Well, I’m sure that you will agree that this is a challenging passage to fully interpret Paul’s meaning here, as he writes to the church at Corinth on how to deal with certain people within their church.
However, one thing that Paul makes quite clear is that he is not referring to people outside the church when he exhorts the Corinthians to avoid associating with those who are practicing immorality.
It seems rather, that Paul is warning the church against hypocrisy within the church. People who claim to be Christians, but who are consistently, purposefully practicing all different types of immoral behaviours are to be avoided.
This idea is consistent with Jesus’ teaching and His practice of befriending sinners but calling out the religious hypocrites of his day and disassociating Himself from them.
As for me, I approach this area carefully, knowing that in the end only God can rightfully judge people’s hearts and lives. I do not want to sanction immorality within the church, but I also do not to want to be the one to cast stones.
May God give us the grace and wisdom to know when to speak and when to stay silent, when to reach out and when to step back.
Written by Shelley Witt