Sexual Immorality Defiles the Church
5 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (1 Co 5:1–8). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
Church Family: Family Sin
We have all sinned. We all struggle with temptation. We all probably have our own top ten, all-time list of favorites we struggle against (or perhaps have stopped struggling against). When enough of us get together, we start to compare lists and sometimes the temptations we have in common overtake us. Instead of holding one another accountable, we encourage one another in that common sin. If you do it first it doesn’t make me feel as bad joining you in it.
Take a moment to think about the sins you struggle with as a family. It’s not a pleasant thought, but every family has their own unique challenges. Some families struggle with addiction. Family gatherings become places to drown pain and sorrow in alcohol or whatever the addiction of choice may be. Other families struggle with gossiping and their family gatherings become places where they talk about everyone else who is not present there, including other family members. It may be pride and self-righteousness, greed, gluttony… it can be anything that keeps us from God, but every family has one. What is yours?
Paul wrote to the church family in Corinth about one of their particular family sins which was sexual immorality. In our culture where homosexuality has become a huge topic of debate, it is tempting to look for something unique about this particular sin. However, the way that Paul defines sexual immorality is any sex done outside of marriage. In Corinth, marriage was done primarily for the sake of creating households and managing property between families and love was only a secondary thought at best. To compensate for this, many people visited temple prostitutes or had extramarital love affairs on the side. One young man in Corinth bragged about having such an affair with his stepmother and this is the particular instance of a much greater family sin that Paul was writing about.
The young man was wrong to be having such an affair, and he was wrong to brag about it in church. However, the other church members were wrong to use his sin as a prop to make them feel better about their own affairs and their own sins. To God, it doesn’t matter who the sexual immorality is with if it is not with your spouse.
The Corinthians with their “try before you buy” mentality were living in sin. The little bit of sin they tolerated in their own life worked its way into the community until it was considered tolerable in their family and was working through the rest of the church. At some point, someone has to stand up for what is right before the whole family puts down their cross, picks up their common sin, and heads right back into slavery again.
Reflection: What temptations do you struggle with the most? Who else in your family struggles with them? How can you lovingly ask for help in your family in your common fight against those temptations?
Trying to hear the music in the din of many voices.
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