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1st Corinthians 5

Verses 1-5, “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father's wife. And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand over this man to Satan, so that the sinful nature [Or margin: "that his body" or "that his flesh"] may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.”

The book of Corinthians is about communion, which is another word for fellowship. Practical issues of communion or fellowship with God and with each other--what to have communion with and what not to have communion with. We should not have intimate communion with the world corporately or individually. [the great false church depicted in Revelation has intimate communion with the world.] A healthy body rids itself of poison and likewise the body of Christ needs to rid itself of poison. If a Church or individual doesn't deal with spiritual poison, it gets sick spiritually. In verses 1-2, there is a serious issue of sin, spiritual poison, in this Church at Corinth. It will destroy the body and you guys go along with it like nothing is wrong, Paul says. Even the Gentiles of this sailortown don't act like this. A morality issue is being brought up here. Just what was God's standard for morality in the Old Testament? Let's have a look.


God’s Standard For Morality In The Old Testament

Leviticus 18:1-24.  “‘I am the Lord your God. You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices. You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the Lord your God. Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. I am the Lord.

No one is to approach any close relative to have sexual relations. I am the Lord.

Do not dishonor your father by having sexual relations with your mother. She is your mother; do not have relations with her.

Do not have sexual relations with your father's wife; that would dishonor your father. [this obviously refers to a step-mother, which is what applies to what was going on with that man in I Corinthians 5.]

Do not have sexual relations with your sister, either your father's daughter or your mother's daughter, whether she was born in the same home or elsewhere.

Do not have sexual relations with your son's daughter or your daughter's daughter; that would dishonor you.

Do not have sexual relations with the daughter of your father's wife, born to your father; she is your sister. [Half-sister.]

Do not have sexual relations with your father's sister; she is your father's close relative.

Do not have sexual relations with your mother's sister, because she is your mother's close relative.

Do not dishonor your father's brother by approaching his wife to have sexual relations; she is your aunt.

Do not have sexual relations with your daughter-in-law. She is your son's wife; do not have relations with her.

Do not have sexual relations with your brother's wife; that would dishonor your brother.

Do not have sexual relations with both a woman and her daughter. Do not have sexual relations with either her son's daughter or her daughter's daughter; they are her close relatives. That is wickedness.

Do not take your wife's sister as a rival wife and have sexual relations with her while your wife is living.

Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during her uncleanness of her monthly period.

Do not have sexual relations with your neighbor's wife and defile yourself with her.

Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech [or to be passed through the fire], for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.

Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable. [i.e. Homosexuality.]

Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion.  Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled...’” 
In Leviticus 20 God attached the death penalty to many of these laws which were set in place to protect the nation of Israel from moral decay. These laws made up what we would recognize today as the Constitution of the theocratic nation of Israel.  Leviticus 20:10-21 is a direct cross-reference to what is stated in Leviticus 18, but with the penalties attached. These penalties were set in place to safeguard the nation of Israel from internal moral decay, and to be carried out by the judicial authorities set in power.  It’s not for the Christian churches to enforce these laws on the outside world, far from it.  And the Christian churches have no authority to impose similar penalties, they only authority they have is to put out of the church congregation someone who is breaking these moral laws.  That’s it, put them out, don’t hurt them, don’t gossip about, put them out and pray for them.


Does The New Covenant Abolish God’s Old Testament Standard Of Morality?


Do you think the new covenant does away with this standard just because the old covenant is now obsolete [Hebrews 8:8-13]? Or did Jesus make strict adherence to the morality of Leviticus even more binding on Christians today? Matthew 5:27-30. “You have heard that it was said, 'Do not commit adultery [Exodus 20:13]. But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.”  Obviously the old covenant laws about sexual morality and purity have not only been transferred to the new covenant by Jesus Christ, but strengthened. Paul states that the penalty has also been transferred to the new covenant. But the penalty is not to be exacted by man but by God himself in the judgment. It is still a death penalty, but this time, eternal death in the lake of fire [cf. Revelation 20:14-15]. 1st Corinthians 6:9-10. “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”  Paul has just about repeated the majority of the ten commandments here, which Jesus brought to their spiritual intent in Matthew 5. [The Holy Days and Sabbath are missing in all the New Testament references to the Ten Commandments because they have been transformed and the true intent and meaning which the Holy Days foreshadowed is lived in us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.] [Refer to the link titled "Jesus, Our Passover Lamb", secondary title, "Jesus, Servant of God", section on Mark 2:23-3:7, at very end, click on link titled "Holy Day Shadows"  see]


How Is The Church Supposed To Deal With Unrepentant Sinning Believers?

Verses 3-5 shows how we are to address spiritual poison within the corporate body, the congregation. Paul shows us in this instance that they were to turn this one who was sleeping with his father's wife over to Satan. This meant expel him from the congregation, from your fellowship. "The flesh destroyed" means his fleshly desires. Jesus gives us a clue to what Paul was talking about here in his story about the prodigal son. Luke 15:11-24. “Jesus continued: "There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.  When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! [The reality of life comes home to roost.] I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' So he got up and went to his father.
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.  The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son. [Some early manuscripts add, 'But make me like one of your hired men.']
But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.”  So turning one over to Satan was Paul’s way of saying 'Put him out in the world, at the mercy of Satan's evil world. When he comes to his senses, just like the prodigal son, he'll be back. And then you will have gained your brother back, and God will have gained a son back. As we will see in II Corinthians this is just what happened! The sinner repented and came back. Satan's world, without support from God and the brethren is cruel. He could see the difference. He became aware of 'where it was at.'


Paul Compares The Church’s Purging Of Sin To The De-Leavening That Took Place In The Passover/Days Of Unleavened Bread Observances Of The Early Church

Spiritual poison affects the body like a tiny amount of leaven leavens a whole lump of dough. Leaven overtakes the entire mass of dough in a very short period of time, and if left alone and not baked in an oven, the dough will soon begin to rot and smell. The leaven will destroy the dough. Sin is the same working in a congregation or a nation. God's moral purity laws were designed to protect his nation and any nation who would apply them. Jesus transferred the same moral purity laws over into the new covenant law of Christ, and brought it to the thought level in Matthew 5:27-30. A member living in a state of sin will leaven the whole congregation of a church in a very short period of time. Time can work for or against a pastor and a church. When we are looking to see how an individual will work out in a particular leadership role, time is on our side. Just wait and see how the person works out. But with one who brings sin into the body, time is not on your side. Get rid of the one who has a lifestyle of sin, and do it fast, before he leavens the whole congregation.
Spiritually Christ our Passover Lamb has been sacrificed for us and we are now spiritually de-leavened from sin. It does not have the same power over us as it has over the world. We now possess the power within us to overcome it. We are now to live de-leavened lives. The very meaning of the Days of Unleavened Bread are being fulfilled within each and every Christian who has the Holy Spirit dwelling in him or her, whether the actual Days of Unleavened Bread are observed or not. This is how this set of Holy Days have been transformed by the Holy Spirit within us.  1st Corinthians 5:6-8. “Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast--as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.” [Paul may actually have been exhorting them to keep the Festival of Passover and Days of Unleavened Bread, when he said “Therefore let us keep the Festival,” but now as a new covenant observance with spiritual de-leavening included within those ceremonies.  And this spiritual de-leavening was to be a 365 day a year process now, not just restricted to the Days of Unleavened Bread.]


So Who Should We Associate With, First Within The Church, Second, In The World?

Verses 9-11 give clarification on who to associate with and who not to. Don't disassociate yourself from the sinners in this evil world--you're their only source of true light and salt, as Jesus brought out in Matthew 5. But disassociate yourself from a brother in Christ who is practicing gross sin without repentance. There needs to be an interaction between non-believers and believers. But later on Paul brings out that we should be extremely careful with this type of association with the world so we don't get roped back into their evil lifestyles. Paul is saying, "Maintain a moral code within the Church" (verses 12-13).
Verses 9-13. “I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people--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. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.  What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. ‘Expel the wicked man from among you’ [Deut. 17:7; 19:19; 21:21; 22:21,24; 24:7].”


1 Corinthians 6

1 Corinthians 6:1-8. "If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the saints? Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? [cf. Rev. 2-3] And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, appoint as judges even men of little account in the church! I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? But instead, one brother goes to law against another--and this in front of unbelievers! The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers." LAWSUITS AMONG BELIEVERS: Lawsuits in the world's courts against other believers were taking place in the Corinthian Church. Paul is saying 'Look at the position you'll have later on in the kingdom of God. Look at the lousy witness you're giving to the world about who you are when you take brothers to court. You are destined to judge fallen angels and you're relying on the world's court systems!?! We have supernatural wisdom from God to help us decide matters, and you're relying on the world's imperfect judicial system. James 1:5. "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him." (Read also 1 Corinthians 2:9-12.) Paul says, 'Why not be wronged, so you can at least be a witness to the world of how a Christian responds to wrongs.'

The Unrighteous Will Not Inherit The Kingdom of God

The unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God--ones who live an unrighteous lifestyle. But God has washed you and sanctified you. Verses 9-11, "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. [As I pointed out here, almost all the ten commandments are covered in verses 9-10, with the exception of the fourth which covers the Sabbath and Holy Days. In some cases, the new covenant law of Christ is stricter than the letter. But through the power of the Holy Spirit within us, all things are possible.] But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God."


Paul again drives the point home which he addressed in chapter 5. A person's salvation is at stake who accepts a sexually immoral lifestyle. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Honor God with your body. Your body is not your own, Jesus bought you with his blood. There is no fellowship between Light and Darkness. Individually we are the temple for the Holy Spirit (as well as corporately)--the inner sanctuary of the temple--the Holy of Holies. Lot pitched his tent toward Sodom and ended up in Sodom. 1 Corinthians 6:12-20. “Everything is permissible for me--but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me--but I will not be mastered by anything. Food for the stomach and the stomach for food--but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body?  For it is said, ‘The two will become one flesh [Genesis 2:24].’  But he who unites himself with the Lord is one with him in spirit [John 14].  Flee from sexual immorality.  All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.  Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body.”
Joseph and Potiphar's wife is a type of the Church and this sexually immoral world. Genesis 39:1,4-15. “Now Joseph had been taken down to Egypt. Potiphar, an Egyptian who was one of Pharaoh’s officials, the captain of the guard [commanding general under Pharaoh of Pharaoh’s army], bought him from the Ishmaelites who had taken him there…Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. From the time he put him in charge of his household and of all that he owned, the Lord blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the Lord was on everything he had; with Joseph in charge, he did not concern himself with anything except the food he ate.  Now Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master's wife took notice of Joseph and said, ‘Come to bed with me!’
But he refused.
With me in charge,’ he told her, ‘my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?’ And though she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her or even be with her.  One day he went into the house to attend to his duties, and none of the household servants was inside. She caught him by his cloak and said, 'Come to bed with me!' But he left his cloak in her hand and ran out of the house.” Now this is the Christian response God wants to see in us. Joseph fled this tempting offer for sex. He literally ran out of the house.



content Editor Peter Benson -- no copyright, except where noted.  Please feel free to use this material for instruction and edification
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