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? (1 Corinthians 5:1-2).
God has given us freedom from sin
Not freedom to sin
It would appear that the Corinthians had blown off that little nugget of wisdom.
The man Paul is talking about was in clear violation not only of Leviticus 18:8, but of pretty much every known society’s taboos. Even the Romans (those pagans Paul is referencing) thought incest was uber icky. And yes, the wording indicates that it was the man’s step mother, but still…
The Church has a line to walk that is sometimes a little tricky. I mean, if we kicked out everyone who participated in sin, we would be denying grace.
And services would be very lonely times, indeed.
At the same time, there is a difference between a brother who falls and is repentant and a man who revels in licentiousness.
The Church is called to convey grace and to hold believers accountable.
I wish I could say that this passage is totally foreign to me, that I could never imagine the Church today putting up with–let alone condoning–this kind of evil.
But I can’t
Because it does
Beloved, the Church today is often more likely to celebrate sin than to correct it, much less condemn it. Maybe it’s because church attendance is dwindling, and we don’t want to risk driving the numbers down further by preaching “negative” messages. Maybe it’s because we’re getting caught up in the Spirit of this age, in which being tolerant is the highest good. Maybe confrontation is just too uncomfortable.
But a church that falls into the trap the Corinthians had is failing on multiple levels. It is a joke to the community, who see no difference between those inside the walls and those outside. It is failing the man caught in sin, who is drifting ever further from God while his lifeguards stand and watch. It is letting down the next generation, who are being raised to believe that this behavior is acceptable.
Wow–look at Michael ramble. Think we’ve struck a chord?
Beloved, legalism is bad. So is licentiousness. Let us leave it at that, and pray for wisdom to walk in true grace today.
Happy Friday, Beloved