New Defender's Study Bible Notes
5:13 put away. In addition to the “destruction [this word could mean either death or severe physical punishment] of the flesh” permitted Satan by Paul on this wicked church member, Paul had also advised the church was also told to excommunicate him from its fellowship. Further, Paul told the church to withdraw fellowship from any in its professing membership who were still involved in any of the gross sins listed in I Corinthians 5:11. The ultimate purpose of such discipline was not only to keep the reputation of the church itself wholesome, but also to prevent “a little leaven” from “[leavening] the whole lump” (I Corinthians 5:6). Finally, Paul hoped that these judgments would convict the sinning brother to repent and return to Christ, “that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus” (I Corinthians 5:5). This did actually happen in this particular case (see II Corinthians 2:4-11).
Although the apostles are no longer available to guide the church today, the church now has the complete Word of God, as well as pastors and teachers, and still has the responsibility of maintaining a faithful witness. Only God now has the authority to “deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh” (I Corinthians 5:5), but the church does have the right and responsibility to excommunicate (that is, withdraw fellowship) from those of its number who persist in flagrant sin.