The church at Corinth was not without its problems, and in today’s text we see a specific issue that Paul takes time to address. Of all the sins and transgressions that we could fall into, sexual immorality is mentioned quite often in scripture. Early in the Old Testament, God lays out guidelines for sexuality because it is a gift from Him. Sexual relations form a union between man and woman as profound as the union of the believer with Christ, and we know that God has commanded that it be held only between a husband and wife. It is a powerful tool that God has given us; it acts as the glue that holds marriages together and is the means by which God has chosen to bring our offspring into the world! It is held to such a high standard that immorality in this area of our life is biblical ground for a divorce. The sin of sexual immorality carries weighty consequences.
Paul is tackling the issues directly in this passage, calling on the other believers to even exercise church discipline on this individual. Using the example of a lump of dough, Paul reminds the church that they are called to be holy. Leaven was not yeast like we would think of today, rather, a few small fermented pieces of old dough would be left to leaven the new dough. The church at Corinth needed to be reminded that those old ways needed to be gone completely.
Our sin is a serious thing to God. As believers we have been called to live a different kind of life. Even though Paul instructs the church to “to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh,” notice that this discipline is to be balanced with grace: “so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.” The purpose of the discipline was not to punish the man for punishment’s sake but to lead him eventually toward salvation. The guidelines and laws that God laid out for His children in scripture have very specific intentions: they are for our good, protection and flourishing, and they are for His glory as we live a life that looks different than the world around us. This distinction was explicit in the Old Testament, it was necessary in the New Testament, and it extends to us today. We are called to be a holy people for God.
Rather than think about the immoral people in our life, my encouragement would be to look inward. God hates sin, and His desire is for us to confess our sins, receive forgiveness from Him, and be holy.
Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:13-16
By: Alex Boswell