Jan. 29. Instructions for Purging Sin from the Church

I Cor. 5:1-13

Paul continued his letter by addressing another serious problem. It had been reported to him that a man was in a sexual relationship with his father’s wife—probably his stepmother. This was a grievous sin that even the Gentile world would not condone, but those in the church had actually accepted it.

Immediate action was demanded by Paul to purge this man from the fellowship of the church. This was to make him ashamed and to see the need for repentance. No action was necessary for the woman because she was probably a pagan.

Under the Law of Moses, Jews were to purge all leaven from their homes one week before observing the Passover Feast. Leaven was symbolic of sin and therefore, must be removed.

Since Christ gave Himself as our continual Passover Lamb, Christians must continually purge the leaven of sin from their lives. As a small piece of leaven spreads throughout a large lump of bread dough, a small amount of sin contaminates the whole church.

Paul was concerned about the possibility of sexually immoral people being in the church because of the immoral nature of the people of Corinth. He had even written them a previous letter warning them of that danger. There is no other record of this letter or its contents.

Listed among the sins that Paul warned Christians about are sexual immorality, covetousness, idolatry, reviling, drunkenness and extortion. The only way the church is to deal with the immoral behavior of those outside in the world is to try to convert them from their wickedness. It is, however, the church’s responsibility to remove those members who practice sins within the church.

Please keep in mind that at this time in the church’s history, there were no denominations. Even though there were differences of opinion and divisive actions, the church of Christ was still the one body of Christ. That remained true throughout the New Testament.