"Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed." (1 Corinthians 5:6-7)
This chapter gives us some insight on the nature of the church and on the use of authority. The church has an authority to exclude. It is not all-inclusive in the sense that any lifestyle is acceptable to the membership. This principle itself is not acceptable to many people.
Such authority can be heavy-handed and petty, but it should not be. The case in 1 Cor 5 involved an arrogant, unrepentant, seemingly enlightened acceptance of a very gross immorality. One that even the unbelievers found repulsive. It needed to be dealt with. As Mark Dever says, "the church does not discipline for sin, but for unrepentant sin."
There is a tendency for us to be uncritical of our friends and critical of those outside our circle of thought and life. The church is to counter that tendency. We are to challenge one another to the high standards of kingdom life, while remaining totally open to outsiders who have yet to embrace Christ.
- Has the concept of authority (as being good) been totally lost in our culture?
- Where do we see good examples of the use of authority in the church?