Jesus said:

      Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
     And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
     Of sin, because they believe not on me;
     Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
     Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged."

                               (Jn. 16:7-11)


1It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife.

2And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.

3For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,

4In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,

5To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

6Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?

7Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

8Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

9I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: [a judgment to say the least]

10Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. [it doesn't apply to people in the world which you have relationships with]

11But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

12For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? [we do not judge those outside the Church] do not ye judge them that are within? [our business is to judge those inside the Church]

13But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.

Commentator Matthew
Henry's assessment of
1 Corinthians 5 follows:

      The apostle blames the Corinthians for connivance at an incestuous person; (1-8) and directs their behaviour towards those guilty of scandalous crimes. (9-13)
      (1-8) The apostle notices a flagrant abuse, winked at by the Corinthians. Party spirit, and a false notion of Christian liberty, seem to have saved the offender from censure. Grievous indeed is it that crimes should sometimes be committed by professors of the gospel, of which even heathens would be ashamed. Spiritual pride and false doctrines tend to bring in, and to spread such scandals. How dreadful the effects of sin! The devil reigns where Christ does not. And a man is in his kingdom, and under his power, when not in Christ. The bad example of a man of influence is very mischievous; it spreads far and wide. Corrupt principles and examples, if not corrected, would hurt the whole church. Believers must have new hearts, and lead new lives. Their common conversation and religious deeds must be holy. So far is the sacrifice of Christ our Passover for us, from rendering personal and public holiness unnecessary, that it furnishes powerful reasons and motives for it. Without holiness we can neither live by faith in him, nor join in his ordinances with comfort and profit.
     (9-13) Christians are to avoid familiar converse with all who disgrace the Christian name. Such are only fit companions for their brethren in sin, and to such company they should be left, whenever it is possible to do so. Alas, that there are many called Christians, whose conversation is more dangerous than that of heathens!

[Paul was required to make a judgment on this troubling situation for the sake of the body of Christ so that Christ's name not be shamed. It was unfortunate that the church was not up to its responsibility and had forced Paul to shoulder their unpleasant work for them. TS]








                                                                                                             by Terry Smith

     The role the Church is meant to have in the World has always been subject to fiery debate. Being a judge and demanding righteousness is the business of both the Holy Spirit and the Church, even though the Church's role as a judge is nowhere near as expansive as that of the Holy Ghost. Convicting the world of righteousness is the sole and exclusive work of the Holy Spirit and was never intended to be the business of the Church in this present Age of Grace. Any attempt to be judge of the World on the part of the Church is nothing short of usurping the work of the Holy Spirit as declared by Jesus at the Last Supper. The Church’s role as a judge of conduct and truth, for now, lies solely within the spiritual confines of the Church herself. In the Ages to come the Church will join with Christ in judging the nations and the world with a 'rod of iron'. Saints will even be judge over the angels, but these duties are to fall upon God's faithful saints in a future day. Jesus told a parable about faithful servants who were given authority over ten and five cities, respectively. Obviously, that was in the coming world, changed and renewed after Christ's return. Until then, the Scriptures make it clear; the saints are to tend to their own house, judge righteously and with justice among themselves and trust their future to the coming of Christ. Paul made it clear as to the nature of the Church's duties of judgment when he told the saints of Corinth: "For what have I to do to judge them that are without [or, outside the Church]? do not ye judge them that are within? [or, our business is to judge those inside the Church] But them that are without God judgeth." Confusion and harm result when the Church crosses over the line and tries to bring judgment upon the world, because it is the exclusive business and personal work of the Holy Spirit just as Jesus declared. (Sidebar) When the Church attempts to judge the World it amounts to shirking her duty to judge herself. It amounts to not minding to her own business and meddling in the affairs of another. it is no less than God Himself who says that judgment must begin at the House of God, and if we would judge ourselves we will have no need to be judged later on.

The following dialogue addresses the issue of who is to judge the World; how and when righteousness is to be imposed on the earth; and what judgment, if any, is actually to be employed in Christ's Church during this current Age of Grace.

QUESTION: - What judgment is expected to be employed by the Church and what judgment has the Holy ghost reserved for Himself?



YOUNG CHRISTIAN:  The world sure seems to be getting worse and worse everyday.  Crime, lying politicians and thieving businessmen, senseless violence, abortions, random shootings, serial killers, drugs, perversion, pornography; it’s incredible. I just hope that good Christian groups from the Religious Right can do something about it.


ELDER: Evil sure is on the rise, but, never mind what the Christian Right has to say about it, what do you think God wants the Church and Christians in general to do about it, that’s the real question isn’t it?


YC: Aren’t they the same thing?


ELDER: Not necessarily. Just because a person has a ministry on TV doesn’t make them correct or even in God’s perfect will. Look at Jim Bakker. He’s before your time, but how many people assumed everything he said was gospel because he represented himself smiling and loving, as a voice for God on TV. People in the 70s were lapping up everything he said or proposed without one bit of discernment.


YC: Well, I admit you have to be right on that. It is always a question of what does God want the Church to do, but when everybody agrees about something then can’t we be sure that it’s God’s will?


ELDER: Yes, I suppose, but what makes you think everyone in the Church agrees with the idea that God expects us to impose righteousness on the world and stop all the sin. What if I have another take on this subject of moral and ethical righteousness in the world as influenced by the Church? Just because the celebrated ministries have more numbers following them than another person who has a ministry writing and publishing the Gospel, just because they are a celebrity made by 21st Century media, are they more correct than a simple pastor of a flock or a lesser known anointed voice of the Church? What if I have a different take on it, then you have to decide who is right and it shouldn’t be on the condition of how many people agree with that leader or this leader. The condition has to be who is following God’s will. Doesn’t this sound correct to you?

YC: Yes. That seems right to me. What does God want the Church and a Christian to do about judging and confronting evil, regardless of the popular or generally accepted way?


ELDER: And how do we find this out as Christians?


YC: I can guess, but why don’t you tell me so I don’t show my ignorance.


ELDER: Two ways are imperative. The Spirit coupled with the WORD (Bible and personal revelation of Christ). These are the two sources or fountains (not listening to men) by which we can ascertain God’s will. So let’s see what the Spirit and the Bible say to us about this matter, because this is what we can be sure we know and what we can have faith to act upon. Christians often assume that it is their responsibility to correct the world of its evils. They really don’t even stop to think if it is part of the Christian mandate during this Age of Grace. They never bother to even ask the Lord about it because it just seems so Christian to worry about the sins of the world, that they never know for sure if it is God’s will. They just presumptuously figure it must be because that’s what the Christian company line says they’re supposed to believe.


YC: I guess I’m one of them. I just figure it must be good to try and stop the world from sin and evil. How can a Christian just sit back with all this evil going on; starvation, abortion, murder, crime, ethnic cleansing, corruption and do nothing about it? God can’t want us to do that!


ELDER: Says who? God or people?


YC: You can’t be serious. We’re the light on the hill and the salt of the earth.


ELDER: You’re right. We are. But what does that mean. Isn’t it a leap to think we are in some way responsible, or even able, to cure the world of its ills, or that we can manifest the solution for the degradation of man? Does it mean we are to be political activists or engage in acts of civil disobedience? Does it mean we are to petition the government for Christian laws and to expect that a heathen constituency should live by the law of Christ and the perfect law of liberty? Are we supposed to impose Christ’s righteousness on the world through legislation, force or any other political, military means?


YC: Well, being the light of the world means setting the example, showing people the way to salvation like a lighthouse beacon leading lost sailors safely home, out of the dark stormy waters. Jesus is the harbor and we are the light that should show them the way. Right? We should be zealous and conscientious about being righteous and living right according to the precepts of the Bible. We should love our neighbor and one another as Jesus has loved us and that’s being the salt of the earth. Right? I read where Jesus said that nobody lights a candle and puts it under their bed, but puts it where it can be seen.


ELDER: I couldn’t have put it better myself. How does making laws and demanding society’s compliance to these things fit into being the light of the world and the salt of the earth? We are to be a beacon of light in a dark and crazy mixed-up world. We are a beacon to draw people to the light, but the darkness remains, and will remain, until God’s chosen time to put an end to it.


YC: Well, I guess we have to make them do what is right.

ELDER: In your definition of our mandate and duty, I didn’t hear anything like that. I heard things like example, showing and leading. God doesn’t expect us to make the world live free from sin or according to godly ways anymore than He demands that we make someone become a Christian. Only Christ saves and He doesn’t even make people become a Christian. The choice is always left up to them. Even after becoming born-again, we have to make a choice for Him each and every day. Daily. God showed us that method of force through the law does not work, its does not rid people of the most fundamental problem of each and every man, i.e. disobedience and lack of trust in God’s love and mercy. He gave the perfect law to Israel and they, representing all mankind, failed. It was to show that only the advent of the Messiah could truly change things and make a man 'perfect' and obedient to Him. Do you see what I’m getting at?


YC: I think so.


ELDER: Why would God demand of the Church the thing that His Law alone was not sufficient to do? Doesn’t the Bible make this very point by saying that the Law, though perfect, was made weak because of our sinful flesh?


YC: If you put it that way then imposing righteousness on the world does seem foolish. But God still can’t want us to be passive about judging righteousness and truth, it says so much about that in His Word, even in the New Testament.


ELDERS: The judge of the world, we are told in Scripture, is not the Church, but the Holy Ghost. In fact we are explicitly told not to judge the world. The Holy Ghost will reprove the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. The Church is to confine its judgment to within her own “walls”. When the Church has meddled in the world’s affairs she has always gotten into trouble and has been lured away from the Gospel and her true work. Imposing righteousness on the world is a diversion.


YC: What do you mean? Aren’t we told to go into all the world and baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost?


ELDER: Yes, good point, we are told to do this, but what does that mean? It means that we are to go into the world and help people, equip people who believe, so they can get out of the world. We are to accept them in the name of the Trinity, and baptize them into the fullness of God so they become members of the spiritual body of Christ, the ekklesia, or separated ones. We are to baptize them, which means immerse them into the baptisms of Repentance (the Father) Water (Jesus Christ) and the Spirit (Holy Ghost). Church comes from the word ekklesia which in Greek means: simply, the separated ones. This is our duty as Christians - to go about and issue the invitation to anyone who will listen to separate themselves from the world and be joined to Christ. This is the defeat of sin by Christians in the world. Not the conversion of the world, but the drawing out of those who will receive Him. The sin of the world is not to be regarded so much as the murdering and perversion and selfishness which is the fruit or symptom of their sin. The world’s sin is that it rejects God daily and refuses to listen to His Spirit or obey His voice. The world will not separate itself from sin and be sanctified or separated to God. That is not going to happen. Because of this sin there is no hope for the world. That is why Jesus said to the Father at the last supper, “I do not pray for the world, but those you have given me.” That is why Jesus must come back with a sword and why Armageddon must take place and why all the judgments of the Book of Revelation must be imposed from heaven upon a faithless and rebellious world.


YC: I see.

ELDER: There is no hope for the world. The Church has tarnished the reputation of Christ and given ammunition to the world for rejecting God every time it has tried to impose Christ on the world. The Church lost its way in the 10 middle centuries of the Age of Grace because it tried to dominate the world and impose faith upon it. The apostle Paul said it was not his goal to dominate anyone’s faith but to let them stand freely, by their own will, before God. How many evils have been perpetrated by the Church because they tried to forcefully subject the world to God by manipulation, intimidation and political rule. This is the Age of Grace in which every person must freely come to God by their own free will and be separated from the world. Christian parents have also misunderstood this and it has become a body-wide tragedy. They foster a great misconception. My generation of Evangelicals has bought the false idea hook-line-and-sinker, that they can and should impose Christ on their children by any means necessary. I fear a whole generation has been driven away from Christ because of this false belief in imposing Christianity on family and the world. They have done just the opposite as all such tactics will when they are worked by man’s clumsy hands. They believe that Christ ministered is Christ imposed, not Christ humbly offered.


YC: But there will be a time when Christ imposes righteousness on the world, won’t there?


ELDER: Yes, but even in the age to come, when he will impose righteousness on the earth, Jesus will never personally impose righteousness on any individual soul. In the first place, it’s not possible to impose righteousness on anyone. Righteousness and salvation are inseparable; salvation must be freely received. God put Adam and Eve in a perfect environment and they still rejected God, chose to believe something, someone else. They had to ‘decide’ for him if they were going to be saved from eternal death. Neither one could do it for the other; and God couldn’t do it for them either. People must come out of the world and come into the light as God draws them out, and then accept Him on their own. Sure, they can be helped and urged but they must believe God loves them and can heal them and accept salvation on their own. No one can subject them to God, or impose God on them, even when it is demanded by parental authority or loving intentions. There is no other name under heaven by which a person may be saved, other than the name Jesus Christ, this excludes every ther name, including Christian mom and Christian dad.

YC: Yea, if you think about it a little you can’t impose Christ on anyone and it doesn’t seem fitting to impose righteousness during an Age which we call Grace on the world either. The Church is called the separated ones, it’s about being separate not making the world join us or see it our way. It is the business of The Holy Ghost to judge the World. Jesus even said that was not His job, but the Spirit’s work. After He returns, that’s when Jesus will be the new sheriff in town, I guess you could say. But where does that leave us about the notion of imposed righteousness in God’s will? Does it have a place at all?


ELDER: Well, yeah, it does have a place. The Book of Revelation and the Old Testament prophets promise God will impose righteousness on the earth. The Bible tells us Jesus and His faithful saints will rule the nations with a rod of iron after His Second Coming. That sounds like imposed righteousness to me and it won’t be done by consent of the world, by elections or political persuasion like the ignorant Church hopes in today. It’s not that the hope for justice and right government is wrong. It’s that it is not the tenor of this age or in the right time. In 1 Corinthians 6 we are promised that the saints shall judge the world. We are promised that the saints shall judge the angels. But God calls the shots, determines the timing of all things. Paul's finer point in 1 Corinthians is that saints should not take their business of judgment to the World. He scolded the believers of Corinth for doing so. We are told to keep judgment within the walls of the Church for now, pay attention to getting our own house in order. Don't be involved with the World, one way or the other, except for being a beacon of light to those who are lost in its darkness.
     Bible prophecy tells us that the cup of iniquity must be filled to the brim and that the world must drink in the wrath of God to the very last drop. When the purging is done Christ will come to mop up the last vestiges of rebellion and evil. Then, starts a fresh new reign of righteous government on earth. Part of that New Deal from heaven will be the implementation of a perfect government imposed around the World by Christ and His redeemed agents of righteousness. We are told if Egypt or the other nations do not concede to His explicit requirements and subject themselves to Him and His rule, that they will be deprived of rain. What a truly imposing threat, an embargo, a devastating sanction, that man’s governments only wish they could use to impose their wills on other nations. We sense, this is just a sampler of the powerful punishments available to God in the Age of Imposed Righteousness against nations who are foolish enough to rebel. It should be abundantly clear that this will not, and cannot happen until Christ returns, cleanses the Temple, is anointed King of kings and begins His thousand year rule of justice and perfect government. Until then we suffer in this present evil world, because He has willed this to be the time for souls to freely choose Him and come out and be separate.


YC: I guess the question is: Where will it all end and what should we do in the meantime?


ELDER: It’s obvious we cannot do anything about the weather. It is not so obvious that we cannot do anything about man’s deceitful and rebellious heart. We just have to take Christ’s word for that. The way to Hell is broad and wide and many there be that go that way. The relatively few that find the narrow way to salvation is what this current age is all about. We should not be discouraged but we cannot be blind to the truth either. The Father draws people to Christ. Christ draws people to the Father. That is their prime mutual work right now. He has put in the heart of man to seek and desire a Utopia, a paradise, it is a fundamental promise which He will keep for those who are faithful and believe His Word. But all in His time and in His way, according to his plan as revealed in the Book of Books – The Bible. He will not even impose on you the reading and study of this great friend and companion, he will not impose upon us The Holy Spirit who is the tutor and guide into all truth who can teach us in the way of the Book. He will not impose upon us anything, but tries to convince us to receive from Him all good things. Jesus said he did not even pray for the world, let alone impose Himself on it. He knew it could only produce some kind of artificial faith in hearts that remained functionally rebellious and spiteful of God. In fact, He has gone to the opposite extreme. Did He not say He taught in parables for this very reason?


YC: I think I get your point. You mean when Jesus said He taught in parables to hide things from unbelievers so they won’t get the idea of salvation and think they could make a case for being saved when they really did not believe or trust in God?


ELDER: Correct. You got the idea. Jesus does not even impose truth and righteous ideas on believers, because they would use them to circumvent Him and try to enter into salvation by another gate, which in His eyes is the greatest form of robbery. The Truth has to be sought after and received and if it is not, but acquired some other way, it can be dangerous and actually work against salvation. Hence, so many second generation Evangelicals that I referred to already, fleeing in disdain from having Christ hypocritically imposed on them by heavy-handed undiscerning pastors, parents and Church members. The gospel was freely given to me, freely I offer it, but will not fall into the trap of thinking I should devise methods of imposing it on another.


YC: Now that I think of it; I can’t wait ‘til Jesus returns.

ELDER: Well, actually that is the exact point. That’s what we’re supposed to be doing – waiting for the Lord. I join with you in singing out - I can’t wait. But the main job and calling for the Church is exactly that – waiting - which not many care to listen to, and even less, care to heed. With each passing day it becomes more and more a matter of obedience. The trumpet of the archangel will sound and her bridegroom will appear in the clouds. The Bride will be caught up to be with Him in the twinkling of an eye to be with Him forever. Look up the parable of the ten virgins for reason to believe that not everyone will be reckoned by God as the Bride in that moment of the Rapture. But the Bride and the Bridegroom and the Rapture, well, that’s for another session my young friend. I leave you with this thought - The Bride will be found waiting patiently and that doesn’t sound like someone who is imposing righteousness on family, friends or the world. Among other things, she’s waiting for her betrothed husband, who will do that at the determined, appropriate time. Later, my friend.