What's Wrong With The American Church
(1 Cor. 5:1-13)

Dan Corner

1 Cor 5 Helps Us Understand
What Is Wrong With The American Church

1 Corinthians 5:1-13 is a startling chapter which shows problems they had in the early church. It also shows, in part, what is wrong with the American Church. The Bible shows in that chapter how to deal with immorality problems in a way unlike would be done today. We will see that the early church practiced church discipline in the form of excommunication, which is absent in our day. Also, the true, original grace message as opposed to the satanic counterfeit of our day is revealed in this chapter.

●1 Cor 5:1 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father's wife.

Fornication (porneia) is the Greek word used in v. 1 and translated sexual immorality. This word includes adultery since that is what the married woman was committing, as well as her step-son. Her husband ("the injured party") seems to have been alive:

So even though I wrote to you, it was not on account of the one who did the wrong or of the injured party, but rather that before God you could see for yourselves how devoted to us you are. (2 Cor. 7:12)

This same Greek word for fornication is found elsewhere:

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Gal 5:19-21)

It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit. (1 Thess 4:3-8)

In 1 Cor. 5:1, the step-son's sin of fornication was not hidden, but openly known before the whole congregation. The man alone was attending the Corinthian congregation. (If the woman was there, she would have been expelled also.)

●1 Cor 5:2 And you are proud! Shouldn't you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this?

Paul scolds them for:

■ The way they did and didn't react towards this open sin.

■ For not putting that sexually immoral man out of their fellowship.

●1 Cor 5:3 Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present.

No further details need to be known. The man was guilty of sexual immorality and that is enough for him to be excommunicated from the Christian congregation.

Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness." (2 Tim 2:19)

Hand Over To Satan

●1 Cor 5:4,5 When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.

As a corporate body, they were to "hand [the guilty man] over to Satan." The purpose of this is shown to be so that his sinful nature or flesh (sarx) [not body, soma] will be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord. Hence, his spirit was NOT saved at that moment, in contrast to what the vast majority of pastors and evangelists in our day are teaching by way of eternal security, the perseverance of the saints or "once saved always saved" (OSAS). These are 3 different labels for the same heresy that originated with Satan in Eden. It seems that 99.99% of all OSAS teachers say this sexually immoral man of 1 Cor. 5, who was doing sin of a kind that does not occur even among pagans, was a Christian! In other words, they are teaching there are 2 types of sexually immorally people—one type saved because he once had a moment of faith and the other lost because he never had a moment of faith, but both acting equally vile and wicked! This is the bottom line conclusion of this lie from the devil, which they are teaching as grace and sometimes as the gospel. It is obviously a doctrine of demons.

Also, OSAS changes the holy image of a Christian into one that allows for wickedness. Therefore, some people are wrongly thinking: If the man of 1 Cor. 5 could do it and remain saved, so can I. If sexual immorality won't damn me, then drunkenness or suicide won't either. Hence, pandora's box is opened by OSAS.

John Calvin taught this sexually immoral man of 1 Cor. 5 was saved. Dave Hunt, who opposes Calvinism, also teaches the unnamed man of 1 Cor. 5 was saved! Hunt also believes in the reprehensible carnal Christian of once saved always saved. That is a form of antinomianism. Again, the Greek word is sarx NOT soma (body). Sarx is also found in the following passage:

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Gal 5:19-21)

Paul did not want his physical body destroyed, like some understand this passage. In part, we know this because in 2 Cor. 2 that same man was still alive after he was handed over to Satan and then repented:

If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you, to some extent—not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient for him. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. (2 Cor 2:5-8)

Again, remember how 1 Cor. 5:4,5 informs Christians how to deal with sexual sin in the life of a professing Christian! It was clearly different than how a person who was never saved is to be dealt with. Other people were handed over to Satan too besides the unnamed man of 1 Cor. 5!

Holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme. (1 Tim 1:19,20)

Paul's judgment regarding treatment of the sexually immoral man and those who blaspheme was not the same as we would read in the Old Testament:

If a man is found sleeping with another man's wife, both the man who slept with her and the woman must die. You must purge the evil from Israel. (Deut 22:22)

Anyone who blasphemes the name of the LORD must be put to death. The entire assembly must stone him. Whether an alien or native-born, when he blasphemes the Name, he must be put to death. (Lev 24:16)

Under the New Testament, both of those cases are to be handed over to Satan instead of being put to death, as in Moses' day. From this we, therefore, can conclude that John Calvin was certainly wrong in putting Michael Servetus to death over doctrinal issues, especially by burning him at the stake with green wood! (Calvinism allows for such cruel unscriptural behavior to be Christian!)

●1 Cor 5:6 Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?

The Corinthian congregation was "boasting" and Paul warned them of this danger! He said a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough. The little yeast was their boasting! So even such can be spiritually dangerous for the Christian. No sin is insignificant and completely harmless. This same expression is found elsewhere:

A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough (Gal. 5:9).

●1 Cor 5:7 Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

It was their responsibility to change and get the boasting out of their lives. Almighty God wouldn't do that for them. They had free will and the ability, through God, to walk without that.

●1 Cor 5:8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.

Christians are to be that bread of sincerity and truth. Elsewhere Paul wrote:

For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a man is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. Therefore do not be partners with them. (Eph 5:5-7)

NOTE: That was written to people previously saved by grace and who were sealed by the Holy Spirit. Yet, Paul taught that same group certain sins would exclude them from God's kingdom! That is the grace teaching which needs magnified.

●1 Cor 5:9-11 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

Since the statement not to associate with sexually immoral people is not found in this epistle, we can only assume that Paul wrote them at least one other time before this epistle, where that is stated. This means there are lost writings from people who wrote inspired Scripture. Another one is referred to at Col. 4:16:

After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea.

The phrase calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral can also refer back to verse 1. This is a very important detail, that is, he was professing to be a Christian.

Verses 9 through 11 together show that it is a commandment for Christians not to associate, even to the point of not eating with a person, who claims to be a Christian, but is sinning that way. No such command is given for such people who don't claim to be Christians. Jesus ate with unsaved people for evangelistic reasons only.

●1 Cor 5:12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside thechurch? Are you not to judge those inside?

Clearly Christians are commanded to judge those inside a Christian assembly!

The Wicked Are Without Salvation

●1 Cor 5:13 God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."

John Calvin, and other once saved always saved teachers, have taught this man was a Christian, even though he was in unrepentant sexual sin, doing what even pagans don't do! This is in clear contrast to Paul's description of him. That sexually immoral man, who professed salvation, is identified by the Apostle Paul as wicked and consequently is not saved at that point, even though he might have been in the past! The same Greek word for wicked, as in 1 Cor. 5:13, is poneros and found in the following passages:

This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Mat 13:49,50)

Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: (Mat 18:32)

His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strowed: (Mat 25:26)

(The destiny of the person in Matthew 25:26 is weeping and gnashing of teeth in outer darkness. v. 30. That alone shows the wicked are unsaved.)

All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross; therefore I love your statutes. (Psa 119:119)

Furthermore, we know the man guilty of sexual immorality in 1 Cor. 5 is unsaved based on other Scriptures, like Rev. 21:8:

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.

Apostate American Church

The apostate American church of our day would never:


1. Based on the man's present behavior, Paul knew the man was wicked!

2. Paul, the servant of God, knew all sexually immoral people are wicked (unsaved), unlike the eternal security teachers! This is true, even if the sexually immoral person is supposed to be just a baby Christian. (NOTE: spiritual death comes regardless how long a person has been saved. It comes to the righteous who turn to evil!)

Moreover, Paul was open and bold about stating that the man was unsaved (wicked), unlike present-day so-called spiritual leaders who know OSAS is unscriptural and dangerous, but are afraid to clearly preach against it. (The eternal security teachers are not afraid to openly preach their poison before all the people they can.)

If Paul would have chosen not to do anything about this open immorality in the congregation, that would have been to the spiritual harm of the unsaved man, as well as to the whole congregation and the holy image of a Christian. Problems like that only get worse, not better. God bless you.


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