A Passage To Ponder: 1 Corinthians 5

I recently read that singer, songwriter Willie Nelson once owned a golf course. He said the great thing about owning a golf course is that he could decide what was par for each hole.

“See that hole over there,” he pointed.

“It’s a par 47. Yesterday I birded it.”

When it comes to religion and matters of morality, we can’t decide what is par for the course. God has already legislated what is good and bad. Right and wrong. Moral and immoral. And He has instructed us on matters relating to His church.

When we fail to measure up to God’s standard, the Bible calls it “sin.”

If you’re using Mark Roberts Bible reading program, today is 1 Corinthians 5. It’s not a delightful passage to read. It’s difficult. Demanding. And disturbing.

The text tells us that a man in the church at Corinth was having a sexual relationship with his father’s wife. Commentators speculate whether this was his mother or step-mother. Actually, it made no difference. Either way, it was a sinful, shameful, and sordid affair. In fact, Paul said that such a sin was not even tolerated among the pagans.

Worse yet, the brethren knew it and did nothing. Incredibly  they not only ignored it but were arrogant about it. Really? Among Christians? That’s what the Bible says.

The Corinthian church was a moral mess. Some might think the situation was hopeless. That the church was beyond repair. And that this man was so immoral, he would never change. But Paul and the Holy Spirit had other ideas.

Paul instructed the church to discipline the erring brother with the goal of saving his soul. It is often called withdrawing fellowship. The language is plain and direct.

“Let him who has done this be removed from among you.” (v.2)

“You are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.” (v.5).

“Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump.” (v.7)

“With such a man do not even eat.” (v. 11).

“Purge the evil person from among you.” (V. 13).

Furthermore, this action was not to be taken behind closed doors. Rather it was to be done in the public assembly when the church was gathered together (v. 4)

The text, as well as other passages, list additional sins that require a withdrawal of fellowship when a brother or sister fails to repent and follow God’s Word.

Those in the world don’t understand this action. They charge us with being unloving and say, “They kicked him out of the church.” Or justify the behavior by saying, “We all make mistakes.” Or “It’s not our place to judge.”

Actually, God has already judged these matters. He instructs the church to exercise loving discipline not only to keep the church pure but to impress on the erring one the seriousness of his sin so that he will repent.

Sometimes, even brethren object to church discipline and say, “It won’t work.” However, it can work. And in this case, did work. Paul’s 2 Corinthian letter records that the immoral man repented. So, the church was instructed to joyfully receive him back into fellowship.

The purpose of church discipline is not to kick people out, but to bring them back. Back to the Lord. Back to walking in the way of righteousness. Back to a godly life that will lead to heaven.

Sadly, too many churches today fail to follow this divine directive. If fellowship is withdrawn at all, it’s often directed toward those who’ve already quit and withdrawn their fellowship. All the while, immoral, idolatrous and divisive members are allowed to enjoy full fellowship within the church.

Remember, God wrote the rules. Not man. It’s His church. Not ours. And He has the right to decide who’s in fellowship. Let’s not change His commandment for our own convenience or comfort.

–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman


Filed under Passage To Ponder

11 responses to “A Passage To Ponder: 1 Corinthians 5

  1. Andy Mitchell

    Thank you, brother.

    Andy Mitchell


  2. This passage is connected to the Woman Caught in Adultery Story! Be Careful. Watch out. The Man sleeping with his Father’s wife…was the Son of David. And Paul knows this. Paul is the Father’s Bride…the one crucified with Christ. Paul knows that until this error has been rooted out, people won’t be able to realize the Good News in Corinth or anywhere else.

    Paul knows the Rabboni standing “face to face” with the Woman Caught in Adultery is not her Bridegroom, the Gardener. Paul knows the Rabboni is the Son of David and that there is a difference. So until the Bride and the Bridegroom show up reconciled to one another, the Woman and the Rabboni are to have no contact with one another. “noli me tangere ” John 20:17

    HARSH…Yes. Necessary Yes.

    As for delivering this Man to SATAN …well people also have to know who is SATAN …so that the flesh can be destroyed and the spirit saved.

    Satan is that Rock that Jesus and the chief builders stumble upon and reject. He is the Christ, the Everlasting Father of Isaiah 9:6. Jesus called the Rock Satan because the Rock was thinking like men who loved the Law (Matthew 16:18-23)…and was trapped in Adultery too by his own Law. So he was unable to reveal his everlasting love for Petra…the female Rock and was unable to sit down joyously and share bread and wine with the people she loved and who also loved her (Luke 7:35-50; Zephaniah 3:17).

    Paul knows Flesh can be destroyed without fear. Paul trusts in the Psalmist and the Psalm 90:3 “Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.” (KJV )”You return man to dust, saying, ‘Return, O sons of mortals.’” (Berean Study Bible) …and Paul…crucified with Christ says “For if the dead are not raised, then not even Christ has been raised.” (BSB)

    So thank you Ken for bringing such a difficult matter out into the open for me and others to ponder and comment upon.


  3. Ken Green

    Not you, Ken. Good post.


  4. Stephen Segrest

    Dear Ken,

    What are the other sins you reference? (i.e., the statement: The text, as well as other passages, list additional sins that require a withdrawal of fellowship when a brother or sister fails to repent and follow God’s Word.) Thx


    • 1 Cor 5:9-11

      9 I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. 10 Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner — not even to eat with such a person.

      2 Thess 3:6-12

      6 But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; 8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, 9 not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.

      10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.

      Rom 16:17-18
      Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple


      • Wow! This does seem harsh by today’s standards. In a large family, this is what a mother would do. Her rule was that everyone had to work–everyone had to do something to keep the family together. Even the baby had a job. The baby was not a toy. The baby was there to help teach the others how to care for the weakest member.

        As for the sexually immoral. Self gratification and coveting are behaviours large families just can’t tolerate. Family members need to think and act in love for one another.

        The elephant in the room here is LGBTQ+ people. What about them? Does God love them? Should the Church make room for them in their hearts? (2 Corinthians 7:2)

        Noah’s Ark comes to mind. In the Ark, Noah and his family made room for two of every kind, even the ritually unclean ones. So I’m thinking, perhaps the Church today can make room for those LGBTQ+ people who are sober , hard working, and loving who want to make a loving, lasting covenant with a mate of their choosing in God’s sight. What do you think?


  5. Pingback: A Passage To Ponder: 1 Corinthians 5 | A disciple's study

  6. Debra cox

    Most christians I’ve talked with about 1 Cor.5:5. Seem to think that the withdrawal does not include the “family” of the one in sin. To be clear, mom dad ,brother sister,grandma. Etc. . What is your answer to those who don’t withdraw as a family from an erring family member?


  7. Pingback: A Passage To Ponder: Matthew 18:15-17 | ThePreachersWord

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