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1 Corinthians 5

5
The sin of Corinth denounced
1And something else clings close to this spirit of self-righteousness. Have you yourselves, you who belong to the Spirit and not to the flesh, have you rid yourselves of the sin which disgraces your ancient city and makes her a by-word, and the shameful traffic in immorality for which she is so notorious? Are you spotless? Is fornication a thing unknown in your midst, amongst your members? Or is the old leaven still at work in you too, who belong to the Church of God in Corinth, amongst the saints as well as in the gentile streets of the city? 2You know that it has not yet been cast out. Why have you not “put away the evil from among you” as Moses decrees in the law. (Deut. xxii. 24). In you this leaven has culminated in a manifestation of evil worse than anything heard of among the Gentiles, a scandal wherein a son has sinned against his own father and his father's wife. 3-8And all the time you believe yourselves to have achieved something! Under the law such offenders were taken out of the city by the whole congregation and stoned without the gate. In our spiritual church of faith this type and example should have taught you for ever to reject from your midst the spirit that works this evil and the persons who do it. But this sin has not been hidden from me. Absent in body, I have been present in spirit, and in that spirit I have already, as in your presence, as in the midst of the whole congregation, searched out and judged and given over to the devil from which it springs this old leaven of fornication and hell, thereby abandoning it to the doom that is coming on all flesh. For God is judging the flesh.
Separate yourselves
9Therefore I wrote to you in a former Epistle to separate yourselves utterly from the fornication of the world, 10to have nothing to do with its traffic and merchandise and all the robbery and greed and superstition and idolatry which centre round it, bidding you to come out of the world and be separate. 11But now I write to bid you beware of its presence in your very midst, beware of those so-called “brothers” in whom the spirit of the world still works, who though they be called brethren are still the fools of lust, of greed, of drunkenness, superstition and rage. 12-13God judges the world, and His judgment comes apace; but now see that you judge the saints. “Put away the evil from your midst.” Let not the old leaven find its way back again. You had purged it out, your Church was like the new paschal loaf, eaten with the passion, eaten with the lamb of the sacrifice, in which no leaven is used. Now, our sacrifice is the paschal lamb and the unleavened bread, and the feast wherein they are partaken of is the spiritual Christ, crucified by the world, and the purity and freedom from the spirit of the world which accompany this sacrifice. Let us enjoy that feast, my brethren, untainted by the fermenting liquors of the world — the feast of sincerity and truth.
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The Mystery of Sex
1-2I also received a report of scandalous sex within your church family, a kind that wouldn’t be tolerated even outside the church: One of your men is sleeping with his stepmother. And you’re so above it all that it doesn’t even faze you! Shouldn’t this break your hearts? Shouldn’t it bring you to your knees in tears? Shouldn’t this person and his conduct be confronted and dealt with?
3-5I’ll tell you what I would do. Even though I’m not there in person, consider me right there with you, because I can fully see what’s going on. I’m telling you that this is wrong. You must not simply look the other way and hope it goes away on its own. Bring it out in the open and deal with it in the authority of Jesus our Master. Assemble the community—I’ll be present in spirit with you and our Master Jesus will be present in power. Hold this man’s conduct up to public scrutiny. Let him defend it if he can! But if he can’t, then out with him! It will be totally devastating to him, of course, and embarrassing to you. But better devastation and embarrassment than damnation. You want him on his feet and forgiven before the Master on the Day of Judgment.
6-8Your flip and callous arrogance in these things bothers me. You pass it off as a small thing, but it’s anything but that. Yeast, too, is a “small thing,” but it works its way through a whole batch of bread dough pretty fast. So get rid of this “yeast.” Our true identity is flat and plain, not puffed up with the wrong kind of ingredient. The Messiah, our Passover Lamb, has already been sacrificed for the Passover meal, and we are the Unraised Bread part of the Feast. So let’s live out our part in the Feast, not as raised bread swollen with the yeast of evil, but as flat bread—simple, genuine, unpretentious.
9-13I wrote you in my earlier letter that you shouldn’t make yourselves at home among the sexually promiscuous. I didn’t mean that you should have nothing at all to do with outsiders of that sort. Or with crooks, whether blue- or white-collar. Or with spiritual phonies, for that matter. You’d have to leave the world entirely to do that! But I am saying that you shouldn’t act as if everything is just fine when a friend who claims to be a Christian is promiscuous or crooked, is flip with God or rude to friends, gets drunk or becomes greedy and predatory. You can’t just go along with this, treating it as acceptable behavior. I’m not responsible for what the outsiders do, but don’t we have some responsibility for those within our community of believers? God decides on the outsiders, but we need to decide when our brothers and sisters are out of line and, if necessary, clean house.