Many Christians apply God’s teachings backwards. How? They expect people who don’t follow the teachings of Jesus to live as though they do.
Paul addressed this predicament in 1 Corinthians 5. The focus of the chapter is on a young man who had become sexually involved with a person who was likely his step-mother. The Corinthian believers had done nothing to address the issue.
Paul condemned their lack of action, calling them to exclude this man from their community until he turned from this lifestyle. However, in doing so, he also made the important point that such judgments are for those who are already following Jesus.
According to Paul, it was not his business to decide a person’s fate who was not part of a Christian community. His job was to help local communities of believers honor God with their lives. This one principle, applied well, could completely transform our local churches. Rather than ranting against local problems or inviting everyone to join without expectations of change, we would seek for each person in our church community to live pure and holy lives that would draw others to Christ.
This is the New Testament’s plan, even if it may not find much discussion among today’s top books on church leadership. When we live as holy individuals, in a holy community, we will have the impact on those around us God seeks.
Dillon Burroughs is the author and coauthor of numerous books and is handwriting a copy of all 31,173 verses of the Bible at HolyWritProject.com. Find out more about Dillon at Facebook.com/readdB or readdB.com.