A real problem
It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. 1 Corinthians 5:12
This is a problem. We know that we, as God’s people, are the light of the world. We know that we are not of this world, just in it. We know that we are to reach out to the lost and hurting people of the world. Yet in today’s reading, Paul says not to keep company with the immoral, covetous, extortioners and idolaters of the world. Aren’t these the very people that we are to reach for the kingdom of Heaven? The ones who need the love of God and the salvation He provided for them?
In Paul’s defense, his focus in this passage is to not condone sinful habits of fellow believers. This part makes sense, and certainly once you become a part of God’s family, there is a much higher standard of living and no room for immoral habits with covetous, idolatry, reviling/complaining, drunkenness and extortion to still exist. Yes, this is definitely a real problem. It may happen in a church, but typically, when people have not stepped away from sinful habits, they are not spending a lot of time in church anyway. The instruction in today’s text is not to associate with them by sitting with them in eating (which implies fellowshipping). There are so many variables to this. What if it is family members or what if it is a new believer that is trying to get on track? I believer Paul’s point is directed toward those who are deliberately defiant and refuse to grow in their walk and relationship with God.
He concludes this chapter by saying that God judges the unbeliever, but we are to evaluate if another believer is walking toward God or away from Him. Lost and sinful people are going to sin. That’s what sinners do, they sin. You really shouldn’t be surprised or appalled when you see it happening. Just expect that sinners and those who do not know God’s goodness and grace in their lives are going to sin. However, once you receive salvation and a right relationship with God, the fruit of that decision should be evident in living differently than when you didn’t know God.
You can look at it this way: When you receive God’s gift of salvation, you are immediately adopted into the family of your loving heavenly Father. You move into His house and receive all the benefits of being the child of the One true King. The other side of that is, you are now subject to the new house standards. If you continue to walk out of your adopted Father’s house to go live back where you did before you were adopted, then you are not living as if you have gained a new family and home. You are still living as an orphan, slave and a beggar. God is not unreasonable and His greatest joy is to bless His family, the problem is if we don’t stay within His reach, we are actually limiting His access to or lives. As you begin to submit every area of you life to Him, now you can be sure that He is taking those areas and working His greatest blessings in them.
Today I want to encourage you to receive God’s unconditional love and enter the home He has paid to give you through salvation. Don’t be like you once were before He adopted you into His family, step away form the chains of sin that are holding back His blessings from flowing in your life. If you have never received His unconditional love and salvation, do it today and He will bring you right home to live in His protection and grace. Pray this simple prayer today and Jesus will come into your heart and into your life and give you a right relationship with the Father so you don’t have to be an orphan any longer. Now you belong to the King.
Pray this from your heart: God in heaven, I know I’m a sinner and I need a Savior. I want to turn away from my sinful life to the life You have planned for me. Please forgive me for my sins, cleanse me from my past, and make me new. I know your Son, Jesus died for me. I believe in my heart that You raised Him form the dead. At this very moment, I accept, confess and proclaim Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior . . . to be Lord of my life from this day forward. Thank you, Jesus for Your grace that has saved me from my sin and has given me eternal life. I now have a right relationship with God my Father. I also ask for Your Holy Spirit to come into my life to guide me and to empower me to do the things that You have planned for my life in Jesus’ name, Amen
Today’s scripture reading: 1 Corinthians 5:9-13