The illness or death of Christians is not usually the result of Godís judgement against them. However, it can be so sometimes, as Paul has just explained (11:29-30).
That fact may surprise us. God loves his people; he does not cause them to suffer. They are his children, to whom he constantly shows his kindness (Matthew 7:9-11).
We find an explanation when we compare 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 with 1 Corinthians 11:27-32. In the earlier passage, Paul tells the church leaders how to deal with a member who is guilty of very wicked behaviour. They should pray that God will allow the devil to cause serious trouble for that man. That trouble would give the man an opportunity to change his attitudes. Godís desire is to save such a person.
Here, church members were acting in an unholy manner on a holy occasion. Paul says that they were causing their own troubles. They had brought the judgement of God against themselves. So, our troubles are sometimes the result of our own foolish behaviour. And they are sometimes the result of the devilís work. But we must not blame God for our troubles. He only does good things for his people.
However, we may ask why God allows these troubles to happen. In 1 Corinthians 5:5, the answer was to save the manís spirit. In 1 Corinthians 11:32, the answer is to save the people from a worse punishment. When Godís people do unholy or wicked things, sometimes only serious troubles will cause them to stop.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.