Should I eat with a former Christian, who is now unrepentant and refuses to stop committing a certain sin?
A question that is often ignored by believers is, “Should I eat with a sinning man who is a former Christian?” That is, the man is not repentant and refuses to stop committing a certain sin. What should a Christian do? Does 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 apply to this situation? Another verse that must also be considered is 2 Thessalonians 3:14. Therefore, let us discover what these verses teach.
What Is The Meaning of 1 Corinthians 5:9-13?
In 1 Corinthians 5, the apostle Paul rebukes the Christians in Corinth for tolerating a man who was having sex with his step mother. For explanation of the man’s sin, visit the article, What is the meaning of 1 Corinthians 5:1-2? In verse 2, Paul says the church was arrogant and should have been mourning the sin the man and his step-mother were committing. Instead, the church was tolerating their sin. The same thing happens in many cultures.
But in verse 4, the apostle Paul said that when the church was gathered together, he would deliver the man to Satan ” for the destruction of his flesh.”
In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 1 Corinthians 5:4-5 (NASB)
In verses 6-7, Paul added,
Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. 1 Corinthians 5:6-7a (NASB)
At this point, it is obvious that it is wrong for a church and for individual believers to tolerate someone who is unrepentant and claims to be or has claimed in the past to be a Christian. This is confirmed by Paul’s next instructions to the church. He said,
I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler — not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES. 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 (NASB)
This means that churches and believers must not tolerate unrepentant, sinning believers and those who claim to be believers. We must remember that 1 Corinthians 15:33 warns believers about becoming close friends with unbelievers.
Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NASB)
What Is the Meaning of 2 Thessalonians 3:14-16?
The same message is given to believers in 2 Thessalonians 3:14-16.
If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. 2 Thessalonians 3:14-16 (NASB)
That is if anyone does not follow the instructions of Scripture, believers are told to not associate with them. The purpose of such action is to put him to shame. Yet, we are not to regard as an enemy. We are just not to associate with him. We must admonish him.
So, should I eat with a sinning man who is a former Christian? These Scriptures reveal that believers are not to associate with unrepentant believers. The Greek word for “associate” in 2 Thessalonians 3:14-16 is in the present tense. That means an infrequent meeting for the purpose of admonishing a brother is appropriate. But God warns believers to not associate with them. Paul also tells us to not be arrogant. That is, do not think that your standard of morality is superior to God’s holiness. Therefore, believers must not reject God’s instructions.
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