Judging those outside the church

” I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people–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. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.” –1 Corinthians 5:9-10

Christians are called to live a certain standard, and only they have committed to that standard. The rest of the world has not. God spends a lot of time talking about immorality within Israel through the prophets, not so much outside Israel, because Israel had a covenant with God. Guess what? When you make a commitment, you are taking on expectations. You are choosing to be interdependent with other people and giving up some of your independence voluntarily. This verse is clearly talking about Christians who choose to take the name and have faith on their own terms, yet still be a part of community.

What I love about this verse, though, is how it clearly says NOT to judge those outside our community by our standards. Further, we are to associate with people of this world. At least in the United States, we make the mistake of thinking this was at some point a theocracy, like Israel. In other words, we equate this country with Israel in such a way as to claim it to be a Christian nation with God as it’s head, as if the entire country has a covenant with God like Israel did, and therefore that we should be able to judge people the same way the prophets did. If the world can’t see the light of Christ in our lives, what exactly is judging people supposed to accomplish?