I cannot comprehend why any Christian should hand over another sinner to Satan, why should we, because the next verse tells that the body would be destroyed, is it not better to hand the sinner over to God?
1 Corinthians 5:1 - 5
ESV - 1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
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The whole counsel of the Bible says that many prove that they are not truly born of the Holy Spirit but are fakes. They will know we are true Christians by our love of Jesus which is proven by radical obedience to His Word. Many are in the visible church who are not members of the invisible church. Turning the church - person over to Satan will obey Christ and prove where the person really stands with God. If the person is truly saved but backslidden they will come to repentance exhibiting the fruits of repentance. If they are not truly saved, they will hear the scary words of Jesus at their Judgment Day Matthew 7:21-23 Matthew 5:20 Revelation chapters 1-3 which states to the churches that only those who overcome sin will be in heaven. Matthew 25 which teaches who receives the reward of heaven and who goes to hell where they are put into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Many preachers including Andy Stanley are preaching that all you have to do is say that you are a believer and that weeping and gnashing of teeth does not mean hell. But remember that Jesus, who IS THE WORD, had His half-brother James write: You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror. How foolish! Can’t you see that faith without good deeds is useless? - James 2:19-20 http://bit.ly/RHFSz7 His half-brother Jude wrote: Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. - Jude 1:3-4 http://bit.ly/SNgVBT Those who endure to the end will be saved-- “Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. - Matthew 24:9-13 http://bit.ly/1eeQORz The "Many"are not truly saved but apostate. Only the few who stay on the narrow way are truly followers of Christ only by faith alone. That is not legalism but true, powerful grace through Christ. The true gospel is offensive. 1 John 3:2-10 ESV Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
We have to consider that of all the New Testament Churches, Corinth was the most carnal. So much so that a lengthy first letter consisting of 16 chapters was written then a follow up or second letter with 13 chapters was required to address all the issues! As already stated, in 1 Corinthians 5 Paul told the Church to get this man out of the congregation and not to associate with him because of his ongoing incestuous relationship. He also rebuked the Church for allowing such activity to persist and that immoral tolerance would affect the whole Church body, "a little leaven leaveneth the while lump" (v. 6). In 2 Corinthians 2:4-8 Paul now states that the individual who was involved in the incestuous relationship has suffered greatly and at the hands of many, i.e. he has suffered enough. In v. 7 Paul tells them to now forgive and comfort him so he would not be overwhelmed with grief. v. 8 Paul is urging the Church to show this brother love and forgiveness, to take him back. As the others have well remarked, this type of activity should not and can not be tolerated in the Church body, period. If the yeast is allowed to remain it will putrefy the whole lump. After the issue is dealt with and there is genuine repentance in the individual(s), the Church body should forgive and restore fellowship. The purpose of chastening is for correction not destruction. Hebrews 12:6 "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth." Ephesians 4:32 "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." Although we as Christians may not have sinned in this manner or to this extent, we should all say, thank you Lord. There go I but for the grace of God.
The very thoughts you have are exactly the same thoughts that occupied the Corinthians upon receipt of the Apostle's instructions. They were perturbed. They knew Jesus had said the time of separation would be at the end of the age. Mat 13:30 So they were puzzled. In the first place, HOW do we hand over someone to satan? Is that possible? How is the handover - takeover done? Where do we find Mr satan? The Corinthians sat down, and resolved to go by the bible. They disciplined and forgave the man. You didn't get me. They forgave the man! Then Paul, realizing that indeed these young Christians had acted with maturity, consented to their decision. Please note: the man had slept with his father's other wife, not his own mother as I've seen elsewhere on this topic. So out of anguish of heart, which I'm sure any of us would have to go through under these circumstances, Paul cancelled his visit to Corinth. But he acknowledged their action, and approved it. Here is the sequence of events, and the verses. A. Letter of instruction to disfellowship. 1 Cor 5:5,13 B. The Church didn't comply. C. Paul hears of the Church's decision, and repents. However, he changes his plans to visit them, primarily because of this matter. 2 Cor 1:15-22. D. His reasons? To spare them anguish. 2 Cor 1:23 E. Paul accepts that he had grieved them by his directive. 2 Cor 2:1-2 F. He excuses his instructions to the distress he was in, due to the matter. 2 Cor 2:3-4 G. He accepts their disciplinary action on the man, and their restoration. 2 Cor 2:6-8 H. Paul writes like a typical grownup, who won't openly accept his error. He gives a rather unconvincing reason. 2 Cor 2:9 I. He again confirms their decision to forgive the man. 2 Cor 2:10-11. End of matter. Unfortunately, because we may miss parts of the same matter, we end up acting on an instruction which was given hastily. I know of two cults which religiously follow 1 Cor 5:5,13. That is, the watchtower and Branhamists. The former don't allow members to talk to a disfellowshipped member - 1 Cor 5:13 while the latter follow 1 Cor 5:5. It's strange that they actually think they're handing over someone to satan. I hope you find this useful. Bless.
The context is clear. That individual was to be prevented from associating with the church as long as he went his own way. He was abiding in his sinful nature, shutting down the Spiritual Nature he received when he was initially saved. Paul determined that this evil person should no longer be witnessed to; that he should be allowed to wallow in his sin, receiving a just penalty in this life and his future life. Just as adulterer / adulteress today destroys him/herself and the life of a spouse, children, the church community, family and friends, so this one would reap punishment in this life, perhaps sickness and disease, even death, not to the point of losing salvation, but to the point of appearing before the Judgment Seat of Christ there to hear, publicly, all Christians listening, what he had done, whether good or bad. The result would be the loss of the rewards that he had been entitled to if he had followed in the footsteps of Jesus.
This person whom Paul was speaking of was given chance after chance after chance and probably then some to change. This individual continued to do what what is part of the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19) and because God abundant grace Paul says to turn him over to satan that his flesh might be destroyed. To really bring this together we have to go all the way back to Genesis 3:14 when the serpent or the devil was cursed to eat only the dust of the ground, and man was created of the dust Genesis 2:7. Now because this man chose to abuse the grace of God and live in his flesh and not in the spirit, Paul tells the church to turn him over to the devil and let satan have his judgement on him that he may turn from the flesh and back to the spirit and according to the ways of God.
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