the weblog of Alan Knox

In the world, but not of the world…

Posted by on Dec 18, 2006 in community, discipleship, discipline, fellowship | 5 comments

Lately, I have been meditating on the following passage:

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people-not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler-not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” (1 Cor. 5:9-13)

This passage has been very convicting to me. As I have written previously, I usually live within a Christian subculture. As I look around, I see many Christians living within a Christian bubble. This is not the way that we are meant to live. We are meant to interact with the world: to be in the world though we are not of the world.

The interesting thing about the passage above is that we are taught to spend time with unbelievers-even with those who are sexually immoral, greedy, swindlers, and idolators. God expects us to spend time with them. However, we are told not even to eat with someone who calls himself a brother and lives in this manner.

This is not natural for me. I do not want to be around the sexually immoral, greedy, swindlers, and idolators. So, tonight I asked some of my brothers and sisters to hold me accountable to act just as Paul instructs us to act. In other words, I asked them to confront me if I am not spending more time eating with people who are not part of the kingdom of God. That seems strange even thinking it.

But, I know that it is God’s will. How do I know that it is God’s will? Well, besides the fact that Paul said so in 1 Cor. 5:9-13, I have a better way of knowing that it is God’s will for me to hang around lost people. I know it is his will, because that’s what he did.


Comments are closed. If you would like to discuss this post, send an email to alan [at] alanknox [dot] net.

  1. 12-18-2006


    Very challenging post. That is one of the reasons why I have come to enjoy your blog.


  2. 12-18-2006




  3. 12-18-2006


    Sorry it was before I had my coffee? Huge brain lapse, my apologies.


  4. 12-19-2006

    While I don’t disagree with the conclusion you have drawn, I’m not positive I would agree with that being an application of 1 Cor 5:9-13.

    I don’t think this passage is telling us to spend time with unbelievers. I think Paul is telling us not to avoid association with unbelievers.

    Subtle difference, but one that I think is worth pointing out.

    Your final sentence said it best, though, that following Jesus’s example is “proof” enough of our need to be involved with the unbelievers around us.

    Just thought I’d throw my two cents in on that.

    steve 🙂

  5. 12-20-2006


    I think I understand what you are saying about 1 Cor. 5:9-13. However, I still think that Paul is assuming that the believers will spend time with unbelievers: “since then you would need to go out of the world” (v. 10). He suggests that not spending time with unbelievers would be the same as “going out of the world”, which the believers are not to do.

    Either way, I think we are in agreement on the conclusion.