“Command the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper,
and every one that hath an issue, and whosoever is defiled by the dead.
Both male and female shall ye put out, without the camp shall ye put them,
that they defile not their camps, in the midst whereof I dwell.”
“If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away from you!
It’s better for you that one of your members perish than that your whole body
be cast into Gehenna. And if your right hand causes you to sin,
cut it off and throw it away from you! It’s better for you that one of your
members perish than that your whole body be cast into Gehenna.”
“Put that wicked man out from among you!”
Whether under the law or in this time of grace, there are times when, for the good of a body of believers, ties must be broken with an individual member. Sin is like a contagious disease, and when left unopposed, it always grows. As Paul said to the saints in Corinth, who had allowed a grievous sin in their midst to go unopposed for a long time, “Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?” (1Cor. 5:6). And what was the medicine that Paul prescribed for this body of believers?
3. Absent in body but present in spirit, I have already judged, as if present, the one who has done this deed.
4. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you and my spirit are gathered together, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
5. turn such a man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh so that the spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
6. Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?
7. Purge out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, since you are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us,
8. so that we might keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
9. In a letter, I wrote to you not to associate with immoral people,
10. not meaning, of course, the immoral of this world, or the covetous, or swindlers, or idolaters, for in that case, you would have to leave the world.
11. But now I write to you not to associate with anyone called a brother, if he be immoral, or covetous, or idolatrous, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler – not even so much as to eat with such a one.
12. For what have I to do with judging those outside? Do you not judge those who are inside?
13. Those on the outside, God will judge. So put that wicked man out from among you!
Of course, many times, those who are put out of the congregation feel misunderstood and mistreated, and some, like Satan when he was put out of heaven, become angry. But the important thing is that the body be protected from the influence of souls that have gone astray and are now committed to some ungodliness.
To lose a member of the body of Christ is no more pleasant than to lose an eye or a hand. But those in the medical field, and men who truly know God, will tell you that there are certainly times when a body must lose a hopelessly diseased member, or lose its entire self.