Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | April 16, 2020

“REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.” – “So you shall purge the evil from among you.”

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Corinthians chapter 5.  Here is a link to this Scripture – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20Corinthians+5&version=NASB

I quote only the following verses.

“It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife.  You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst.

I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people;  I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world.  But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one.  For what have I to do with judging outsiders?  Do you not judge those who are within the church?  But those who are outside, God judges.  REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.”  1 Corinthians 5:1-2 and 9-13.

———————-

It may seem harsh to “REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.”

Where is the brotherly love?:  some might say.

But, we need to recognize the harm that would occur to the rest of the church if the wicked man was allowed to stay.

“Your boasting is not good.  Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough?”  1 Corinthians 5:6.  In other words, if that wicked man would be allowed to stay in the church, he would infect the whole church with wickedness.

It is not a strange principle to “REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.” 

We see an example of the application in the Old Testament.

“But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk.  So you shall purge the evil from among you.”  Deuteronomy 13:5.

We also see the leper analogy.

“As for the leper who has the infection, his clothes shall be torn, and the hair of his head shall be uncovered, and he shall cover his mustache and cry, ‘Unclean!  Unclean!’  He shall remain unclean all the days during which he has the infection;  he is unclean.  He shall live alone;  his dwelling shall be outside the camp.”  Leviticus 13:45-46.

We also see the analogy today from the policy and practice of social distancing and removing the one who tests positive for cornavirus from the midst of others and putting him or her in some type of quarantine.

We also see that no immoral man will be allowed to be in heaven.

“For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.”  Ephesians 5:5.

But, there is hope! 

There is hope for the leper.  He and his house could be cleansed.  See Leviticus chapter 14.

There is also hope for the one infected with coronavirus.  We have seen many recover and released from quarantine to dwell with their family and friends.

And, there is even also hope for the wicked man.  “I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”  1 Corinthians 5:5.

If they do recover, then they could be returned to the others after recovery.  And, there will be much rejoicing from the others upon their return.  But, until recovery happened, they remain removed.  There is too much risk to the others if they would be allowed to be with the others while they are contagious or while they continue to be arrogant, steadfastly acting wickedly.

In summary, there is hope, because God restores.  “The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Write all the words which I have spoken to you in a book.  For behold, days are coming,’ declares the Lord, ‘when I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel and Judah.’ The LORD says, ‘I will also bring them back to the land that I gave to their forefathers and they shall possess it.’”  Jeremiah 30:1-3.

We live in a day and age when church discipline is ignored or neglected.  But, church discipline is important.  It is one of the three marks of the true Church.

Article 29:  Of the marks of the true Church, and wherein she differs from the false Church.

We believe, that we ought diligently and circumspectly to discern from the Word of God which is the true Church, since all sects which are in the world assume to themselves the name of the Church.  But we speak not here of hypocrites, who are mixed in the Church with the good, yet are not of the Church, though externally in it;  but we say that the body and communion of the true Church must be distinguished from all sects, who call themselves the Church.  The marks, by which the true Church is known, are these:  if the pure doctrine of the gospel is preached therein;  if she maintains the pure administration of the sacraments as instituted by Christ;  if church discipline is exercised in punishing of sin:  in short, if all things are managed according to the pure Word of God, all things contrary thereto rejected, and Jesus Christ acknowledged as the only Head of the Church.  …  Belgic Confession. 

“Do not be bound together with unbelievers;  for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?  Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?  Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols?  For we are the temple of the living God;  just as God said,

“I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM;
AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
17 “Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord.
“AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN;
And I will welcome you.
18 “And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,”
Says the Lord Almighty.”  2 Corinthians 6:14-18.

But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.  We have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will continue to do what we command.  May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us.”  2 Thessalonians 3:3-6.


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