I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. (I Corinthians 5:9-10).
The title of this blog post is one that requires a double-take, in order to make sure you read it correctly. It says that Christians can associate with sexually immoral people. We can be friends with adulterers, fornicators, even molesters and abusers. We can talk to them, we can invite them over for supper, we can go golfing with them. There is one catch, however: we can only associate with them as long as they do not claim to be born again believers. If they claim to be believers in Jesus Christ than we cannot associate with them, for they are bringing shame to the name of Christ, and we are helping them do so if we accept them as one of us.
But we are allowed to associate with all sorts of unbelievers, even the worst kinds. We are to be like Jesus, who ate food with tax collectors and sinners. We need to show the world that we are not arrogant, us saved Christians do not see ourselves as better than abusers, thieves, even adulterers and child molesters. Some of us indeed were adulterers and child molesters before we became saved. But the good that we do now, the change in our life, was all done by the power of God. We cannot take any credit for it. Therefore, we need to be willing to befriend people who are the way that we once were. We need to show them that God wants to reach out to them despite their sins. We don’t want them to ignore their sins: we want them to confess their sins and be cleansed from them by the blood of Christ. We hope that they become true believers and live God-honoring lives free of sin.