Sunday Recap: What Do Have I To Do With Judging Outsiders?

That was the question Paul asked in 1 Corinthians 5:12.  In fact, as he talks about the need for the church to deal with a brother persisting in extreme sexual immorality, 3 times (verses 10, 12, 13) he makes the point – our responsibility is to those in the church, NOT OUTSIDE OF IT.

Sunday we reflected on how, contrary to Paul’s statement, Christians often obsess with judging and condemning “outsiders”.  Maybe it is easier to take a distant shot at unbelievers than to deal with the people close to us and risk damaging those relationships. Paul is emphatic: “what do I have to do with judging outsiders….those outside God judges”.

The “outsiders” are those who are not Christians. They have not declared allegiance to Christ and  perhaps had not even learned the will of God.  The behavior is still wrong and Paul says God will judge them. But he also makes a difference between how we treat them and how we treat a brother who persists in sin.

Questions: Doesn’t this teach us something about how we should interact with non-believers? We must teach about sin, but could the “tone” of our teaching be perceived as angry self-righteousness and just push people further from Jesus?  Jesus is our example in all things. How did he deal with outsiders?

We would love to hear your thoughts.



Filed under Judging

3 Responses to Sunday Recap: What Do Have I To Do With Judging Outsiders?

  1. Angela

    This is something I really struggle with. The question that gets me confused is, who is a Christian and who is my brother/sister? Is it someone in my church or is it people I know outside of church who attend other churches and profess to be Christians yet I know they are living in situations that are absolutely out of God’s will? Those I know and love who are committing extreme sexual immorality. I sincerely need help with this one!

    • Jimmy Haynes

      Thanks for the question Angela. As you say, it is quite common that many people who profess to be Christians today blatantly disregard God’s word regarding sexual immorality. His will is pretty straightforward – sex is for marriage. The teaching here, and in the next chapter (1 Corinthians 6:10-11) shows us how God feels about the behavior. (Two additional things about this we should not forget: #1 – its not just sexual immorality, other sin is just as bad; and #2 – God is willing to forgive us if we repent).

      Concerning who is my brother / sister, the “outsiders” in 1 Corinthians 5 are people who are not Christians — my thought is that all Christians are children of God, part of God’s family and therefore, brothers and sisters. Our love for them should cause us to intervene in someway. The case in 1 Corinthians 5, appears to be a brother within their church, they were all worshipping together – Paul’s instructions there are to that church which had ignored the issue. If it is someone outside of the particular church where we worship I believe we are still obligated to make an effort to get them to consider that they are living in disobedience. Galatians 6:1 says, “If a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” Hope this helps.

      For more on this you might be interested in the lesson that prompted this question. It can be found here.

      • Angela

        Thank you for your reply, it was helpful. Our step grandson just “announced” he is in a homosexual relationship. We were not around him a lot as he was growing up and still live a distance from him, but do know they attended a church off and on and profess to be Christian. I have been praying for him fervently. Perhaps that is all I should be doing. Thank you again.

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