul goes so far in saying not to eat with people like this. And what’s interesting in the next verses is he’s telling them to leave the outsiders alone. Yes, that means you Westboro Baptist Church. Those who are not Christians living “Un-Christian” lifestyles, that’s God’s job to judge. Our job is to deal with those in the church. Imagine how much there would be less child abuse, less financial corruption, and so many other things in the news that make the Church hypocritical if the focus of judgment was more within the church.
You might agree to this point, but then you might be wondering, how do we know who’s an immoral person? What in the world is a reviler? Well, let’s look up the Greek words and see their meaning.
Pornos (an immoral person) – a man who prostitutes his body to another’s lust for hire, a male prostitute, a man who indulges in unlawful sexual intercourse, a fornicator.
Pleonektēs (covetous) – one eager to have more, esp. what belongs to others, greedy of gain, covetous.
Eidōlolatrēs (an idolater) – a worshipper of false gods, a idolater. Used of any one even Christian, participant in any way in the worship of the heathen, esp. one who attends their sacrificial feasts and eats of the remains of offered victims. a covetous man as a worshipper of Mammon.
Loidoros (a reviler) – abusive, i.e. a blackguard:—railer, reviler.
Methysos (a drunkard) – tipsy, drunken, intoxicated.
Harpax (swindler) – a robber, extortioner
So those who claim to be Christian but live these lifestyles are to be removed from our assemblies. But those who are outside, God judges. “Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.” Though one word absent in this text is the word “forever”. We can welcome back those who have decided to change from these lifestyles, and pursue Christ again.
Peace to all those who are in Christ.