I wrote to 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 to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.” -I Corinthians 5:9-13, NIV
When adultery is discovered in the life of a Christian, it is not the time to make the cheater feel comfortable in the church. This is a time to set boundaries and call them to repentance. The Apostle Paul is absolutely clear on this point in these verses from his first letter to the Corinthians. Certainly, adultery qualifies as sexual immorality after all.
Too often, I notice a push to get the faithful spouse to “forgive” and the church to ignore the elephant in the room–i.e. adultery has taken place (and possibly continues taking place in front of everyone). This is neither loving for the cheater nor the faithful spouse (and family). It minimizes the sin and encourages the cheater to continue down the road to the damnation of his/her soul!
I do not see the Apostle Paul advocating a doormat policy to such sexual sin in his letter. He does not tell the Corinthians to just “forgive and forget.” Nor does he tells the Corinthians to make the church a welcoming place for an unrepentant sinner.
Does this make the Apostle Paul unforgiving? Does it mean he is mean and lacks love for the sinner? Does it mean he is taking the “low ground” by instructing the church to expel the sinner?
He makes a radical move to actually hold Christians (and only Christians) accountable to what they say they believe. In other words, he validates their choices and enforces consequences when they fail to live up their commitments. Does that sound familiar?
I do not see it as unbiblical to divorce a cheating spouse (Mt 19:9). And I consider that the case especially if adultery is ongoing in a professing Christian’s life. The faithful spouse did not hold a gun to the adulterous spouse’s head when they got married professing exclusivity until death. Faithfulness is the bedrock of such a relationship and God decided death was not too harsh of a penalty if a spouse exploded that bedrock (Deut 22:22).
Adultery is serious. It violates the freely chosen covenant between two people. The faithful spouse is enforcing a boundary if he or she chooses to divorce an adulterous spouse. You see, divorce seems to be a merciful alternative to the death penalty. And divorcing an adulterous spouse may be the sort of act that brings spiritual healing to this person as he or she is faced with the consequences of his/her sin.
Being a doormat is not taking the high ground.
Better to be divorce and in Heaven than married and still adulterous in Hell.