1 Corinthians 5:4–5
4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 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 phrase To deliver such a one unto Satan is mysterious and puzzling. Let’s take a look at each aspect of this passage and try and make sense of it. It appears to be an instruction for the church in Corinth to practice church discipline.
This discipline was to happen in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ when the church was gathered together. It was not to be a private matter. It also was done with the authority of an apostle, as Paul stated in verse 3 that he was present in spirit. Paul possessed the power of our Lord Jesus Christ. That gathering of the church in the name of Jesus, with apostolic authority, in the power of Christ, allowed this man to be delivered to Satan. This is probably something a church is not to do today since there are no apostles to grant the authority.
Sin is destructive. Satan is the author of sin. To deliver someone unto Satan perhaps means to let the man go his own way and allow sin to take its natural course in his life. The man’s life may be destroyed, but the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. The day of the Lord Jesus most likely refers to the rapture. This man, though miserable, carnal, and destroyed in the flesh, was apparently a believer and would be raptured.
Was this man, living in sin, to continue fellowshipping with this church? Paul will address that later.