Question: Please explain 1 Corinthians 5: 3-5.
Answer: 1 Corinthians 5: 3-5: “For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 5: 1, 2 reproves the Corinthian church for not judging one of their members who was guilty of committing fornication with his father’s wife. Because Paul was an Apostle, and therefore a special representative of the Lord, he was able to judge the evil-doer and to charge the Ecclesia at Corinth to deliver him “unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh.” In other words, the Ecclesia was to withdraw their fellowship from the brother, which put him into unfavorable circumstances – being out of harmony with the Lord, with His special representative and with the Ecclesia. As a result of these unfavorable circumstances, that brother doubtless suffered from persecuting persons. The passage clearly implies that through his unfavorable circumstances he fell into the clutches of Satan, for the destruction of the flesh, the purpose being to deliver his new creature. That purpose seems to have been accomplished, as we read in 2 Corinthians 2: 5-11. Though this erring brother lost his crown, his opportunity to be of the Little Flock, he will be a member of the Great Company, the secondary spiritual class. Another example, without the details of 1 Corinthians 5: 3-5, is given in 1 Timothy 1: 19, 20.
Crown-losers throughout the Gospel Age, especially during the Epiphany, when the Great Company became a class, have had similar experiences. Their delivery to Satan not only implies their being disfellowshipped by the brethren, but God temporarily abandons them, and lets Satan buffet them, until their fleshly minds are destroyed. This delivers the new creature, the holy spirit, from the bondage of sin, selfishness, worldliness and error. Satan fills their minds with more or less error, making them busy with false religious work, building false religious sects, etc. He deceives them into believing they will accomplish great works, win great numbers, gain great favor, etc., but the result is great disappointments, troubles, losses, frustrations and failures (Psalm 107: 12) (Matthew 7: 21-23, 26, 27). With some, Satan gets them to plunge into some selfish and worldly ambition, such as gaining wealth, position, fame, influence, pleasure, office, etc.; but here again he leads them into great disappointments, troubles, losses, frustrations and failures (1 Corinthians 3: 12, 13, 15), wrecking their ambitions. And with others, Satan dangles the allurements of the pleasures and profits of sin, with the same untoward results.