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.
9 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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