August 27

1 Corinthians 5:4-6 4When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord. 6Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?

In the church in Corinth a man had an illicit relationship with his stepmother. The Corinthian church did nothing about it, in fact, they thought it showed how tolerant they were. The Apostle Paul told them they should be ashamed and immediately expel him from their congregation. The next time they gathered Paul promised to be with them in spirit, and when the power of the Lord was present, they were to hand the offender over to Satan.

When we gather, we have the prayers of those who care for our church. God's power is present in those willing to do His will. But what does this mean, "hand him over to Satan so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved"? When people are ejected from the covering of the local fellowship, they are out from under the umbrella of blessing, comfort, and encouragement it provides. They have chosen to give in to a sinful desire, and it will enslave them, dragging them to ever increasing wickedness. When a believer goes this route, the discipline that comes as the consequences of sin can be very severe. Not only does the physical suffer, but there is agony of soul and spirit as well. If that will not open their eyes and turn them to repentance, what will?

Verse 11 tells us under what conditions the church should do this. When you have an unrepentant sexually immoral person, or one given to greed, idolatry, slandering, drunkenness, or swindling, for the person's sake, and that of the body, we must remove him or her. Paul tells them why. A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough. Unconfronted sin infects the whole group. A body of worshipers can digress into a body of slanderers. Sin is contagious! By not dealing with these serious forms of rebellion toward God, we send an unspoken message that it is permissible. Not many churches are willing to take this stand, and that is one reason we have so many unhealthy churches.

Remember: Stand for righteousness in love.