There is probably nothing more sure and clear than the title of this post. “Sin in the Church”. To ask, “Is there sin in our churches?” is a very unnecessary question. Where there is a church without sin; it is of their own confession; and not the truth. Besides where there is people there will be sin. By that statement I do not mean to lessen the gravity and seriousness of sin in the church.
In my reading this morning of 1 Corinthians 3 – 12 it was quite apparent that the apostle is writing this church to confront a major problem they have. First of all they seem just a bit proud of their “Spirituality” and “love” since they have tolerated an adulterous affair to continue to go on in their midst (chapter 5).
The apostle addresses their immaturity at first,
“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 (KJV)
We see there are other problems of sin within the congregation as well, “strife and divisions”, arguing and debating over who is the best preacher, and probably other things. Too many times in today’s society Christians “wear their feelings on their sleeves”, are easily puffed up, easily knocked down, and easily offended. That is the height of immaturity.
Paul’s intent for writing this letter is not to shame or offend this people,
“I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you. For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.” 4:14-16
We live in a time where “Tolerance” is king. At least much of laws are written with tolerance in mind. What is the idea of tolerance? The MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY defines “Tolerance” –
1. the act or practice of tolerating; esp. : sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from one’s own 2: capacity for enduring or adapting (as to a poor environment) 3: the allowable deviation from a standard (as of size).
Today’s tolerance police would be proud of the Corinthian church. They loved this couple so very much, and were so very tolerant they were about to bring the wrath and judgment of God upon themselves, and the whole church. The apostle was not pleased when he heard of this, and this very well could be the main reason for writing this letter; the “straw that broke the camel’s back” so to speak. Hear what Paul told the church to do with the man:
“In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” 5:4-8
If you will notice Paul’s concern was at least in part for the man to be delivered from this grievous sin. He was also very concerned with what it was doing and would continue doing if the rebelliousness and evil were not dealt with.
There is much to learn and hear for the guidance of the post modern church. There is sin in the church today that needs to be dealt with. I hear of adulterous affairs going on between couples within some local congregations; and if these sins and others are not dealt with then those churches will fall.
The first step in dealing with sin in the church is for each individual to keep their accounts short with God. Read the Bible daily, hiding the word in your heart that you sin not against the LORD. By taking heed to the Word of God their is cleansing and forgiveness.
To tolerate sin in one’s own life is not love; that is arrogance. To tolerate sin within the church is not love, nor is it spiritual; it is pride and rebellion.
-Tim A. Blankenship