It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! And you are puffed up and have not rather mourned that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. (1 Corinthians 5:1-2)
There Really Is Something Called Sin
When the apostle Paul sat down to write a letter to the church at Corinth, he had a lot on his mind. The church suffered from numerous problems rising out of a divisive spirit, jealousy, rebellion, confusion, and immorality. At the forefront of the issues, a church member was living with his stepmother in an immoral relationship. It was such a horrific situation; even the pagans were appalled by such a thing. What made matters worse, the leadership of the Corinthian church and the body of believers failed to respond to the blatant immorality with any concern. To say the least, Paul was beside himself with concern the church had taken no action to save the people involved, and allowing sin to dwell within the borders of God’s church was reprehensible.
It would seem likely the report about the man with his father’s wife came from the house of Chloe, who had contacted Paul about the problems at Corinth. As Paul considered the question, he realized that at some point, the man had boldly entered a relationship with his father’s wife, and no reaction was found from the Corinthian brethren. There may have been personal disgust and gossiping filling the airwaves, but the man was allowed to be among the brethren in fellowship. What struck a nerve with the apostle Paul was how easily blatant sexual immorality was accepted within the body of Christ. At the root of the problem was an unwillingness to confront the man and the woman and call their relationship what God called it – sin!
Ignoring sin is not uncommon. The fabric of humanity call good, evil, and evil, good; light, darkness, darkness, light; sexual immorality, lifestyle, and a host of other names that suggest acceptance and approval. Paul did not hesitate to call the relationship of the man with his father’s wife sexual immorality because it was an abomination in the eyes of God. Sin must be recognized for what it is. Mitigating immorality does not change the character or nature of what God abhors. Ignoring sin does make it go away. Defining sin as anything but immorality will not change the mind of God. Lying is not advantageous as an acceptable means to conduct business – it is a sin. Lusting in the heart from pornographic images is immoral in the eyes of the Lord God. Failing to assemble with the saints to remember the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is sin. Cheating on taxes is a sin. Drunkenness is sin. It does not matter how man defines sin – God’s view of sin remains unchanged. Paul was bold and courageous to call out the couple that had been accepted within the fellowship of Corinth. There were consequences of sin the apostle likened to the effect of leaven. Failing to identify sin as immorality allowed the disciples’ hearts to turn a blind eye to any sin. It is not an easy task to preach about sin, but any other message is not the word of God. Sin must be identified for what it is and what it has done to the world. The measure of sin can only be understood in what it cost to defeat sin: the blood of the Son of God who died without sin. When men fail to call sin what it is, they deny the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and His atoning blood. God so loved the world; He allowed sinful men to kill His Son. That was the price of sin. Thank God for His redeeming grace that identifies sin and, then by His mercy, is willing to wash sin away in baptism.