1 Corinthians 5

1 Corinthians 5:1

It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife.

(a) It is actually reported. Of all the Corinthians’ misdeeds, the incestuous case of the man who was sleeping with his stepmother is the most infamous.

(b) Someone has his father’s wife. Such a deed was both unlawful to the Jews (see Lev. 18:8) and offensive to the Gentiles.

1 Corinthians 5:2

You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst.

(a) You have become arrogant. Instead of rebuking the incestuous man for his unlawful behavior, the Corinthians were applauding themselves for their tolerance, and even boasting about it (1 Cor. 5:6). Paul was horrified.

(b) Have not mourned. A proper response to sin is to be grieved. We don’t grieve because sin is wrong or because it breaks some law. We grieve because sin destroys people and marriages. Just as we would mourn when others get sick and die, we ought to mourn sin. See entry for 2 Cor. 7:10.

(c) Removed from your midst. Instead of tolerating the sin, the Corinthians should have confronted it. Since they had not done that, Paul deals with it (see entry for 1 Cor. 5:5).

1 Corinthians 5:5

I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

(a) Deliver such a one to Satan. In other words, remove him from the church (see 1 Cor. 5:2). Since the man refuses to listen to the Spirit, let sin be his teacher. Let him learn the hard way that sin has consequences, and maybe then he will see his need for a Savior.

(b) The destruction of his flesh. Let him reap what he has sown.

Sow to the flesh and you will reap destruction (Gal. 6:8). This has nothing to do with divine punishment and everything to do with the destructiveness of sin (Rom. 6:23). The implication is not that the man will die, but that he will experience the destructive consequences of his sin in some way.

(c) So that his spirit may be saved. This man was not a believer but Paul hoped that he would become one. Not everyone who goes to church is saved. This man was “among them,” but he was not one of them.

1 Corinthians 5:9

I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people;

My letter. The letter we know as First Corinthians was not the first letter Paul sent to the church in Corinth.

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