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Even though I am physically far away from you, my spirit is present with you. And as one who is present with you, I have already evaluated and judged the perpetrator. So call a meeting, and when you gather together in the name of our Lord Jesus, and you know my spirit is present with you in the infinite power of our Lord Jesus,[a] release this man over to Satan[b] for the destruction of his rebellious flesh, in hope that his spirit may be rescued and restored in the day of the Lord.[c]

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  1. 5:4 God had given Paul exceptional ability to have his spirit present, along with the power of God, in their meetings together.
  2. 5:5 Satan means “accusing adversary.” When one is put out of the fellowship of the church family, the accuser has access to harass and oppress. There is a blessed protection in the fellowship of God’s people, for the Lord is present with us when we gather in his name.
  3. 5:5 Or “Turn this man over to Satan for the destruction of your fleshly works so that your spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.” Verses 3–5 comprise one long, complicated Greek sentence. Many see this difficult passage as a prescription for ex-communication from the church. Aramaic speakers see in this passage the words “Turn him over to the accuser,” as a figure of speech meaning “Let him suffer the consequences of his actions.” We have similar sayings in English. “Let him stew in his own juices.” Or “Give him enough rope to hang himself.” Or “Let him learn his lesson the hard way.” Regardless, it is not a light thing to be handed over to Satan. Apparently this man learned his lesson and repented, for Paul instructs the Corinthians in his second letter to forgive and comfort him. See 2 Cor. 2:6–11.

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