Paul addressed a situation in 1 Corinthians 5 that isn't all too different from situations that we face in the church today. Apparently a member of the church was sleeping with his stepmother… a practice that is shunned outside of the church. The problem wasn't just that this individual was living in sin, the problem was that the church didn't care! They knew of the situation, and they were proud! They should have been mourning. Paul teaches us that a Christian who indulges in sin without remorse needs to be removed from the church not for the sake of punishment but for the sake of shocking him back into the reality of what he's doing. Ultimately, that person should be handed over to Satan with the hope that it will bring about repentance in the person's life. In fact, according to Paul, this form of judging someone is really a way of loving that person. And the moment a person turns from the sinful lifestyle, he or she is to be welcomed back into the church with wide open arms. Ironically, Paul teaches us that we're only supposed to judge those who are Christians. Those who don't follow Christ don't understand Christian values, morals, and principles, so they're not capable of doing what's right. The non-Christ followers should be loved by Christians the way that Christ loved them when He walked the earth. It's God's responsibility to judge these people in the end. Until then, it's our responsibility to love them. This mode of judgment is for the benefit of the spiritual health of the church.
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Seth is a pastor, author, and speaker who lives in Batesville, Indiana. He is married to Kari, and they have two daughters, Madelyn and Noelle.