Paul says “Shun Sexually Immoral People” who Profess to know Christ
1 Corinthians 5:9-11 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. KJV
Paul apparently wrote them another epistle or letter that we are not privileged to have, but in that letter Paul thought he had clearly detailed for them the “will of God” not only in our sexual behavior or conduct before Him, but also in how we are to treat someone who steps out of bounds or outside that clear “will of God” in our sexual conduct. As we detailed in the last study, these people in Corinth were bound up in many years of idolatry and the worship of false gods and goddesses with one of the most prominent being Aphrodite (Greek goddess of love, beauty, pleasure, and procreation or in simple terms the “sex goddess”), therefore, despite the reality of their new life in Christ, they were still surrounded by many of their fellow countrymen who remained unconverted, unregenerate, unbelievers who continued to practice their willful open sexual impure promiscuity. The new Corinthian believers had many questions for Paul about how they were to live sexually now to please our Lord Jesus and to co-exist in the remaining pagan world all around them.
Paul even refers to the letter they wrote to him asking clarification on marriage and sexual conduct when he wrote this later on in this very epistle or letter, “Now concerning the things about which you wrote, it is good for a man not to touch a woman. But because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband” (1 Corinthians 7:1-2). Paul goes on in 1 Corinthians 7 for 38 more verses teaching them the “will of God” concerning marriage and sexual conduct, but here prior to Paul getting to his full and complete teaching he wants to reiterate or review or refresh them on what he wrote to them in response to their letter written to him as he documents in 1 Corinthians 7:1. Paul obviously wrote to them commanding them “not to keep company with fornicators” but apparently they miss-interpreted what he meant by that and supposed that he was referring to those remaining Corinthian people that did not respond to the gospel, but kept on in their worship of Aphrodite and their practice of all sorts of sexual immorality. When Paul used the English phrase “to company with” it is translated by the Greek word sunanamignumi which means union with or to mix up together with or figuratively to associate with someone or to keep company with someone or to have an intimate, warm, and friendly close acquaintance with someone.
Paul had written back to them to answer their questions about this matter of fellowship or union with a “professing Christian” who lived in the practicing of sexual immorality or fornication as he wrote it to them. Paul wanted them to know that God does not want His Church to be “corrupted” by those who practice fornication and so Paul thought he had made himself clear by instructing them to “shun” that is to avoid and stay away from deliberately; stay clear of men or women who practiced these detestable acts without repentance. However, because Paul has heard the reports that this deplorable behavior was being perpetrated by someone in their fellowship or church as he said it in this manner, “It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife” (1 Corinthians 5:1) Paul now writes the following response to further clarify what he means by “not to keep company with fornicators” or sunanamignumi. Paul in his response writes in such a tone as to be shocked by their miss-understanding of what he meant, so he makes it clear to them that as long as they are sojourning and pilgrimaging as aliens (made that way by the Blood of Christ Jesus our Lord) they will always come in contact with “sinners” that fornicate, covet, extort, and worship idols for they will always be all around them everywhere they go on the earth. But in stark contrast Paul makes it clear who he means for them to shun as he says it in this manner, “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat” (1 Corinthians 5:11).
The little English phrase Paul uses here “that is called” is the most significant statement in this verse and dare I say in this entire chapter 5 for in this little phrase dwells true Christian brotherly love one for another. Do I really love my brother if I see him about to walk or run into a brick wall and I stand by and say nothing? This English phrase “that is called” is translated by the Greek word onomazo which means to name or utter or mention or profess to know Jesus Christ as Lord, Master, and Savior. Paul makes it clear that such a person that professes to know Christ but lives his or her life as a fornicator does not even deserve the courtesy of our even sharing a meal with such a person, as Paul put it in this manner in writing to brother Timothy, “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; Avoid such men as these” (2 Timothy 3:1-5) or as he wrote in this manner to the Roman believers, “Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them” (Romans 16:17).
“They were to avoid all familiarity with him; they were to have no commerce with him; they were to have no commerce with him: but, that they might shame him, and bring him to repentance, must disclaim and shun him. Note, Christians are to avoid the familiar conversation of fellow-Christians that are notoriously wicked, and under just censure for their flagitious practices. Such disgrace the Christian name. They may call themselves brethren in Christ, but they are not Christian brethren. They are only fit companions for the brethren in iniquity; and to such company they should be left, till they mend their ways and doings.” Matthew Henry
“Avoid a sugared Gospel as you would shun sugar of lead. Seek that Gospel which rips up and tears and cuts and wounds and hacks and even kills, for that is the Gospel that makes alive again. And when you have found it, give good heed to it. Let it enter into your inmost being. As the rain soaks into the ground, so pray the Lord to let His Gospel soak into your soul.” Charles H. Spurgeon
“The idea that it is the expression of God’s True Love to a professing brother or sister in Christ to rebuke and reprimand their willful unrepentant sin is foreign to most in the visible church today and even when you go straight to the “final authority” on all matters “The Bible” and read to them 2 Timothy 3:5 or Romans 16:17, many still choose to look through some sort of mystical view of God’s Love through rose colored glasses and twist what Paul is saying as brother Peter said many would do to their own folly (2 Peter 3:16).” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…