As is often the case, I go through a passage/chapter in the bible and back away a little confused about the message being presented there. It took me a few repeated readings and looking at a couple of different bible translations to reach more clarity about the chapter.
Paul is obviously upset over something that had been going on in the church at Corinth. He was upset at what was happening and, I believe, more upset that the Corinthian Christians were not taking action to resolve the transgression. In verse 5, Paul says to hand the sinner over to Satan (whoa, there), but goes on to say that his sinful nature can be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord. I realized, with the help of my bible commentary, that the intent was to exclude the man from the fellowship of believers and, without the support of fellow Christians the man might realize his emptiness and turn to Christ for forgiveness. Now that makes sense.
Paul is calling on the Corinthians (and us) to not ignore sin in our midst but to address the sin and sinner, not condemning but to constructively and lovingly help guide them back to a God-honoring life.
At first glance in this chapter Paul appeared to dealing with just sexual immorality, but he really paints with a much wider brush in verse 11 “…sexually immoral or greedy, idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler”. So, he is calling for us as Christians to recognize these actions in fellow Christians and help to get them back on track and following the Lord’s guidance.
We should also realize when our Christian brothers and sisters initiate the same corrective actions towards us. Now that’s where the rubber meets the road, to recognize when that effort is directed toward us that it is not criticism but loving guidance. Easy to say, not easy to do, but that’s all part of the walk.