The Sinning Brother | The Institute for Creation Research
The Sinning Brother

"But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat" (I Corinthians 5:11).

Here is a sober reminder that a Christian brother--one who has accepted Christ as Savior and repented of his sins can again fall into gross sin. This seems so anomalous that we might question whether such a one was ever saved in the first place. Some modern translations even let this question distort the real thrust of the verse. The NASV, for example, calls such a person a "so-called brother," and the NIV translates the phrase as "anyone who calls himself a brother," both thus implying that he was not really a brother in Christ.

The Greek word, however, is onomazo, which means, simply, "named" or "called," as the King James version correctly renders it. The thrust of the whole phrase is, "any man who bears the name of brother." Paul is stressing the anomaly itself. Any brother in the Lord should live in a manner befitting this high calling.

If he does not, however, and if he is not responsive to the pleadings of his brethren who seek to restore him in the manner of Galatians 6:1 ("ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness"), then he should be subject to church discipline and be removed from the fellowship of the church. "If he neglect to hear the church," said Jesus, "let him be unto thee as an heathen man" (Matthew 18:17). If such a person later repents, of course, Paul says we "ought rather to forgive him, and . . . confirm your love toward him" (II Corinthians 2:7-8).

In the meantime, knowing that it is possible for a true believer to fall into gross sin through carelessness, or doubt, or whatever, "let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall" (I Corinthians 10:12). HMM

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