Thursday, August 02, 2007

Do you love enough to judge?

This subject is often considered edgy and something to be avoided. However, I couldn’t get away from it as I was studying 1 Corinthians. So, here it goes.

Paul says that he passed judgment on believers who are living in sin; specifically sexual immorality in these passages. He goes further and says they should be handed over to Satan, not to associate with them, and to expel them from your fellowship. He is talking only about those who “call themselves a brother” who are living in sexual immorality. He is not talking about unbelievers.
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father's wife. And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. When 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, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.

Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.

I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you." – 1 Corinthians 5
Historical context: Corinth could have been called “sin city” at that time with the principle sin being sexual immorality. The big problem was that the church began to be accepting of this sin. They allowed the sin to exist in the church and its members. They were allowing the culture (the world) to influence and infiltrate the church. They were becoming a little too culturally relevant.

Why don’t we see this instruction from Paul being taught and acted upon in the modern church? In fact, the trend is to go overboard by openly accepting “believers” who are actively engaging in all kinds of sexual perversion and immorality. How does the church justify this complete disregard of Paul’s clear instruction?

I believe Paul loved the believer living in sin so much that he aggressively dealt with the situation instead of placating it. He did this to bring them to repentance and right standing with God for their salvation. He also wanted to protect the church. “Don’t’ you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?”

It is time we, the church, also started caring more about peoples eternal salvation rather than their feelings of acceptance. We need to tell people the truth and protect the body of Christ out of love for both. Do we have the courage to tackle this?


Brian said...

Eric, I think actually agree with most of this post:) However, the church does need to be pastoral and understanding of those who struggle in this area and who are less mature.

I think the root of the problem is with the leadership of the church. I've seen a study that said about 50% of pastors struggle with sexual sin. Now maybe this number is a little off and research always has its biases. But I believe that alot of pastors are not pure in this area so they are uncomfortable "judging" others with this sin. Hence, it is not talked about. I don't believe anyone with a regular/habitual sexual sin has any business being involved in leadership at a church-even volunteers in any capacity. Step down, get help and your walk with God right, and then come back healthy to serve God with a pure heart!

Now a volunteer may not be held to the same standards as say a senior pastor, but a volunteer should be seeking holiness just as much.

Peter Kirk said...

Step down, get help and your walk with God right, and then come back healthy to serve God with a pure heart!

Unfortunately this is easier said than done. A pastor who steps down is likely to be left with no house, no job and no prospect of one. No wonder pastors who know they are not in the right place with God hang on desperately to their position, complete with public denials of their wrong behaviour. I don't know what the answer is to this problem.

Anonymous said...

The Word is true or its not. I agree with the Word that Paul declares. Even though as a pastor is may seem hard to step down, just as "humans" are called to "Trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding" so are pastors. God will judge our judgements of sin.
"Call to me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know." Jer. 33:3 Also, Consider Isa. 50 verses 10 and 11. All through out the Bible, He declares He is a jealous God and will not share His glory with anyone or thing else.
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength.
Love your neighbor as yourself." That little bit of "fear", which God did not give a spirit of timidity, but a Spirit of power, love and a sound mind to His people.
Whose voice are we, God's people, choosing to listening to?

Anonymous said...

Great article! This is a truth not often heard today. I always hear from everyone "judge not," out of context. We ARE called to judge someone by their fruit (in the body of Christ) and either associate with them or avoid them, both for their good and ours.

Anonymous said...

Chet "whoa to you if all speak well of you."