Brother Kevin kindly wrote up these notes on 1 Corinthians Chapter 5:
1 Corinthians 5 King James Version (KJV)
5 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.
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.
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,
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,
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.
6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
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:
8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
This book and chapter are speaking about how Christians (brothers and sisters), are to act and view each other as well as which kind or type of person that we should not associate with as Christian, Holy brethren. The example to open the chapter shows one who is fornicating or having sex outside of marriage with his stepmother, or his Father’s wife. Of course we know that this is a sin, but the point being made by Paul here is that the church there had adopted an attitude of: “God is all love always, and how could he say that this is bad or against his desires?” They had adopted the attitude that so many churches today in our society have, which says that certain sins are ok, or that any “all-loving” God would never hold things like this against us and this is a warning NOT to let ourselves slip into this type of thinking.
The congregation members were “puffed up,” which is an expression used in several places to indicate that the sin of pride had taken hold of them and was now controlling their attitudes and behaviors toward God, which has ultimately led them to disobey the word of God with regard to fornication, as well as other sin, and how the church is to view this.
Paul says that he is present in spirit and absent in body but nevertheless sees what has happened to the church and brethren there, which is the practicing and corruption of many sins of the flesh. He tells us and them, that the glorification of such people and sin spoils the entire church with the analogy of a little bit of leaven ruining the entire lump of bread. The human body, God’s creation, was meant to be pure and Holy and he lists the following sins that he sees the brethren of this church guilty of: Fornication, covetousness, idolaters, railers, drunkards, and extortioners. In other words he is saying not to associate and be good friends with anyone who is guilty of sex outside of marriage, wanting/desiring the things of the flesh that others may have, worshiping graven images and idols, chronic complainers, alcoholics, or people who threaten and use the threat of violence to control others.
Paul makes the point of saying even that if a person is this far gone into sin that we should pray to God for the destruction of their flesh by Satan, so that their spirit body may be pure to present to our Lord Jesus when the day arrives. This is not to say that we wish a person dead, but rather that Satan take over and make them so corrupted and sinful that their “flesh body” not the spirit body “dies” or ceases to exist as such.
So Paul says to “put away from among yourselves” these people meaning do not associate with or allow them to pollute your own spirit with their sins. We can be nice and pleasant to ANY person but those that are identified as any of these types, are to be set aside and interacted with, only with a certain caution so as not to allow ourselves to become corrupted with sin.
An important point also is that he says that we ARE to judge each other, meaning the brethren in Christ, and to always look out for sin amongst ourselves. All others, however, will be judged by God himself and we are to leave that judgment to God.