At the beginning of this week I met a young man who is a Christian, but he had to spend more than a year in prison and he was justly imprisoned. What was the reason? Let me tell you. He was working in an orphanage and he found out that one of the workers abused sexually one of the children. When the workers found out that, of course they told to the director, and he dismissed the guilty person and they thought that in that way they would cover those things and there would not be brought shame upon all of them and upon the activity of the orphanage. But, it didn’t happen the way they thought. Those acts were found out by the police and they came to make an investigation and they set up that this young man had known the case too. He didn’t report it to the police, that’s why he was judged and sent to prison for more than a year, as I have written above. Does it seem that the judiciary organs (it is not in Moldova) were not right? Let us see what the Holy Scriptures say concerning this and why Christians have to confront the sin in others’ lives that pretend they are Christians?
Don’t tolerate the sin in the church only because all others tolerate it
After he had planted the church from Corint, Apostle Paul went far away and he found out things that shocked him. Here is what he found out about them:
It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife. You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst. (1 Corinthians 5:1–2)(NASB)
Do you see what Apostle Paul says? It is reported that there is immorality among them. In other words, all people know, it came to the point that all speak about them and they, the church of the Lord Jesus, where this iniquity and abomination takes place, didn’t take and were not taking an attitude. How can this happen? It is expected from Christians to take an imediate attitude about the one who acted that way and to send him out of the church.
Last week a young Christian woman from a church from the country came to me and asked my advice how to act in the following situation: One of her uncles, who is a Christian, who goes to church regularly, was caught in adultery with one of their aunts, who also goes to church. The uncle admited, but the aunt doesn’t want to admit and continues to attend the church, as if nothing had happend. Then, another uncle, that also attends the church and who always tells to this girl that she is not going to enter the Kingdom of Heavens because she dared to wear jeans. Well, this uncle, left his wife for more than three years and he lives with another woman. The greatest tragedy is that the church didn’t take any attitude about them, all these people come to church as if nothing had happened, more than this, they try to “make the young people wise about the true faith”, like the case with the jeans. The Christian girl asked me how she should act, because as she knew the Scriptures, she was aware that she had to confront those people, but she told me: “How to confront them if they will not listen to anything?.. I know for certainty that when I go to tell them something, these arrogant people will spit me in face?” Then I told her…
Even of no one confronts Christians that live in sin, you ought to do it
After Apostle Paul mentioned with indignation that Christians from Corint hadn’t taken any attitude about the immoral one from their church, he writes:
For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. (1 Corinthians 5:3)(NASB)
When you face such situations, and find out that someone lives in sin, the Lord Jesus said that we have to act in the following way:
If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. ”But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. (The Gospel of Matthew 18:15–17)(NASB)
If the Christian who lives in sin doesn’t repent and doesn’t correct himself, he has to be delivered to Satan
Assuming and implicating that Corinthians will act with the immoral one according to the procedure let by the Lord Jesus and that now it was the last instance, Apostle Paul, as spiritual counsellor and teacher of those from Corint pronounced the sentence of that immoral, that lived with the wife of his father in incest:
In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (1 Corinthians 5:4–5)(NASB)
Be aware that if you don’t confront those from the church that live in sin, shortly their sin will affect the whole church and you personally
People deceive themselves thinking that I don’t have to interfere as long as it doesn’t affect me personally. I remember how one of my neighours came to tell me how in the moring he was waiting at the station and a group of teenagers who were drunk came and clinged to a man, and in all people’s sight they beat him hardly, and no one interfered to help the man who was beaten by those bad guys. I asked my neighbour: “But why didn’t you run to help that man?” And he said: “Vasile, what could I do? I am a weak man, well if you were there, than the things would have gone other way…” Then I asked him how he would feel if the one beaten by the teenagers were he, and at the station wouldn’t be people like me, but only people like him, and no one would interfere with him? What would he do then? And something else… What did those arrogant and evil teenagers learn? That they can beat anyone, in the day’s light, and no one can stop them because people are afraid of them? It happens something similar in the churches, when people don’t want to interfere and to confront those who are evil and sinful “not to have problems”. But then, they get the greatest problems, because they let the sin forward with all it speed until it comes up to their family and their person. Here is what Apostle Paul says concerning this:
Your boasting is not good Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:6–8)(NASB)
The effect of the unconfronted sin is compared here to the effect of the leaven on the lump of dough. When I was little, I remember how my mother called me to show me a “miracle”. I was outside and when I came in she was putting a little piece of dough in a basin and put the basin on the stove and then she sent me to play a little bit. In some time she called me again: “Vasilica, my beloved son, come to see the miracle!” I was running quickly and I was so wondered to see that there was so much leaven from the basin that my mother put on the soven was so much, that it was filling the basin up to the brim. This was the effect of the leaven, it affected the whole dough very quickly and it made it grow very much. It is exactly what Apostle Paul says that will happen in a church that doesn’t confront the sin, in a very short time the sin will affect the church.
Don’t have any dealings with those delivered to Satan
Those who don’t accept to repent and to change their behaviour and life, these people have to be sent out form the church of Christ and, the Bible says, that they are delivered to Satan from that moment on for the destruction of the flesh, so that their spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. From now on, believers have to take a correct attitude about these people and no to have any dealings with them, as Apostle Paul writes:
I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler–not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES. (1 Corinthians 5:9–13)(NASB)
After I told the Christian girl about all that the Holy Scriptures says, she asked me…
How should you act when the leaders of the church neither take nor want to take any attitude?
It is important to go and do your part and to confront people whose sin you know about. If they listen to you, repent and correct themselves, then God says that you have gained your brother or sister. But if they don’t want to listen to you, go to the priest of the church and tell him to go with you and to confront his sin together. But if the leaders of the church don’t take attitude about those who sin, they will have their consequences on this earth, and much more in eternity. But you have to go and do your part and don’t let a little leaven (sin) to leaven (destroy, spoil) the whole lump of dough (The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ).
Translated by Djugostran Felicia