Q. We are commanded in 1 Cor.: 5: 11 not to associate with Christian brothers who are openly practicing fornication, homosexuality, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, etc. etc. If we, who are trying our best to live a righteousness lifestyle, (not that any of us are truly righteous), pull away from our friends and relatives who are out in “right field”, than how in the world will those back-slidden Christians ever get back on the right path? Somebody has to lead them by example, and if we refuse to associate with them, as the above scripture seems to indicate, who will do it?
A. Paul gave us the answer in 1 Cor. 5:5. “Hand this man over to Satan so the sin nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the Day of the Lord.” By refusing to tolerate certain behavior in our presence we are in effect putting a person out of fellowship, giving Satan access to him or her. The goal is to show the person the importance of gaining victory over the sin nature. The loss of our acceptance will heighten the intensity of the Holy Spirit’s conviction and bring the person to his or her senses. In 2 Cor. 2:6-8 Paul reminded the believers that his instructions had worked and urged them to welcome the sinner back and reaffirm their love for him.
Through out, Paul made it clear that it’s the sin we hate, not the sinner, and that a fellow believer is always welcome in our midst as long as their behavior doesn’t bring shame to the Lord.
Keep in mind that you’re not responsible for another person’s behavior, only for your response to it. People who are saved are saved forever and it’s the Lord’s job to keep them, not ours (2 Cor. 1:21-22). More often than not, we just get in the way by trying to help.