Put Away the Wicked Man

The church at Corinth had many problems. They were divided because they respected men more than they respected Jesus Christ. They also accepted as a Christian a man who was a sinner. This man was guilty of the sin of fornication. He had taken the wife of his own father to be his wife. We can read about this in chapter five of First Corinthians.

Instead of being ashamed, the Christians at Corinth were proud. In accepting this wicked man as a faithful member, they had made the church despised in the eyes of men. Even though the people of Corinth were known for their evil lives, they would not permit a man to take his father’s wife as his own!

Paul commanded the church to judge this man ( John 7:24). He told the Christians to “deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (1 Corinthians 5:5). What Paul means is that they must not consider the man as worthy of the fellowship of Christians. They must withdraw from him. They must not even eat with him (5:11). He would be regarded as a “heathen and a publican” (Matthew 18:17). This should cause the man to repent and be restored to the church. Therefore, he would be saved in the Last Day (the day of Christ).

God intends for His church to be pure. He is not pleased when thieves, liars, drunkards, adulterers, false teachers, and other guilty of sins are accepted in His church. “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (5:6). If a sinner is accepted among Christians, he will influence others to do wrong also. If a sinner is accepted in the church, he will cause the enemies of Christ to criticize His church. If a sinner is accepted in the church, and no efforts are made to cause him to repent, his soul will be lost in Hell.

When a father sees his children do bad things, he punishes them. He does this because he loves them and wants them to do right. Punishment by the father helps his children to live the right kind of life. Such punishment is an act of love. The same is true in the church. When the church withdraws its fellowship from a brother who is sinning, it causes him to see that his actions are evil. It should cause him to repent and return to the Lord so that he can be saved. The wicked man at Corinth repented when the church followed Paul’s advice (II Corinthians 2:6-8).

Church discipline is required by God. It is an act of love. The church cannot please God unless it practices church discipline. “Put away the wicked man from among yourselves” (5:13).