I guarantee this might offend some people. However, it’s mostly coming straight from Paul’s mouth, not mine. So if you have an issue with it, I’d like to hear your opinion, but your issue is really with Paul, not me.
I Corinthians 5 (you might want to read it first)
We tolerate way too much.
the sexually immoral
We’ve come to say that if we don’t tolerate these things, then we aren’t showing Christ’s love or acceptance to them. However, we’ve missed a major point. The issue of acceptance isn’t if a person carriers one of these labels, the issue is if a person who is one of these things carries the label of Christ as well. If they are a believer, then it should make a difference in how the church treats them.
Paul specifically says that if a believer INDULGES in these sins we should not even associate with them (vs. 11) and we should “remove the evil person from among us” (vs. 13).
But as any of us could testify to, that goes against so much of what we have been taught, have experienced, or have seen in the church. The church, Christians, have become way too tolerant of so many issues. Not only are we tolerant, but we’ve accepted them.
Paul uses an example of a man who is “living in sin with his stepmother” (vs.1). He blatantly and specifically says “you should remove this man from your fellowship” (vs. 2). But like most things I believe there is reason behind this. It wasn’t just to be mean or push this man away. Throughout the rest of this chapter, I saw three different reasons for getting rid of these “evil” people.
1) So that they will eventually be saved.
“Then you must throw this man out and hand him over to Satan so that his sinful nature will be destroyed and he himself will be saved on the day Lord returns” (vs.5).
Not only does getting rid of this man benefit the church, but it benefits him as well. If we continue to accept and tolerate a person’s sinful nature, why in the world would they ever change??? It’s when we are shaken or our world is rocked a little that we realize we need change. It isn’t up to us to fix them and make all things right. We have to learn to let go and trust that God knows what He is doing in dealing with His children. It may take awhile for any change to take place at all. They may continue in that sin for quite a while. But that’s where God gets to do the messy work. He isn’t just going to abandon His child. They need to get to a point where they don’t depend on people and no longer have anyone else to turn to. They won’t reach that point if we continue to accept and tolerate their sin. They have to come to a place where they are face to face with God.
2) So that their wickedness will not spread.
“Your boasting about this is terrible. Don’t you realize that this sin is like a little yeast that spreads through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast by removing this wicked person from among you. Then you will be like a fresh batch of dough made without yeast, which is what you really are” (vs. 6-7).
This is pretty self-explanatory. I don’t think I really have to expound on this. We can’t let their sin or evil ways affect or spread into others in the church.
3) So that Christ’s sacrifice will not have been done in vain.
“Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us. So let us celebrate the festival, not with the old bread of wickedness and evil, but with the new bread of sincerity and truth” (vs. 7-8).
Christ did not sacrifice His life so that we could continue in the ways of the world – wickedness and evil. He died so that we could be a part of something new, something greater. He died so that we could experience sincerity and truth through Him and fellow believers, not deception and evil.
The chapter goes on to explain that this is not the case with unbelievers. We can’t judge them. But we can judge the one who calls himself a believer. The unbeliever doesn’t know any better, so how could we judge them? For some reason the church seems to have it backwards. We seem to accept the believer and their sin, yet shun the unbeliever and their wicked ways. How dare we ignore someone who doesn’t even know the truth. Who are we to judge them?
This is a touchy subject, I know. It’s an issue the church ignores. We definitely don’t follow it. When is the last time we made someone leave the church because of some moral issue? When is the last time we didn’t judge a non-believer because of their lifestyle?
What else are we ignoring in Scripture?