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Discovery Magazine 5/1/2008

Corinth: A Church That Bragged About Sin

We know that sin is a terrible thing. A person sins when he or she violates a commandment of God. God tells us in the Bible to avoid sin, and if we are sinning, to repent and start doing right. The church at Corinth had a serious problem with sin.

In 1 Corinthians chapter five, we read about a man who was sinning by doing things with his father’s wife that he was not supposed to do. The apostle Paul said that his sin was so bad that many non-Christians would not even think about committing such sin. We would have expected the Corinthians to be angry with this man and to reject his sinful lifestyle.

But instead of rejecting the man’s sinfulness, the Bible says that the Corinthians were “puffed up” or bragging about the situation. The Bible does not say exactly why the Corinthians were bragging, but it does say they were very wrong in the way they were handling this sinner. In fact, instead of bragging about having this sinner in the church, the apostle Paul told them to withdraw themselves from him. Paul told them not to treat the sinful man like he was a faithful Christian, but to avoid keeping company with him until he changed. Paul told them they were not even to eat with the man (1 Corinthians 5:11).

The Bible indicates that the Corinthians listened to God’s commands and withdrew from the sinner. After they did this, it seems that the man was sorry and begged the church to forgive him. In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians, Paul told the church to forgive the sinner and reaffirm their love for him (2 Corinthians 2:6-10).

If the church at Corinth had continued to accept the man and his sin, the sinful man’s soul would most likely have been lost. But because the church obeyed God by withdrawing from the man, he repented and was restored. The Corinthian church teaches us that sin is very bad and that being obedient to God’s law is always the best way to live. 

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