1 Corinthians 5

This devotional is written by Matt Coombs.

1 Corinthians 5

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Dealing with a case of incest
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: a man is sleeping with his father's wife. 2 And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? 3 For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. 4 So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.

6 Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? 7 Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch - as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people - 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. 'Expel the wicked person from among you.'


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An (Oedipus) Complex Situation

In Chapter 5, Paul turns his attention to the publicly known and problematic situation of an individual who is sleeping with his mum (or stepmother). And Paul is shocked that the Corinthian church is choosing to turn a blind eye to this blatant and unremorseful behaviour. It's like they don't even acknowledge it to be a problem and have failed to levy any discipline.

Paul condemns this act of sexual immorality in very strong terms (5). Paul knew that allowing public sin to exist in the church effects all its members. Of course, he doesn't expect Christians to be sinless- everyone struggles with sin. But it is the deliberate sin and refusal to repent that is a problem because it effects everyone in the church. A little yeast spreads through all the dough (7).

When the Hebrew slaves prepared for their Exodus from Egypt, they were told to make unleavened bread. Bread without yeast. Yeast or leaven in the Bible is often a symbol for sin - they were commanded to sweep it all out of their houses before they left (Ex 15:15,13:7). This reveals a whole new dimension to Jesus celebrating passover with his disciples and taking the unleavened bread and saying 'this is my body broken for you' - he lived a yeast-less life. Paul knows this too - that Jesus is our passover lamb, the perfect sacrifice for our sin. He has delivered us from the slavery of sin, so we too should have nothing to do with the sins of the past (old yeast).

For us to grow into a mature and healthy church community we need to turn from sin and embrace obedience to God by following his commands. This starts with each of us taking responsibility for our own actions and decisions. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus encourages his listeners to remove the plank from their own eye before pointing out the speck in their brothers.

Is the Spirit highlighting an area that requires repentance?

Invite the Spirit to fill you and help you.

Acknowledge it.

Turn from it.

Don't dwell on it.

Resolve to live differently.

Trust that the God of love and mercy always forgives.

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