13 God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you. – 1 Cor. 5:13 NLT
Paul is not suggesting that we never associate with worldly people whose lives are controlled by their fleshly desires. Just as Jesus said, we “are in the world but not of the world”. We hold ourselves to different standards. We are not to think of ourselves as “better than” nor are we to think of ourselves as “holier than” anyone. What we are to do is to separate ourselves from our Christian brothers and sisters who have chosen to live unholy lifestyles. We are as Paul puts it to “expel the wicked person from among you.” This seems harsh to us. We had rather hide behind verses such as “judge not lest you be judged” and “pull the plank out of your own eye before you point out the toothpick in your brother’s eye”. (my paraphrase) We must keep the Temple of Christ clean and holy.
1 Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.—2 Cor. 7:1 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
God is waiting to show you the Way.
1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate: A man is sleeping with his father’s wife.2 And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have gone into mourning and have put out of your fellowship the man who has been doing this? 3 For my part, even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. As one who is present with you in this way, I have already passed judgment in the name of our Lord Jesus on the one who has been doing this. 4 So when you are assembled and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, 5 hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord.—1 Cor. 5:1-5 NIV
When there a member of the body of Christ who deliberately chooses a lifestyle of disobedience, it is up to the body to discipline that person. We can assume here that the question of guilt has already been dealt with and the person is guilty. (See Matthew 18:15-18 for the correct procedure for finding a member guilty) The word “judgment” here is used much as we would use the word “sentence” when the judge announces the judgment of someone the jury has found guilty. So, what Paul is saying is that the leaders in the church should have already pronounced and carried out the sentence. The guilty party is a Christian and will make it to heaven but his physical body is handed over to satan for destruction. The longer the guilty party is allowed to remain in the church, the more damage it does to the reputation of the church and to the Kingdom of God.