Question: 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 says we should not judge those outside the church. Aren’t we judging them by assuming they need to be witnessed to?
Answer: The passage at hand was to address effectively the openly and defiantly erring church member. Although all thoughts, words, and deeds of all men are judged by God for He is the One that approves or condemns according to His justice (Genesis 18:25; Psalm 50:6; Acts 10:42), the church has the authority to discipline and correct its erring members. Paul explained that he had no authority or jurisdiction over those that are outside the church. His instruction here was only for the church members. And he addressed himself only to “them that are within.”
The apostle Paul wrote: “11 But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person. 12 For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? 13 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person” (1 Corinthians 5:11-13).
Paul, in verse 11, is specifically identifying the “sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner.” This person is publicly living the life of a sinner by his actions. Thus, his actions, has already judged him.
The apostle taught that the believers are prohibited from having social meals (Gal. 2:12) as well as the Lord’s Supper with the member that is living in open sin. Believers should do nothing that would give the non-believers outside the church an excuse to believe that defiant sinner of God’s law is considered a Christian brother in good standing (2 John 10, 11).
The bar of purity should be set high because the enemies of Christianity are ever ready to accuse the church members of different kinds of sins. And if it became known that Christians tolerated in their company the sinners, those charges would be considered valid. Therefore, it is important to separate from the unrepentant sinner and let it be seen that the believers don’t support his wickedness.
In His service,