The Christian Anathema
1 Corinthians 16:22
If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.

Let him be Anathema Maran-atha. These words have no very evident connection. Anathema means "accursed." Maran-atha appears to mean, "The Lord is at hand." It can only be regarded as an exclamation. On it see the Expository portion of the Commentary. "Anathema is the Greek term representing the Hebrew cherem, or devoted to destruction, and indicates the excommunication practised in the Christian Church. The early Christians exercised discipline on offending members in lesser or greater forms. The greater is called Anathema. They regarded themselves as distinctly warranted in cutting off members from their body by our Lord's words (Matthew 18:17); and in using for such excision the term 'Anathema,' they appealed to Paul's employment of the word in Galatians 1:8. They regarded the anathema as cutting off a man from the way of salvation; so that unless he received the grace of repentance he would certainly perish. The word is uniformly used in the Septuagint Version as the equivalent of cherem; and it seems reasonable to suppose that where it occurs in the New Testament Scriptures it is to be understood in the deeper sense as relating to the spiritual condition, and not merely to exclusion from Church privileges." Modern anathematizing is chiefly illustrated by the acts of the Roman Catholic Church; the sentiment of modern life is unfavourable to the exercise of Church discipline in any of the Protestant communities.

I. THE PARTIES ST. PAUL ADDRESSED. The Church at Corinth; regarded as a company who made profession of love to Christ, and pledged themselves to live in accordance with Christ's will and example. Those who did not love Christ, or failed to realize the Christly spirit and purity, were not merely inconsistent - they were unfaithful and unworthy; they were even exerting a mischievous influence, as do dead flies in pots of ointment.

II. THE CONDITION IN WHICH SOME PROFESSED MEMBERS MIGHT BE POUND. A condition involving hypocrisy, the sin against which our Lord spoke most severely. So impossible of rectifying and correcting, because so often connected with self deception. Show how such a condition can be tested and discovered. The great test is the life, the practical conduct. The man who has lost the ruling motive of the "constraining love of Christ," will soon tone his conduct and relations with mere self pleasing, and there will be first the pleasurable, then the questionable, and only too possibly these will lead on to the immoral, as in the case referred to at Corinth.

III. THE TREATMENT WHICH UNWORTHY MEMBERS SHOULD RECEIVE. Not excision, as a mere act of judgment; this man can have no right to do to his fellows. But excision as a matter of tender regard for the soul of the sinner; and as a discipline designed to effect his restoration. Final removal from Christian fellowship no Christian Church has power to arrange. Temporary removal may be the best and most hopeful means of arousing conscience and securing penitence. St. Paul gives minute directions in 2 Thessalonians 3:14, 15, "Note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother" (see also 2 Corinthians 2:5-7). - R.T.

Parallel Verses
KJV: If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.

WEB: If any man doesn't love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed. Come, Lord!

The Absence of Love to Christ
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