by Joe Alain

This content is part of a series.

Judging on the Inside (5 of 10)
Series: Beautiful Mess
Joe Alain
1 Corinthians 5:1-13 (Focal Verse 5:12)


In 1 Corinthians chapter 5 we deal with the difficult issue of what to do when there is open immorality in the church. The church at Corinth was not only divided they were disgraced. There was open sin in the assembly of God and everybody knew about it. But the church was slow to address the issue and that's where Paul comes in and exposes the problem, provides the solution, and leaves us with the biblical principle to help us navigate these difficult issues in the future.

1. The Problem (5:1-2)

(1) Immorality (5:1)
The sin was so vile that even the church's pagan neighbors were doubtless scandalized by it. From the Greek word for ''immorality'' comes the root of the English word ''pornography.'' The scourge of pornography as we know it today certainly leads to immorality.

The phrase, ''His father's wife'' refers to the man's stepmother, with whom having sexual relations bore the same sinful stigma as if between him and his natural mother. Incest was punishable by death in the Old Testament (Lev. 18:6-8, 29; 20:11) and was both uncommon (''not even named'') and illegal under Roman law.

(2) Indifference (5:2)

The problem was compounded by the fact that the congregation did not see this as a problem. They should have been grieved over the situation but instead they were indifferent. They were ''puffed up'' which describes a situation where they were so arrogant and carnal as to excuse even that extreme wickedness. Their consciences had become hardened to sin!

As a result, they had not mourned. This was used of mourning at a funeral. The Christian life is a feast (see 5:8) but it is also a funeral when a brother or sister falls into sin. This man in sin who was a member of the congregation was dead as far as spiritual matters go and the church should have been in mourning and should have dealt with the brother in love but ...

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