"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
Why does Paul reserve his harshest words for a believer who indulges in "sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is drunkard, or cheats people" (1 Corinthians 5)?
Paul reserved his harshest words for the believers who indulge in “sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is drunkard, or cheats people” because these are the types of sins that show not only the idols in people’s lives, but also reflect a classic defining action of a sinner in this day. If we say we are a believer, yet we have idols that we bow down before in our home, what would others say about that? If we are abusive to our spouses, neighbors, children, or friends and are thought as a believer, would that not turn heads? If a marked trait of everyone who believed was sins such as these, what would separate the body of Christ from any gang, social club, or even crime mob out there? These sins are also huge violations of the Ten Commandments. While we are not judged by the law, there are moral laws which should be upheld by Christians such as these. Those who worship idols are automatically guilty of violating the first commandment as well as the Greatest Commandment which was given by Jesus himself (Matthew 22:36-40). Even the abuse of a “neighbor” or the violation of his wife, cheating, and even being greedy violate the second part of the commandment given by Jesus. We as followers of Christ, should strive to be like Him in every by following every command. It was obvious from the beginnings of the church, that the body of Christ had issues with separating themselves from sin and those who were involved with it. Paul is reminding them to avoid such fellowshipping and to stay away from those who dabbled in such wickedness as this.
As believers, we are called to be sanctified. Sanctification summarized means, to be separated. That means being separated from sin and everything that is related to sin. God is the picture of what it means to be holy and sanctified. As believers we house His Spirit within in us, therefore we must keep His temple (our bodies) holy before the Lord. Our lecture says it best when it states, “What does being in the world mean? Within a missional framework, it means being distinct from the world but not distant from the world. To be distinct is to continue to maintain a Christian worldview that shapes and informs how one interprets and engages faith commitments and leadership before and within a secular society.” It also points out Jesus direct reference to this issue with John 15:18-19. We must be willing to live amongst this world, to serve it with the Gospel and suffer its curse, but this world is also “not our home.” We must always keep in mind that we are to abstain from the ways of the world and strive daily to be more Christ-like in our ways.
Describe why Paul highlights abusing and cheating others in his list of egregious sins among Christians who are all parts of the body of Christ. Base your response on 1 Corinthians 5.
Regardless of how the terms sexually immoral, greedy, swindlers, idolaters, or just plain immoral is termed; they are all abusers of the body of Christ. Their behavior reflects on us all by using others and their own bodies of such extreme sins against flesh. What a brother or sister does reflects back on the body of Christ as a whole. If we are seen as sinners and hypocrites, it gives the lost another reason to discount the Gospel when it is delivered. The enemy doesn’t need our help in this matter and those issues should be left out of the body. It sounds harsh to practically avoid another believer if they have fallen, but these types of sins are those which seem to be performed with regularity, not just a fallen believer. By this point, the person has backslid into a lifestyle of sin, not just an incident. Also, within this chapter it appears that some person has married their own father’s wife. For Paul to say, “there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that even pagans do not tolerate” is a big deal considering the wickedness of society in his day. Believers should avoid and certainly not lay claim to these types of individuals who wish to associate with the church.
Our bodies are temples of the Spirit (6:19-20) which have meaning and purpose far beyond what we see in them in this life. They were never intended to be riddled with the curse of sickness, death, and sin. It is for this reason that one day we will be raised and made whole again. If we consistently defile ourselves and others, we are working against the will of God in this area. All of these types of sin whether it be sexual or physical abuse, even greediness are those that have allowed idols to replace God in their life. At this point, they are no longer just believers, but pagans. By definition, if you are not walking in the light (Luke 11:35; John 8:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:5; 1 John 3:9) then you are a child of darkness. Since we cannot serve two masters, we have chosen the later when we choose sin over God and sees this consistently (Matthew 6:24). At this point, we have given ourselves over to sin and darkness. As believers, we cannot associate ourselves with someone who knows about the goodness of God, but refuses to give up this type of lifestyle. I have stood and observed many times that these types of individuals begin to pull down the other believers with them instead of the other way around. We have all heard, “misery loves company.” Let us not be that company as Paul is pleading to us here in chapter five.
 Grand Canyon University, “Engaging Ethical Issues: Christian and Cultural Moral Beliefs and Practices” (lecture 7, Ministerial Ethics, Grand Canyon University, 2016). https://lc.gcu.edu/learningPlatform/user/users.html