Cover to Cover
1 Corinthians 5
Where do you draw the line with associating with people who are living in sin? Some Christians completely withdraw from anyone in sin, saved or unsaved. Other Christians consider some sinful people to be their best friends and spend a lot of time together. In the Amplified version, Paul says, “not to associate [closely and habitually], with unchaste (impure) people.” Immediately after that statement, Paul says, “Not [meaning of course that you must] altogether shun the immoral people of this world.” Paul’s passion was reaching people for Christ, and to completely isolate ourselves from the unsaved world would mean we had no influence at all. However, to closely and habitually associate with someone in unrepentant sin becomes compromise, so we look to the Holy Spirit to give us discernment. In this chapter, Paul is speaking of sin in the lives of the unsaved and the saved. The church has a responsibility to disassociate with the saved person who knows the truth, and is living in rebellion to the truth. In the Corinthian church, a man and his stepmother were in sexual sin, a sin so vile that Paul said that this sin doesn’t even occur among the unsaved. In verse 11, Paul says we should not even eat with a Christian brother or sister that is living in habitual rebellion and immorality. Furthermore, we must acknowledge that in regard to discipline, God’s heart is always for us, to accept our repentance and restore us back into fellowship. In Paul’s next letter to the Corinthians, in chapter two, Paul encourages the Christians to attempt restore the man guilty of incest. What a merciful God we serve!
The psalmist loves God’s Word because the psalmist loves God. If the Word of God, including the ways of God, are performed out of duty instead of devotion, we’ve missed it. If we try to force or manipulate others to obey the Bible without falling in love with Jesus, then we are leading them into religion instead of relationship. Let’s receive God’s grace with a humbled heart of surrendered faith, and then put action to the reliance we have on the Lord. If we use the Bible as a rule book, we remain in self-sufficiency, we’re just shifting from thinking we control our lives from living in sin to thinking we control our lives through discipline. Control has its roots in pride; so let’s yield to God, and then yield to His Words found in the Bible.