One can’t help but notice that Paul asked a single question a number of times in his letter to the Corinthians; in fact, he asked this question 10 times! The question is “do you not know?” The question is asked a total of 17 times in the New Testament, with Paul asking 15 of them. The single question is asked in varied contexts; in this bulletin article, I want to consider the question in two contexts. What prompted Paul to ask the brethren about something they should have already known?
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you (3:16)? In the context of these words, the apostle wants the Corinthian saints (and us by extension) to understand that the “church” is God’s temple dwelling place. Paul does not have in view a physical building, but the individual saints collectively called the church. Those who adversely (negatively) affect the local church affect the temple God dwells in. When we think about our own dwelling place (our house, our home), and someone negatively affecting it, then we can appreciate the Lord’s concern a little better. If you felt it was threatened, you would likely go to what degree is necessary to protect it. Those who adversely affect the Lord “house” will have to address the Lord at His proper time, but while here on earth, the Lord wants His saints to give attention to this matter also.
Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump (5:6)? In this particular context, the apostle Paul addressed the saints expressing his disappointment that some within the congregation were much too willing to let a brother engaged sin continue in that same sin without correction. In other words, the saints should have insisted upon him stopping the sinful activity, but they did not. In fact, as you can see by the question, they were “glorying” in this matter! What a shame! The local congregation, the elders especially, have an obligation to address sinful behaviors in the saints. When the elders and the saints within the congregation are made aware of sinful behavior, there is a need to address the one or the ones so involved. For what purpose? Two reasons. First, to save the soul engaged in the destructive/sinful behavior. Second, to take the old sinful leaven out of the new lump (church) so the church is not negatively affected more than it already has been (cf. Acts 20:28). What is very troubling about situations like this is the occasion family members take to protect the one engaged in sinful behavior. There is a preference to “protect one’s own” more than there is to honor the One who own’s. RT