Being a church

Text: 1 Cor 5:9 – 6:11

The text is about how people get along with each other and about making judgments. Underlying it is a much different and healthier view of what the church is. For most of the 20th century in the West the church was thought of by its people as an institution, and one of those institutions freely joined or left. That placed the individual in the position of judge or magistrate. One could freely choose which church to be a part of or freely choose to not be a part.

Paul has a much different thought. The church is those people called by God to follow Jesus Christ exemplified by sanctified lives together. In that western institutional church the goal is numbers alone. If someone is living immorally, but claiming to be part of the church, the institutional church turns a blind eye. Or it might go so far as justifying and supporting the behavior. You don’t chase away numbers. In Paul’s church, the church drives them out, and leaves them to God’s judgment. The purpose is not numbers, but in helping people live sanctified lives. Which one is showing love, the one that enables immorality or the one calling you back into relationship with Jesus Christ?

Living sanctified lives together as the people of God. Do we always get it right immediately? No way. Does that body take a painful amount of time to see the right? Often. If you act like the church is a called people in a world that treats it as a come and go institution are you going to be taken advantage of? Yep. So, do we complain about that. Not according to Paul. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? Being church is not an easy calling.

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