1 Corinthians 5:9-13 (NIV)
I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people-- 10not
at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy
and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this
world. 11But now I am writing you
that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but
is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or
a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.
12What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."
The Difference Between Sinners and Frauds
Jesus is a "friend of sinners." He routinely associated with prostitutes, tax collectors, and other assorted sinners. And we are called to do the same. We are called to reach out in love to those who are captives to sin because they don't know God. We are to befriend them, love them, and reach them with the good news.
But the apostle Paul sounds a different note when it comes to those who claim to be Christ-followers. Though
all of us struggle with sin, there are some people who flaunt their
so-called "freedom" and embrace all kinds of gross immorality - all the
while talking about how they love Jesus. Paul says to keep your distance from such people. They give Christ a bad name. If
the church were to embrace them as fellow brothers and sisters, it
would soon make the church a mockery of the "light of the world" God has
called us to be.
It's one thing to embrace fellow-strugglers. We all sin and we need each other for confession, accountability, prayer, and love in spite of ourselves.
But it's quite another to embrace frauds, notorious hypocrites, and walking contradictions of Christ. God desires his name to be great among the nations. We are called to be his holy people on earth.