DELIVER SUCH UNTO SATAN.?

You all know the story. This ‘wonderful’ brother in the church of Corinth was having an affair with his father’s wife… I’m thinking a much younger wife but his step-mum nonetheless. Meanwhile, the sexcapade wasn’t a product of error – a one-time affair; he made a habit of it.

I’ve heard some say the fellow couldn’t have been a Christian. He must have probably been a mere churchgoer. No ‘real Christian’ can stoop so low into such a despicable. Well, I’m afraid he was indeed a Christian.

Just in the first chapter of the book, 1:2, Paul address his audience (the Corinthian Christians) as saints, i.e. holy. In fact, he praises their spiritual fervency in verses 5 to 7. However, just two chapters away (3:1-4), he refers to the same men he praised earlier as folks who behaved as carnal (mere) men. Although they were spirit-filled believers, traits as envying, jealousy and strife manifested in their conducts.

A believer can fall into sin when he fails to allow God’s Word influence his mind and consequently conduct.

Back to our dear brother – I’ll call him Brother Thomas. So Bro. Thomas -a man we were supposed to look up to in the church – was getting his step-mum laid. As if that wasn’t enough, the (Corinthian) church, where he worshipped, was nonchalant about it. In fact, they got arrogant over the matter: After all, unto the pure all things are pure.

You could imagine Paul’s indignation when he heard both of Bro Thomas’ lewd action and the I-don’t-care attitude of the church towards it. So you have such a ‘terrible Christian’ making a habit of fornication among you and turned a blind eye on it? How dare you allow him fellowship with you as if nothing happened and thereby make him feel comfortable with his actions? I’m ashamed of you all!

So Paul passes judgment over unrepentant Bro Thomas…

…to 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

Now, this is where our wild imagination kicks in. Deliver him to Satan? Apostle Paul, sir, do you mean we should seize Bro Thomas, take him to the Temple of Satan downtown and hand him over to Lucifer’s representative there so he can inflict bodily/physical on his body?

Paul would have been baffled by such reasoning. He couldn’t in any way have thought of bringing Satan into the picture. Think about it: A believer sins and we invoke the devil on him. How does that add up? What has Satan got to do with saints, even when it comes to correcting an erring believer?

To deliver such an one unto Satan is a manner of speaking!

To start with, the word Satan in the Greek is the word that means ‘accuser’. A reference to the name connotes accusation hence to deliver a fellow unto Satan will imply delivering (subjecting) him to accusation. That accusation will happen via excommunication!

Notice Paul’s major concern was the fact that they didn’t isolate the brother so he can be ashamed of his act:

…in place of feeling sorrow, you are pleased with yourselves, so that he who has done this thing has not been sent away from among you.

…purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump.

…I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators

…Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person…

He kept harping on the need for them to dissociate themselves from the brother so he won’t be a bad influence on the other believers.

Bro Thomas is being unremorseful/unrepentant. To deliver him to Satan will therefore mean to subject him to accusation by not keeping company (identifying) with him so that he burns with shame to the end that the lustful appetite in him can be destroyed. Hence Paul’s judgement was to serve as a corrective measure.

A believer has no business with Satan. When he sins wilfully, he is to be judged and corrected by the church and not the devil. It’s not unheard of for a believer to fall into an error. However, it’s uncharacteristic of a believer to make a habit of it. When that’s the case, the church will walk in love (correct) towards such via stern reprimanding.

Remember, bro Thomas’ ‘harsh judgment’ of excommunication is not forever. Just because he sinned does not make him rejected by God. God still cares about him and wants him straightened up, hence the correction.

Delivering him to Satan (excommunication) is to make him ashamed and correct him. When the correction is achieved, he is to be restored to the gathering and accepted back with love.

Hear what Paul had to say about Bro Thomas much later:

2Co 2:6 The majority of you have imposed a severe enough punishment on that person.
2Co 2:7 So now forgive and comfort him. Such distress could overwhelm someone like that if he’s not forgiven and comforted.

Forgive him, comfort him and absolve him back into the fold! He is not a meat for the devil. He is a believer regardless.


Image Credits: Psychology Today, Fatherly,

The Believer; His Health; and Commonsense

For a couple of days, George had been feeling a mild pain along the region of his chest cavity. He however didn’t pay much attention to it because he was sure perfect healing was his. You see, George is a young blooming web developer who is never slothful in business but fervent in spirit and serving the Lord.

As the days went by, so did the intensity of the pain grow. Even though his elder brother was a medical doctor, he wouldn’t discuss the matter with him – “I’m free from sicknesses and diseases”, he kept confessing. Truth is he had been on a three-month-long fasting and prayer at the time as he needed to nourish his spirit-man the more. In fact, the plan was to lengthen it by a month – no time for spiritual slackness. Things however got out of hand on a Sunday evening, on his way home from house fellowship. The pain was more than he could bear. He called for help and was rushed to the hospital. Upon conducting a series of test on him, it was discovered that he had chronic ulcer. It had grown worse due to neglect.

When God saved you, He didn’t relieve you of your sense. Use it!

Many believers are like George. They are ‘too spiritual’ to pay attention to their bodies. They forget that there is a place for both the supernatural/spiritual and the natural/commonsensical when it comes to living a healthy life. Many folks have gone to be with the Lord (untimely) because they refused to take matters concerning their health seriously. Yes, they lived a prayerful life, fasted often and even kept making faith confessions. However, little things like resting as at when due was rocket science for them.

There is no doubt that God wants you to live a healthy life
Your sound health is God’s business

The fact that God wants the believer to live well is indubitable – 3John2 clearly affirms that. Perfect health is God’s desire for the man in Christ. God has nothing to gain when he sees his children suffer from sicknesses and diseases. As a matter of fact, scripture tells us that He delights in the prosperity of his servants. Inherent in the term ‘prosperity’ is ‘health’, ‘peace’ and ‘happiness’.

There are folks who believe that God sometimes try the faith (tempt) of his children with sicknesses and calamities. Nothing can be more erroneous than that. God never tempts anyone with evil. Rather, all that comes from him is ‘good’ and ‘perfect’. A believer’s experience of illness can be as a result of different factors. However, it will and can never have nothing to do with God.

Hence, God’s desire for all believers is to be in (perfect) health. Does God’s desire however automatically make the believer immune to sicknesses and diseases? Absolutely not! Although He wants us all to live fine, if we won’t do the needful in the natural, we are bound to battle avoidable health issues all our lives.

The human brain is the home of  Commonsense
God gave you a brain so you can use it for your own good

The believer (and indeed all men) consists of spirit, soul (mind) and body. While his spirit is regenerated (by virtue of salvation) and his mind subject to renewal (with God’s word), his flesh is subject to mortality. The body we have, even as believers, is mortal/imperfect and not a glorified one. Just like every other man, the believer feels beat after working a couple of miles under the scorching tropical sun; he perspires when he sits in a room with poor ventilation; and even breaks down after putting so much stress on his body without taking a break.

You can’t cheat nature you know?

Take the man Epaphroditus as case study (Phil 2: 25-30). He was such a diligent minister of the gospel…labouring ceaselessly in ministry…ever willing and ready to meet the spiritual needs of the sheep under his ministry… He eventually had a nearly fatal sickness. But for the mercies of God, he would have died untimely. The man was so consumed with ministry to the neglect of his body. Nature eventually made its call.

Trophimus is another case in point. The Apostle Paul left him at Miletum sick. I’m sure it wasn’t because God’s power was not available to heal him. The blessed man just needed some well-deserved rest. For him to recuperate he needed to relax and God’s power can’t make that happen.

There you are: You claim God’s promises of/for health and maintain your faith confessions. Yet you live in a mosquito-infested room; you huzzle day and night and barely sleep four hours a day; you shy away from check-up even when you discover medical symptoms in your body; you are generally untidy and filthy; you work in an environment where toxic substances are emitted yet don’t care for a nose guard… You are likely to be hurriedly transited into glory, having died a needless death.

As a believer, do what you have to do to stay healthy
A healthy lifestyle comes with responsibilities

God won’t take responsibility for your inactions

Although God’s power is able to keep our body intact, it’s foolhardiness to presume that, in keeping whole, God will take over our responsibilities. It’s not unbelief to visit the hospital and take medications when the need calls. Doing so does not downplay the influence of the supernatural in the areas of our health neither does it stop us from trusting God for sound health.

Paul counsels Timothy to mix a little wine with the water he drinks because of his frequent sickness. The wine intake was medicinal and not for revelling. There is no doubt Timothy was a man full of power and faith and believed in divine healing. However, as he believed God for and enjoyed divine healing, there were things he needed to do in the natural to keep his (natural) body healthy.

All that God created – including herbs (medicinal plants) – are for the good of men

What’s more, James instructs a sick believer to call for the elders of the church (James 5:14). These men are to pray for him and rob olive oil on him. In the Jewish culture, the (olive) oil and wine are regarded as highly medicinal substances – (see the story of the Good Samaritan). According to James, what will heal the sick man is the prayer of faith. However, the olive oil will also serve its purpose.

When it comes to healing or/and staying healthy, the supernatural and natural are coexistent and not mutually exclusive. While the believer can/should believe God for healing, natural cum commonsensical approaches can serve complementary purposes. All that God created – including herbs (medicinal plants) – are for the good of men who can take advantage of them.

Your body is not supernatural!

Your body is not supernatural but essentially mortal; subject to wear and tear. If you use it well, it will serve you well. While you should not be dependent on natural means for healing as a believer, do the things you ought to do in the natural to stay hale and hearty. Rest as at when due, be mindful of the changes in your body, live a clean lifestyle, eat adequately and healthily, consult the doctor when you should, take medications when prescribed, wear a deodorant if there is need for it, don’t overwork yourself… These things don’t make you less spiritual but make you more relevant, even for spiritual purposes. These things are not rocket science but basic commonsensical issues.

God is concerned about your physical well-being. You however also need to take responsibility for it. While you depend on the supernatural, make common sense your friend.


Image Credits:

news.northwestern.edu

Livehealthyoc

Jesus Cares Ministries


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