Destruction of the Flesh

1Corinthians 5:1-5 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife. And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that has done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that has so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 

‘Fornication’ [Greek: porneia] all kinds of impurity; perversion and immorality.

‘Father’s wife’ – It seems from 2Corinthians 7:12 that the father was alive, for it refers to the one “that suffered wrong” as well as the one who had “done the wrong.”

‘Puffed up’ [Greek: phusioo] You are puffed up over your gifts and powers and so full of strife and contention related to your parties and favourite teachers, you have neglected the discipline of the congregation. Had you considered the greatness of the crime you would have mourned and acted to put away the fornicator.

‘Taken away’ [Greek: airo] to put away or excommunicate the fornicator from the congregation (1Cor. 5:2, 13).

‘In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Five points in judging the fornicator: By the authority of Jesus Christ; gather in a congregational group; agree with my spirit; use the power of Jesus Christ and deliver him to satan (1Cor. 5:4-5).

‘For the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.’ The purpose of delivering him to satan was to destroy the flesh. This required members to withdraw all fellowship and spiritual influence from him, and to quit praying for him, so as to permit satan to afflict his body thus perhaps bringing him to repentance, that his spirit might be saved in the end. This was effective, for in the second letter Paul wrote the congregation to forgive him lest he should be swallowed up in excessive sorrow (2Cor. 2:6-7). Affliction of the body by satan (Job 2:7; John 10:10; Acts 10:38) is a natural consequence for sin and will follow no matter what we do, in praying this prayer, however, consequences for the mentioned sin (in this case fornication) will come sooner and may lead to repentance for the individual.

‘Destruction’ [Greek: olethros] ruin, destruction, plague, pest (1Cor. 5:5; 1Thess. 5:3; 2Thess. 1:9; 1Tim. 6:9). The destruction was whatever consequence (Isa. 26:9-10) was capable of bringing him to repentance (2Cor. 2:7).

‘That the spirit may be saved’ – All the physical affliction that could be brought on a man could not save his spirit unless it brought him to repentance. It was not, therefore, physical trouble that saved the soul, but repentance brought about by affliction. ‘Day of the Lord Jesus’ – In the day when Christ comes to receive saints unto Himself (1Cor. 1:8; 5:5; 2Cor. 1:14; Php. 1:6, 10; 2:16).

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