Scripture Reading: 1 Corinthians 5:1-13, Leviticus 18:8, Galatians 6:1-10
Are you shocked when you read the latest news headlines? According to Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church, we shouldn’t be surprised at all by the terrible acts of the world. After all, if a man is not anchored in Christ, why should he walk in the way of Christ? Why wouldn’t his every action ultimately come from greed and selfish ambition?
Paul tells us there is a fundamental difference between Christians and the world. We are fully changed by Jesus, and therefore, we are measured by a different stick altogether. Everywhere you look, the world is going to cheat and deceive, but why not? If we do not know Christ and are not changed by Him, there is no reason not to cheat and steal if we can get away with it. But as Christians we claim the name of Christ, and He has changed our hearts. We have every reason to choose what is right, even when no one is looking. And not only do we have reason, we have a responsibility.
In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul takes on the topic of immorality with the Church, and he does not do so casually. Sin among members of the body of Christ affects the whole body of believers. “Don’t you know that a little leaven leavens the whole batch of dough?” Paul asks, an undeniable urgency in his tone. Though he is not with them in person, Paul is “present in spirit,” and he demands his brothers and sisters act in a manner worthy of Christ’s sacrifice (v.2-5). He asks them to remember their new measuring stick: the gospel and grace of Jesus.
So what are we to do with those in the world who don’t know Jesus, and who continually and exuberantly choose what is evil? Paul addresses this, too, explaining that it is God and God alone who judges (v.13).
It’s such a relief that it’s not our job to busybody around and judge the world for doing exactly what the world is wont to do. God will judge. Instead of our judgment, God is calling us to give our energy and “not [tire] of doing good” (Galatians 6:9). We can share the gospel and we can do good, but there’s no need for us to hustle our judgment on the world—it’s not even our job.
And what about our brothers and sisters in the faith who do wrong? According to Scripture, reconciliation is the goal. Listen to these fiercely kind words from Galatians:
Brothers and sisters, if someone is overtaken in any wrongdoing, you who are spiritual, restore such a person with a gentle spirit, watching out for yourselves so that you also won’t be tempted. Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Look out for each other! “As we have opportunity, let us work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith” (v.10). Have zeal for doing what is right, restore your Christian brothers and sisters with patience, and do not grow weary in your work of doing good. The Lord transforms His children, and He makes them fit for the task.