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
1 Cor. 5:9-13 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
1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, 2 To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours: 3 Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.—1 Cor. 1:1-3 (NIV)
Paul founded the Church at Corinth on his second missionary journey in A.D. 50 -51. While he was in Ephesus on his 3rd missionary journey, he received some negative reports concerning the morality of the believers there. He immediately sent Timothy to correct the situation at Corinth. He also wrote this letter to the church, probably thinking that it would arrive before Timothy got there. The members of the church were starting to return to the old ways of idol worship. In particular, the immorality with the temple prostitutes and overindulgence in both food and drink. But, if we read verse 2 very carefully, we find that under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Paul wrote this letter to me and you. It reads: “to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be his holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours.” That includes us and we should take it as a stern warning not to go back to our old ways. While we may not have shrines where all types of immoral acts are carried out, we have more than enough idols of our own making. Each one of us needs to take a few minutes and ask God the Holy Spirit to reveal to us the idol(s) that are standing between us and our God. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.–1 John 1:8-10 (NIV)
8 But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, 9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, 11 according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.–1 Timothy 1:8-11 (NLT)
The law was given as a teacher to show us that we could not become righteous through the observance of the law. Total forgiveness required perfection in every point of the law. That was and is impossible for humans. Sin required a perfect sacrifice Who would shed His blood for our sins. God had the perfect plan and the perfect Man, Jesus. On the Cross, He took on our sins and through his shed blood gave us His righteousness. Now, when God looks at us, all He sees is the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Jesus fulfilled the law to perfection and willingly laid down His life for us. To teach anything but Jesus Christ and Him crucified is not sound doctrine. The Gospel of God is simple: Believe on Jesus and receive eternal life. Don’t add anything to God’s simple plan. We are saved by grace though faith. Our good works here on earth are to lay up rewards in heaven, they cannot earn us salvation.