4 “In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Paul appeals to the character and authority of Christ by appealing to His “name.” He now asks the Corinthian church to discipline the believer living in incest with his stepmother.
when you are gathered together,
The Corinthian church should do this only when they are duly assembled as a church. No single individual has the authority to excommunicate another member.
along with my spirit,
The Corinthians have Paul’s authority and participation in this discipline.
with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
The judgment on the believer out of fellowship will come from the authority of Christ.
deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh,
The act that the congregation duly assembled was to deliver the incestuous believer over to physical death. The word “deliver” is a strong word in Greek conveying the idea of a judicial sentence – the handing over for discipline.
There is a sin unto physical death (Acts 5—Ananias and Sapphira; 2 Co 11:7; 1 Jn 5:16). This is not the destruction of the being but the body. The sin unto death is not a specific sin, nor does it come from individual acts of sin but continued, willful, negative volition towards God over a protracted period of time.
1 Ti 1:20, of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.
The killing of the body is Satan’s work – “the destruction of the flesh.” He killed Job’s seven sons and three daughters. He has the power of death (He 2:14,15; 1 Jn 3:8). He is a murderer (Jn 8:44), and he motivated Cain to kill Abel (1 Jn 3:13). He is the agent for the sin unto death of the believer (here; 1 Ti 1:19,20).
that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
All discipline of a believer in the Bible is remedial. The purpose is restoration, not punishment. The “spirit” of this believer will go to heaven, but his body will die if he does not repent. God will resurrect even his body eventually. Satan cannot touch the soul of the believer, but he can kill the body. Even after God takes a believer home prematurely, God will save his body when Christ comes again.
The purpose of discipline is restoration.
The purpose of all discipline for Christians is restoration into fellowship with the Lord. It is not vindictive but designed to get attention. Social sins, in particular, are destructive to society and the church. Discipline is not a lack of love; however, lack of discipline is a deficiency in love for the Lord or His church. God’s discipline has to do with how much He loves us.
He 12:6-7, 6For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.”
7If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?
Public sins must be dealt with publicly.
Mt 18:15-17, 15“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 16But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ 17And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.
There is a sequence to church discipline:
(1) first, go to the individual;
(2) then bring two or three witnesses with you;
(3) finally, take it before the whole church.
First, start with privacy and then move more publicly. Remember that the purpose of this discipline is not punishment but restoration to the Lord and the body of believers.