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Sex and the People of God

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Not all sins are created equal. This is the point that Paul is trying to make irrefutably clear in chapters 5 and 6 of his letter to the Corinthian church (1 Cor. 5,6). It is true, all sin is rebellion against a good, perfect, holy, and blameless God, either by commission (actively participating) or omission (passively participating). And in this sense, sin is unswervingly the same across the board, no matter the offense. However, the ramifications and difficulties coupled with certain individual sins tower in comparison to many others. This is just the nature of the game.

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Sexual sin is unique

Paul does not shy away from telling Jesus’ church that sexual immorality is in a category all to itself. In chapter 6 verse 18 he shows them, and us, that sexual sin is the only sin committed against our very own body. Because we Christians live our life “in Christ”, because we have been covered by the blood of the cross, and resurrected to a new life in him, we are to do sex differently than the rest of the world. The body is not meant for sex but for the lord (for we were bought with a price, 1 Cor. 6:20). Sex is meant for man; man is not made for sex. Sex is to be used to worship the creator and to enjoy him, and our spouse, in the confines of heterosexual marriage only. To be sure, this is radically countercultural, but it is the responsibility of the covenant community of God to hold each other accountable!

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So, what is the church to do about the unrepentant and sexually immoral if they persist to push the envelope sexually?

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What are we to do with the sexually immoral inside the church?

It may sound harsh, but Paul encourages, if not downright requires something called Church Discipline.  This will certainly rub our culture the wrong way – but Since followers of Christ have been transformed from their old ways, because they were washed, sanctified, justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of our God (1 Cor. 6:11) they are to walk in a newness of life. This new life demands that we take our sin seriously, after all, it is what put Jesus on the cross.

For those who are unrepentant and continue to walk in sexual immorality Paul calls for an excommunication for the betterment of the community, and the individual (1 Cor. 5:5) The church is not to associate, not even eat with, anyone if they are unrepentant and habitually pursuing sexual pleasure outside of Gods perfect design.

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What are we to do with the sexually immoral outside the church?

            Evangelicals today are far too worried about the nonbeliever’s bedroom.  Paul, however, rebukes the church at Corinth for worrying about such a thing. In verses 12 and 13 he makes the assertion that we are to leave all forms of judgment to God for those outside the church. Our focus, no matter how difficult, should be on those who bear the name Christian. We must heal the wounds and remove foreign cancers in our own body, that is, the body of Christ, before we are to perform any kind of surgery on those who lack genuine faith in Jesus. Instead, we are to invite them into a loving relationship with the only person that can cut to the core of who they are, transform their heart, and enable them to grow in Christ-likeness.

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What are we to do with the repentant sexually immoral inside the church?

            Before ending this short article, I want to stress one enormously weighty point: We are not to simply tolerate repentant believers, we are to embrace, admonish, encourage, help, and partner with them -even if their sin struggle is different than ours. For God has performed a miracle, giving them the grace to tarry with their death ushering sin. He has covered them with the blood of his son Jesus, just as he has done with all of us! In this vein, Paul exclaims emphatically “such were some of you (1 Cor. 6:11).”  Therefore, it is imperative that we remember every church is filled with two types of people only: (1) those who have transgressed and have been cleansed, and (2) liars. Therefore, humility should be ever present in the lives of the Covenant Community when dealing with sin issues inside the church!

AUTHOR - Brandon Scalf

Brandon Scalf is the Founder of Dead Men. He also holds an MTS from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and serves his church in a lay capacity.