God’s mercy through discipline!
Scripture reading for August 31st: Isaiah 30-32, 1st Corinthians 5
1st Corinthians 5: 1-5 “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the Name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.”
Paul had a report of egregious sexual sin in the Corinthian Church. A man there was fornicating with his own stepmother which was a sin even among pagans of that time. The believers were tolerating this and not seeking God for deliverance. Paul stated clearly that this man must be removed if he would not repent. Not stated, but the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 18:15-18 was the likely pattern. Paul recommended turning this person over to Satan and expelling him from fellowship. The motive was this man’s ultimate salvation. When he experienced the darkness of Satan’s grip, the prayer was that repentance and restoration would result. This is God’s mercy over His children in action. The church body was also protected from the defiling spirit that the man was under.
1st Corinthians 5:11-13 “But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler–not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.””
Prayer: Father God, You are just and righteous in all You do. Thank You for this plan for spiritual discipline in Your Church. Help Your leaders to have wisdom and courage to follow Your instructions in cases of sexual immorality and idolatry and gross rebellion. Protect Your Church from these evil spirits and deliver those who are seduced and bound by them. Give grace through this process to Your people.
Isaiah 30:15-16 “For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling, and you said, “No! We will flee on horses”; Therefore you shall flee away; and we will ride upon swift steeds”; therefore your pursuers shall be swift.”