It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.
Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. – 1 Corinthians 5:1-8 (ESV)
Who you think you are will radically impact how you choose to live. Paul begins today’s passage with the startling accusation “that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife.” One striking aspect of this charge is that the word translated “pagans” literally simply means “gentiles”. In this deft way Paul is reminding the Corinthians that, in one sense, they are no longer gentiles. They have been cut out of the pagan nations and grafted into the Israel of God. They have been transferred out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son – and so are all who have put their trust in Jesus. The astonishing new status of Christians as God’s own treasured possession ought to radically alter the way that we live. This is why Paul drives home his point using an image drawn from the Passover. Just as the first Passover marked out the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, the once and for all sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross marks out our deliverance from this fallen world. We are therefore to celebrate (keep the feast) in sincerity and truth. There is one other aspect of who we are that we shouldn’t miss in this passage. We are vulnerable. Although redeemed, we are still sinners in a fallen world. One key reality of our life together as a church is that fellowship with other Christians who are pursuing to walk in the paths of righteousness strengthens each of us in our own walk with the LORD. On the other hand, to engage in close fellowship with those who are brazenly trampling the blood of Christ underfoot by defiantly living in sin is very likely to corrupt the entire church family. If someone came into our church, or into the school of your children, with a highly contagious and destructive disease you would insist on separation. Sin that is being flaunted rather than mortified is like that. For both the good of the sinner and the good of the whole church such sin must be dealt with.
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 94
Q. 94. What is baptism?
A. Baptism is a sacrament, wherein the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, doth signify and seal our ingrafting into Christ, and partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace, and our engagement to be the Lord’s.