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Because of my deep love for you, I must express my concern about the report brought to me regarding the lewd and immoral behavior exhibited in your community. This scandal has come to my attention because this kind of thing is unheard of even among the outsiders around us: I understand a man is having sexual relations with his father’s wife. You have turned into an arrogant lot who refuse to see the tragedy right in front of your eyes and mourn for it. If you would face these hard realities, the one living in this sin would be removed from the community.

Despite the fact that I am not physically present with you, I am there in spirit and already have spoken judgment against the man who has engaged in this conduct. When you gather in the name of the Lord Jesus and I am present with you in spirit, and the infinite power of our Lord Jesus is present also, I direct you to release this man over to Satan so his rebellious nature will be destroyed and his spirit might be rescued in the day the Lord Jesus returns.

Your proud boasting in this matter is terrible. Don’t you understand that the tiniest infraction can bring about an unwelcome chain of events? That just a little yeast causes all the dough to rise? Get rid of all the old yeast; then you’ll become new dough, just as you are already a people without sin’s leavening influence. You see, the Anointed One is our Passover lamb; He has been sacrificed for us. So let the real feast begin. Get rid of all the old yeast, the yeast of hatred and evil. Throw it out so we can feast on the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Sexual sin is always painful, but incest decimates families and communities, and it leaves people isolated and angry. The danger for believers who understand the reality of sin is that they may lose sight of redemption and become complacent in their brokenness. In Corinth the believers have become so complacent that they are ignoring the incest in their community. The church’s reputation is beginning to suffer among outsiders.

Church discipline if properly done accomplishes two things: first, it protects the community from harm caused by the sin; second, it can lead to a restoration of the sinner to God and the community. Ignoring the sin actually makes the lives of the sinners worse. Real love confronts the sin and leads the sinners toward redemption and wholeness.

In the letter I wrote to you previously, I made it clear that you are not to band together with those who have embraced immoral lives. 10 Don’t misunderstand; I’m not telling you to hole up and hunker down from the rest of the world. That’s impossible. The world is filled with immoral people consumed by their desire for more; they steal from one another without hesitation and will worship man-made idols with no shame at all. If you attempted to avoid these people, you would have to leave the world itself. 11 What I was saying is that you should not associate with someone who calls himself a brother or sister but lives contrary to all we stand for: committing immoral sexual acts, consumed with desire for more, worshiping tangible lifeless things, using profanity, drinking into oblivion, swindling and cheating others. Do not even sit at the table with a person like this. 12 Why would I ever attempt to judge those outside the church? Aren’t we called to judge those within the church? 13 God judges the outsiders. Your job is this: “Expel the wicked from your own community.”[a]

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