My Thoughts. . .
The church of God in Corinth had so much sin in the congregation that they could have shared with other congregations and still had too much left over! Some denied Paul’s apostleship. Some rubbed the noses of others in their superior pseudo-faith. Some questioned the resurrection. Tongue speakers, prophets, and curious women spoiled the decorum of the assembly. Some brought wine for the Lord’s supper and drank themselves drunk. Folks with unleavened bread refused to share with others. There was a four-way division with each vying for supremacy. Yet, God still indwelt them, and His Spirit continued to bless them with His miraculous gifts. God did not withdraw from them nor threaten them with departer. Instead, He commanded them to withdraw from only one member. That one was turned over to Satan but none of them were (1 Corinthians 5:5). Apparently sleeping with one’s mother-in-law is worse than denying Paul is an apostle (1 Corinthians 9:1-2).
What is interesting about the Corinthian church is that most today would have withdrawn fellowship from them before Paul receiving Chloe’s letter. The thousands of divisions among believers is evidence that withdrawing fellowship is not that difficult. Disciples today keep the path hot by leaving one church to rush to the perfection hope for in another. Each believes he is leaving behind those faults which made his departure necessary. No one can find a sin free congregation. So, the search does not reward that individual with a perfect congregation. He finds one that seems to be better until he becomes more acquainted with it. Is one sin greater than another, or only a person’s perception of that sin? We know some sins have more consequences than others, but do folks accept some transgressions because they classify them as “good sins” while defining others as “bad”? Getting a speeding ticket is not considered as bad as being arrested for indecent exposure. However, in today’s world, “indecent exposure” will be praised and perhaps in the near future owning a Bible could be a death penalty!
Someone who engages in homosexuality is considered worse than someone who cheats on his income tax. However, the consequences levied by the IRS includes a large fine with incarceration which the homosexual is not threatened with. Recently a major denomination voted to allow homosexuals to serve in their churches. This caused some congregations to break away from the mother organization. Is it not hypocritical to support a minister who occasionally gets several speeding tickets, but one must refuse to fellowship one who has homosexual desires and occasionally satisfies that desire? Did God not continue to indwell members of the Corinthian church despite their numerous doctrinal and impractical sins? When Paul wrote the second letter, the field had not been totally cleaned up and Paul warned about it. Yet, they were still in fellowship with God and Paul.
There seems to be an inconsistency in accepting one person’s sins but not another, even if he no longer engages in that sin. Inconsistencies are displayed sometimes in our decisions. The integrity of the Corinthian church with the community may have been degraded worse by that one individual’s activities than by the other sins among the membership. The statement is made from Paul to Corinth, “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?” (1 Corinthians 5:1-2 NIV, Emphasis mine, RH). We are not as consistent as we should be when it comes to some topics.
Sin is not to be condoned in anyone. Yet, society has a way of making some sins more acceptable than others. With the passing of time, the disgust for a sinful action may lighten up due to liberal society redefining it. Whatever sin one engages in, he still needs the blood of Jesus for that continual cleansing which only Jesus offers!