No Church Ought to Tolerate Open Offenders
Numbers 5:2-3
Command the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one that has an issue…

No Church ought to tolerate any filthy livers, or unclean persons, or notorious offenders among them (Deuteronomy 23:17; 1 Corinthians 5:1, 2; Ephesians 5:3-5). This truth may be further strengthened by many reasons.

1. For it is a comely thing for the saints of God to do so: that as they differ from heathen men, so they may differ from heathen meetings. Moses teacheth that they ought to put out evil from them, because they are an holy people (Deuteronomy 23:14).

2. For the neglect of this duty, the wrath of God falleth upon the sons of men. He is the God of order, and requireth that all things in the Church be done in order. Hence it is that the apostle saith (Colossians 3:6). And we have sundry examples of this in the people of Israel, who were diversely destroyed because of their sins (1 Corinthians 10:5).

3. We showed before that they were as unclean beasts, and should not be admitted to the fellowship of Christ's sheep which are clean, lest they defile them through their contagion, and tread down with their feet the residue of their pastures. The apostle saith (1 Corinthians 5:6). Sin therefore being infectious, the sinner is not to be tolerated in the assembly of the righteous.Uses:

1. It should minister great matter of much sorrow to every society of Christian men and women, when any of the congregation grow to be thus profane and defiled with the contagion of sin. Is it not a great grief to have any one member of the body cut off? This the apostle teacheth (1 Corinthians 5:2.)

2. It is a cause of great mercy and of a wonderful blessing from God, when such as transgress are resisted and punished. So long as sin is suffered, God is offended, and His wrath is extended over those places and persons. He hath a controversy against those that sin against Him.

3. Every congregation is bound to purge their own body from such excrements and filthiness as annoy it. We must have herein true zeal and godly courage in the cause of God and His truth. We must not stand in fear of the faces of men, though they be never so great and mighty. The censures of the Church must not be like the spider's web, which catcheth flies and gnats, whereas the bigger creatures break from it. This reproveth such as dare not deal with great men, rich men, and mighty men: they are afraid to touch them lest they purchase their displeasure.

4. Is no Church to tolerate any open offenders among them? Then they must use the censure of excommunication as an ordinance of God, not an invention of men; and not only know the nature and use of it, but practise it to the glory of God, and to the good of others. This is it which our Saviour Christ hath left and commanded to be executed among us (Matthew 18:17).

(W. Attersoll.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Command the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one that hath an issue, and whosoever is defiled by the dead:

WEB: "Command the children of Israel that they put out of the camp every leper, and everyone who has an issue, and whoever is unclean by the dead.

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