Guest Post: How Should The Church React To Sinners? by R.P. Amos


If you would observe a child who says a defiant “no” to their parents, what would you do? There is no one answer. It would depend upon the context of circumstances. There could be at least four different actions that could be best or right.

1. Nothing. If the child were a stranger’s child in a store – while not approving, you would do nothing. This is because you have no authority.

2. Concerned Advice. If it were a child of a relative or close friend – you would take no direct action, but you might feel free to share some training advice to help your friend.

3. Verbal Protest and Promises of Judgment. If it was your child in a public store – you might correct him verbally there and promise consequences when at home in your house.

4. Discipline. If it were your child in your home, you would react quite differently. You would carry out discipline right there for you have full authority in caring for the welfare of your child and family.

This leads us to the subject of people who commit sins of a weighty nature. Sins such as stealing, drunkenness, substance abuse, sexual immorality (including homosexuality according to the Lord’s Word), marital infidelity, unbiblical remarriage, blasphemy against God in word or doctrine, cheating in business (dishonesty) and reviling another’s character with one’s tongue, etc. How are we to react in ways that represent our Lord to those who are doing such? As you search the Scriptures you will see it can be differently. It will require wisdom that understands the circumstances of context.

Four Areas a Christian Might Find Himself in With Those Sinning


Here we learn Christians are not to carry out judgment upon those outside the church. God will do that. We are told that if we couldn’t keep company with the sinners of this world, we would have to go out of this world. What we do bring to the sinful world is a gospel of non-condemnation. Since they are “condemned already” we share the gospel that they can be saved. Saved from their judgment and their sinfulness and so not be condemned forever. This salvation happens by faith in the Savior (God’s Son, Jesus the Christ) who took their judgment for them on the cross and lives as Lord of all.


Here we learn we are to submit to the ordinances of man unless they tell us to personally disobey our Lord. It is possible that something might be right legally but wrong morally. But that legal law that permits sin (such as same sex marriage for example) does not force you to commit such. If it did force you to personally disobey God, you could disobey it like Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego and Daniel did. But by not personally participating in the sinful acts that government might condone and rebuking such acts, we can keep a measure of light before the world. But we are given no authority as the church to punish or force government to conform (though one might appeal). Government broke many laws in the crucifixion of Christ, yet “he opened not His mouth”.


Here we see if one is overtaken in a fault we are to share his burden by attempting in meekness to restore him back to God’s ways. We might share insight from Scripture with him. If they still continue in such where it disgraces the testimony of Christ we are to “have no company with him, that he might be ashamed”. But even as we admonish him, we must not treat him as an enemy.


Here the action takes on a more direct form. We are to “earnestly contend for the faith”. Here you have people publically naming the Name of the Lord Jesus and under the authority of God in His assembly of believers of which they claim fellowship. Here there are elders to guide the assembly in the holiness of God. While we are not to judge those “without” the church, we are taught to “judge them that are within”. The person might have to be excommunicated from the church fellowship and not even to socially eat together until the stained testimony is corrected. We see the Lord Jesus presently correcting, not the world, but the churches (Rev. 2&3) while the saving gospel from future judgment is given to the world. This is the difference of in-house and out-of-house issues. May we know the Lord’s wisdom in His Word so we will know the arena where to be a pacifist and where to be an activist for the Lord.

{Some Scriptures for the truth of reacting differently in the four areas.

AREA 1 – Mark 16:15 / John

3:17,18 / 1Cor. 5:9, 10.

AREA 2 – Rom. 13:1-4 / Exo. 1:15-17 / Daniel 3 & 6 / Acts 5:29 / Eph. 5:7-12 /

1Cor. 5:12a.

AREA 3 – Gal. 6:1, 2 / 2Thess. 3:11-15.

AREA 4 – Jude :3 / 1Cor. 5 /}