Day 5

Church Discipline

from the 1 & 2 Corinthians reading plan

1 Corinthians 5:1-13, Leviticus 18:8, Galatians 6:1-10

BY Rebecca Faires

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.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 (1 Corinthians 5:13).

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.
—Galatians 6:1-2

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.


Post Comments (131)

131 thoughts on "Church Discipline"

  1. Ava Warren says:

    I’ve been struggling this year with religious rules. And trying to separate that from intimacy with God. But passages like this bring it up. He does have a standard.

  2. Rhiannon Donovan says:

    I needed 1 Corn. 5:12
    With it being Pride month and me not joining in on the “support” I have been needing a verse that gives me backup when someone asks if I hate gay people or why I think I can judge them. To be honest, I think it’s a struggle some people have and I believe it is not what God intended for physical intimacy. However, all are accepted. I will not affirm and will lovingly keep my brothers and sisters accountable as I would desire from them.
    But this verse is perfect for those who ask me why I’d say it’s wrong for a Christian and not them. Short answer, “You don’t claim to worship my God and also don’t have the same endgame goals as I so you are off the hook.”

  3. Angie Graham says:

    Prayer is the best medicine for those who have fallen away from God and also for those in the world that don’t know God! We just have to live our lives in a Godly manner in front of others that they may see Jesus through us!

  4. Shelby says:

    We can only do so much for people, trying to bring them back to God if they have sinned. You can only try so many times before you just have to walk away and let them figure it out for themselves. At that point, pray from a distance and leave it and Let God.

    For example, with v11, talking about the drunkard and “do not associate”–both of my parents drank and became drunk all the time growing up and into my adulthood. Now my mother is sober and is a different person and she sees her mistakes. We don’t have to completely cut someone out of our life due to them sinning, we try to direct them periodically so we don’t ‘tire out in doing good’ (Gal 6:9). I believe the more we associate with the method of sinning, it increases the risk for us to sin as we engulf ourself around it.

    Plus years ago with my big life changing sins, I would have casted myself out of the church by myself. God changed my heart and changed my focus onto Him more and I’m thankful. I’m grateful for Him being every forgiving due to the covenant of Jesus; I get another chance and I am made ‘white as snow’ (Isaiah 1:18).

  5. Taylor Harvey says:

    I’m a little confused.. the verses in Galatians hold a great contrast to what Paul says in this chapter, specifically when he says to deliver this particular man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh in order to save his spirit in the day of the lord (vs 5)
    This contradicts so much of what I’ve been taught and I think I’m missing historical context. It is so harsh compared to the Galatians excerpt.

    1. Angie Parizo says:

      I had the same exact thoughts. I keep wondering what I’m missing.

    2. Kris-Florence says:

      what i got from it, paul is telling the corinthians of the wrongdoings of their brothers, helping them realize that although it is just one person who is committing this sin, that one person can affect the entire church (v.6) so when we turn to galations, that is a reminder that around us there are people who are still sinning and living the life of the world, however we shouldn’t give up and just let them do what they want, we should “do good” and make a point to share the gospel and make the LORD known. they don’t connect directly, it’s more of “hey you guys are sinning” and what we should do if we see someone sinning. we shouldn’t judge since that’s the LORD’s job, rather we should be supportive and help whoever is struggling out of their pit and into the light of the Holy Spirit.

    3. Samara Parker says:

      I’m confused by this as well! Please comment if you have helpful insight on this contrast.

    4. Ava Coache says:

      The way I have been taught church discipline is that the act of “throwing him to Satan” is the very last resort. Separating someone from the church is never something that should be taken lightly or done with out an intense amount of love and coming alongside of him which is what we see described in Galatians. Coming alongside of someone gently and bearing his burdens is always the first step in church discipline trying to gently help someone see the sin and hopefully that will allow them to take it out of their life. It is only until that step and several others steps are complete and they are still choosing not to remove that sin then the act of throwing him to Satan (removal from the church body) would put him in such a place that he would then want to remove that sin from his life and come back to the church body. Hope this helps ladies!

  6. Amy Masaschi says:

    If anyone wants a really good sermon that gives great clarity to these verses on church discipline, check this out by John Piper.

  7. Gloria S says:

    I think today’s church (evangelical white male ) leaders will have a lot to answer for…Supporting hate, using the Bible to hurt children, explicitly and implicitly

  8. Zoryvett Rodriguez says:

    This passage means so much to me. I find myself commuting little white lies. Tiny things that aren’t necessary and aren’t needed to make. Things that won’t make a difference if the truth was told but I tell the lie anyway. And I realize that these lies are hindering me. They are my sin. I just repent all of that. The enemy will not have a hold on my tongue. I pray God can grant me the grace needed to realize real truths instead of white lies are so much more appreciated. Thank you God!

    1. Lacy DiSabatino says:

      Your bold repentance is so sweet and good. I can say with confidence that you are forgiven by our amazing Father, and tonight I am praying tha the Holy Spirit would fill up every inch of you and nothing but loving truth could come from your lips and you would become known as a woman of truth, honest, and reliability always. I pray that you would know your identity is already one of truth, it is how He sees you today. Your comment touched my heart, as lies once big and then small were a major place of repentance for me in my walk with Jesus. I have found it to be such a hard sin to admit. Nobody wants to say, “I’m so sorry I just lied to you about…” and so many people struggle to even see their own small lies, myself included. What a lovely and brave comment.

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