Useful Bible Studies > 1 Corinthians Commentary > chapter 5

How Christians should act when other Christians carry out evil acts

1 Corinthians 5:11

When people become Christians, their lives should change. Formerly they lived for their own pleasure, now their desire should be to please God. They should stop their evil behaviour and they should choose to obey God instead.

Sometimes we see a great change in a personís life immediately. Formerly perhaps, that person served the devil with all their strength, now they serve God with all their strength. However, often the change seems a much slower process. It can take time to learn how God wants you to behave.

For that reason, church leaders have to be very patient with their members. They must not be cruel to someone who is struggling to obey God. They must try to help Christians even when those people are guilty of serious errors (Galatians 6:1).

But there can be a situation where a Christian chooses, on purpose, to live in a wicked manner. One particular man in Corinth had made such a decision (5:1). A church leader should first speak to such a person privately, in a gentle and humble manner, after much prayer. That leader should show the person why his actions are against Godís law. And the leader should urge the person to change his behaviour and to obey God.

Paul explains here what to do when all such efforts fail. First, it is essential to deal with the matter in prayer (5:3-5). And in the end, it may be necessary to separate that person from the church. But the intention should not be to hurt that person. Our aim is to save that person from the evil desires that ruin a personís relationship with God (5:5).

Next part: When should a church leader act as judge? (1 Corinthians 5:12-13)


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© 2014, Keith Simons.