Today I’m going to take time to respond to DH’s comment on my last blog, “Does the “casting out” of the indignant sinners not go against the scandalous grace of God?” It’s a great question.
Often I think we confuse acceptance with grace. While acceptance is involved in God’s grace it is not without condition. God’s acceptance of us is tempered by our being washed in the blood of Christ. In order to experience that washing God must see us as willing, repentant, submitted souls. When we are covered in Christ’s blood we can come before God in the presence of His full glory because we are made sinless, but we must adopt a lifestyle that practices continual acts of repentance and forgiveness to continue to be seen as sinless in the presence of God.
Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 5:9 is related to those who have experienced that washing and so have experienced the acceptance of God through the grace of God, but have turned and knowingly rebelled against God through the sins, “sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people.” In a way Paul is writing to the new Pharisees, and the primary way to discipline someone who has experienced the Grace of God through Christ is to remove the privileges of being someone who has had that experience. This break in fellowship is not forever, but only until the time comes that the person is led to repentance, see 2 Corinthians 2:5. Actually the discipline that Paul instructs the church to employ is in reality a product of God’s Grace. Otherwise, you might expect Paul to instruct that they be put to death, or expect God to just wipe them out; however, they are given time through the experience of loss to be brought to repentance.
If there were no consequences for our sin – especially sexual sin, greed, idol worship, abuse, drunkenness, and dishonest business – then what would cause us to desire to quit. By losing the privilege of fellowship God’s ultimate desire is that this loss leads the someone who has experienced God’s redeeming grace to repentance.
Jesus had the same problem with the Pharisees and Jewish leaders. They had failed to lead lives of repentance, and Jesus would have nothing to do with them.
So, there is no disconnect between Paul’s instruction and Jesus’ instruction and action. In reality they are the same thing.
It’s the same teaching.
Now For those outside of Christ we should expect nothing else but “sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people.” They are outside of Christ so why would they be compelled to do anything else. Paul clarifies that the rules are much different with these people. In order to show them Jesus we must befriend them, see 1 Corinthians 5:9-13.