It is actually reported that sexual immorality exists among you, the kind of immorality that is not permitted even among the Gentiles, so that someone is cohabiting with his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you have been deeply sorrowful instead and removed the one who did this from among you? 1 Corinthians 5:1-2 NET Bible
Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast affects the whole batch of dough? Clean out the old yeast so that you may be a new batch of dough… 1 Corinthians 5:6-7a NET Bible
It’s fascinating to observe vocabulary modifications that overtake the Church as the culture around us changes. A term that has become popular as we talk about ourselves and our culture is “brokenness”. It seems to upset fewer people than saying “mankind is sinful” or a using a term such as “sexual immorality”.
In 1 Corinthians 5:1-8, Paul addresses the toleration and even celebration of sexual brokenness that has been reported to him about the Corinthian church. Maybe those 8 verses could be paraphrased in the words made famous by the comic strip character Pogo: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
Although it’s important to remember none of us is 100% free of brokenness, it’s destructive to tolerate, much less celebrate, brokenness in our midst.
In another letter Paul observes that those who repent and turn to Jesus start as fully broken: “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 NET Bible
But instantly, Paul moves past that start to describe what Jesus has done for us (justification – reconnecting us with God): “But they are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:24 NET Bible
And, in another letter, Paul elaborates on our ongoing transformative process:
Now may the God of peace himself make you completely holy and may your spirit and soul and body be kept entirely blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. I Thessalonians 5:23 NET Bible
In terms of sexual brokenness, our culture has come to resemble ancient Corinth. In order to be relevant and inoffensive to those we want to reach with the good news of Jesus, it’s tempting to be “accepting” and bend to swiftly morphing cultural norms. But we have the above words of Paul to guide us within our Church community. Here’s a summary:
- Although those in the Church are broken, we are now justified by Jesus Christ.
- Jesus is transforming us to wholeness, and it’s a process.
- Don’t celebrate brokenness.
- Don’t contribute to brokenness.
- Confront celebrations of brokenness in the Church.
Consider one of the following actions today.
One: Think about the challenges sexual brokenness has presented or is presenting in your life. Is there another brother or sister you trust who can help you in that area?
Two: If you have received help with sexual brokenness and know of another believer who is struggling in the same area, pray for them and ask God to show you how you can support them in obeying Jesus.
Three: Let your heart be broken in prayer for one or more of those you know and love who are not in the Church and are presently captivated by sexual brokenness.