A couple of weeks ago, I shared my thoughts on 1 Corinthians 4. This week, I’m sharing my thoughts on 1 Corinthians 5, a chapter that has a similar idea but takes a different approach.
In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul starts off by calling out the Corinthians for accepting a man who had married his father’s wife (possibly his stepmother). He tells them that unbelievers don’t even do that, and the unbelievers in the area were known for their sexual sins! Instead of reprimanding this man, they were proud of their acceptance. Paul reminds them that they are supposed to keep away from those who practice sexual sins…but only those who are in the church.
I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner–not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. therefore put away from yourselves the evil person. 1 Corinthians 5: 9-12 (emphasis mine)
Just as Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 4 that we can only assess the fruits of a believer and only God can judge their private motives, he also reminds us here that God alone can judge those who aren’t believers. We do, however, have the responsibility to call out believers who are not living fruitful lives.
These two chapters are still mulling around in my head. They have changed the way I look at differing opinions in the church and how quick I am to want to correct someone else. But at the same time, it has made me more aware of how often I judge someone who isn’t a Christian and how harsh I can be to someone who doesn’t know or care to know better. I honestly love when my perspective changes based on scripture!