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… (1 Corinthians 5:3-4).
Wait a minute…
Didn’t Jesus tell us not to judge? But Paul is judging. What gives?
Good question, Beloved. You always ask such good questions.
Here’s how I see it–and remember, I’m not a Bible scholar, just a Michael. In Matthew 7, Jesus tells us to “Judge not, lest ye be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use you will be measured.” He goes on to talk about the “speck in the eye” business. I think the point Jesus is making is that we need to attend to our own spiritual business before we go poking our finger into someone else’s. Otherwise, we’re asking to be judged by the same standard that we are using on others, and that is not a winning situation.
Paul is looking at a particular sin–and it’s one neither he nor his readers is likely to have committed.
I mean, I really hope not.
So, Paul is not worried about being judged as he is judging. He is calling out egregious sin in the Church, and he is dealing with it. Even so, note the care he takes:
“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…”
This is no hasty rush to judgment carried out by a self-righteous zealot. This is the entire body coming together in the name and power of Christ to defend the holiness of the Church.
And, as we will see in a bit, to bring the sinner to repentance.
Christ’s injunction to take care in judging does not let you off the hook, Beloved. You still have the responsibility to call out sin, as Paul shows us. Just go easy on the condemnation part, Ya?
Happy Monday, Beloved.