1 Corinthians 5:1-7

1 Corinthians 5:1
It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.
Commonly = Actually
Fornication = Porneia (Pornography)
Have = Possessed
Paul doesn’t even do a build up on this situation. It is obvious that some man was committing fornication with his father’s wife. This doesn’t indicate it was the man’s mother, but maybe his step mother. It really doesn’t matter since this sin and this man was obviously tolerated in the church. Maybe this man was a “church boss” or a good giver and the leaders didn’t want to lose the income. The situation with this man was that he was having a sexual relationship with this woman and the leaders did nothing about it. It was also being reported outside the church and probably many were considering this church a laughing stock, that it was nothing more than another fake Corinthian religion. One of the reasons that God’s name is blasphemed is because of the actions of His children. (Rom 2:24 KJV) For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.
We really don’t know if he was a Christian but that does not matter, if he is attached to a church and something like this is tolerated in the church, then whether a person is saved or not, brings shame on that congregation and accusations against God. In Corinth, sexual fornication was a part of many of the religions. Remember that a temple to Aphrodite was there which had about one thousand prostitutes at the temple. The Corinthian church may have been looked at as another fornicating religion. This is why it is so important that we do not allow membership of unbelievers in churches, I am speaking of those that are still reasonably faithful to God’s Word. One unbeliever can ruin the reputation of a good church which took many years to build and in one fell swoop, the reputation is gone. (Eccl 9:18 KJV) Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.
Not even the unsaved Gentiles have sunk to the level the Corinthians have. Paul must hit this one head on. Even in the temple prostitute cults there was no taking of a father’s wife. God already gave a law concerning this situation. (Deu 27:20 KJV) Cursed be he that lieth with his father's wife; because he uncovereth his father's skirt. And all the people shall say, Amen. Under the law this man was cursed for partaking in this sin. In Ephesians, God deals with it again. (Eph 5:3 KJV) But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; The true saint of God must never become involved in any type of fornication because it is sin. Remember what a bashing the church took during the years of the Baker and Swaggart sex scandals in 1987? Giving to ministries plummeted in that time and it took a while to regain the trust of givers. Paul is seeing the same thing. If the character of the church is corrupted, then people will pull away and it doesn’t take much for people to use anything as an excuse to stay away from a church.
1 Corinthians 5:2
And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
Puffed Up = Conceited or put on airs
Mourned = Grieved or lament
Paul had already labeled those leaders and people as prideful. Their pride was so blinding that instead of them dealing with this sin, they were just going along with life as usual. There was no sensitivity to sin in that church. These people should have been lamenting this person’s plunge into darkness, not only for the sake of the church, but a sin like that can mean that a person is unsaved, and seeking the salvation of his soul should have been the first order of business in their minds. Paul wanted this man separated from the congregation so his poison would not spread. Younger Christians are not yet grounded in the faith and if they see someone who has been there a while sinning and being accepted, it will confuse them, and maybe they will go back to a sin that God has delivered them from.
When there are Christians in a congregation that are sinning and setting a bad example, they must be dealt with. The Bible tells us that we are to separate them from other Christians. They are to be separated but not treated as unbelievers, instead they must be treated as sinning brethren, if they give evidence of salvation. If churches practiced discipline, Christians would not partake in sins so easily for fear of being found out.
(2 Th 3:6 KJV) Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.
(2 Th 3:15 KJV) Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.
1 Corinthians 5:3
For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
Paul didn’t even have to be there to make a judgment on this situation. Paul has already judged the deeds of this man and his reputation by means of his actions. When a sodomite Bishop was elected to office in Massachusetts, we didn’t have to be right there to know that what had been done was an abomination unto the Lord. Paul didn’t have to be right there in Corinth either to know that this man was committing an egregious sin which would have a serious ripple effect on the congregation and the person’s life. Those who were in the Corinthian church could make no judgment in this matter because they were still babes (Chapter 1-3) and did not understand the seriousness of continuing in a sinful lifestyle, although with the Holy Spirit indwelling them, they would know, in their spirits, there was wrong being done.
1 Corinthians 5:4
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Paul now sets the stage for actions which must be taken. This must be dealt with when the whole congregation is gathered. Those who are saved are in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and Paul is telling them that when they begin to deal with this person, that he is there in spirit, and this action is to be done without fear, in the power of Christ. The power of the Lord Jesus Christ supercedes the power of mere man. The power of Christ does not fear people with position in the church and this situation is to be dealt with in that power without any fear.
1 Corinthians 5:5
To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
To Deliver - to hand one over
Basically what is being taught here is that this man is going to be removed from the congregation of believers. Now Satan dwells in the world, and what is being taught here is that this man, will now go back into the world. If he chooses to repent of that sin, he will be welcomed back into the congregation but if he refuses, then he will see the destruction of his flesh. (James 1:15 KJV) Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. In other words, this man was obviously a believer since Paul is saying that the spirit will be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus which is judgment day. The spirit is the true essence of the believer, not the flesh. (Romans 7:14-25)
If this man continues his sin outside the church, the sinful lifestyle will eventually lead to his physical demise. Sin will always expand and continue to entice us, and if we obey its lusts, then we will be dead to the things of God, and then the lifestyle will bring us to an ignominious physical end. The only thing people will remember about us will be the sin. It will be like an old book, whenever you open it, it goes to a certain page and stays there.
1 Corinthians 5:6
Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
Glorying - Boasting
This boasting they were doing was representing their self-satisfaction in the church. As Paul said before they should have been lamenting over this person’s sin but instead they did nothing because of their complacency. Then Paul gives a principle concerning a little leaven. (Mat 13:33 KJV) Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. All it takes is a little sin infection in the congregation and it spreads like a wildfire. Sin is catchy. If one person sees another person partaking in a sin without conscience, then they will think it is okay for them to do it.
Righteousness is learned but sin comes naturally to man. This is what happened to divorce and remarriage in the churches. One denomination said it was permissible and then soon, every other church is in agreement. Isn’t it amazing how easily we can agree on religiously coated sinful actions in the church?
1 Corinthians 5:7
Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
Purge out = Clean out thoroughly - purge out the sin and the sinful factions.
Paul is telling them to clean out thoroughly every vestige of sin in the church. He uses the cleaning out of a house of all leaven to celebrate the passover. (Deu 16:4 KJV) And there shall be no leavened bread seen with thee in all thy coast seven days; neither shall there any thing of the flesh, which thou sacrificedst the first day at even, remain all night until the morning.
The house was totally swept and cleaned of all leaven lest there come a curse upon a disobedient house and they were disallowed to celebrate the Passover. The Passover was a remembrance of the exodus from Egypt into freedom.
Paul wants them to get rid of all the old leaven. In other words, divest yourself of the old life of sin, because we are now a new lump, as unleavened bread was used in the Passover, he was likening us to that bread.
Leavened bread represented a sinful bread but if the bread was unleavened, it was permissible to be used in the Passover. Paul is saying that we are unleavened because Christ has purged out all the sins from His Elect.
(Col 2:13-14 KJV) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; {14} Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
Paul then goes on to say that Christ was our Passover. This is a very important passage as it clears up the following Old Testament Passage. (Exo 12:14 KJV) And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. Here is God commanding the Israelites to keep the feast of Passover forever. How could they do that if the world is coming to an end someday? The answer is easy. Those who are in Christ, and Christ was the Passover lamb, those saved by Him are saved eternally and therefore they are keeping the Passover for eternity. That Passover can only be kept by the Israel of God, the body of believers.
Hence, Paul is saying if the Israelites can clean out their house once a year of all the old leaven to keep a feast, then the church needs to follow the same principle and remove those who are sinning and not repenting, but it must a continuous action as the perpetuity of the new Passover is which is Christ and eternal life. Eternal life is a continuum and begins at the moment of salvation of each believer. We are a new lump of leaven and not of the old. (Eph 4:22-24 KJV) That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; {23} And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; {24} And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. We must put off the old man and put on the new man.