1Co 5:3-5 “For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
Although necessity had dictated that Paul physically move on from Corinth, the church there was obviously still much in his thoughts and prayers. Even as pastors today, when the Lord sees fit to move us from one congregation to another we never completely lose some feeling of attachment and spiritual responsibility for each congregation. By God’s grace, Paul was still sufficiently attuned to the Corinthian brethren that he was confident in the matter before him.
Paul’s judgement was not only aimed at the man guilty of fornication. He was very concerned with the attitude of the brethren at Corinth. They did not feel any deep grief over the sinful act but were rather behaving as though this were a matter above the reproach of men. However, Paul assured them this was not the case.
Being spiritually attuned still to the church there, Paul had judged the situation already. He did not judge as a stranger or an outsider, but rather as one with intimate knowledge grounded in the spirit and not in the body. Paul had no doubt of the veracity of the report he had received and had no doubt what must be done.
Paul called on the brethren to take note of his power in the name (authority) of Jesus Christ. What Paul was about to do was something beyond simply excluding or shuning the guilty party. In the power of Jesus, Paul called on the church to observe that one who behaved as this man would be delivered unto Satan (the accuser) for the destruction of the flesh.
Many today might say that this was so that the church could just wash their hands of the situation. Again, it was not in the power of the Corinthian brethren to deliver this one to Satan, but rather with the power of Jesus Christ. For all their puffed up attitude about the situation, the congregation at Corinth could not prevent the giving over of this brother for fleshly destruction. No matter how they tried to rationalize it or normalize it, it was a sin that the power of Christ would not tolerate.
Notice now that it was for the fleshly destruction that he was delivered to Satan. The flesh was to be destroyed so that the life that remained would be one of repentance; one that would bring honor to the delivering power of the Lord Jesus Christ in His day. This is not about someone having been saved at one point then being eternally condemned then repenting and being eternally saved again.
The saving work of Jesus Christ is forever and there is no lack or flaw in it. There is nothing that can separate us from the love of God if that love is ever ours. The salvation in the gospel realm taught here was about both the church and the individual learning that our Lord is alive and fully capable of dealing with His church collectively and its members individually. The ultimate goal of His mighty power has always been and will always be that we might be saved in the season of His presence.
May we find both reverence and hope in knowing that the authority and power of Jesus Christ is always ready to judge His children, do whatever is necessary in our lives, and ultimately to save us from our flesh!