By David J. Stewart | March 2009

1st Corinthians 5:5, “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.”

Chapter 12 — The Vilest Sinner at the Church of Corinth

       The Apostle Paul, in his first letter to the Church of Corinth, reprimands them for allowing the sin of fornication in the church.  Paul states that fornication is “commonly” reported among them. A literal translation of the TEXTUS RECEPTUS Greek in 1st Corinthians 5:1 reads, “Everywhere it is heard that fornication is among you...” (SOURCE: THE INTERLINEAR BIBLE, Jay P. Green, Sr.; Sovereign Grace Publishers, ISBN: 1-878442-81-3). This carnal church was KNOWN as a house of sin. Yet in 1st Corinthians 3:1 the Apostle Paul called them... BABES IN CHRIST! This is Scriptural proof that salvation cannot be lost.

The Apostle Paul mentions one man in particular in the church, who had taken fornication to the next level, by having immoral relations with his stepmother. Concerning this backslidden man, Paul states in 1st Corinthians 5:5, "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." This man was so sinful that the Apostle Paul asked the church to boot him out, "But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person" (1st Corinthians 5:13). This man was a fornicator, shamelessly living in open sin in the house of God; YET, Paul said that this man's spirit would BE SAVED IN THE DAY OF THE LORD JESUS (i.e., when Jesus returns at the Rapture for the saints). In other words Paul was saying, “Look, this man is living in open sin in the church, and you need to do something about it. If he doesn't repent, boot him out and let the Devil have him, because he is corrupting the church. Although Satan will destroy his flesh, God will save his spirit because he is still a true believer.”

Argue as opponents of Eternal Security may, the Word of God states in no uncertain terms, "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" (1st Corinthians 5:5). This is clear proof that a believer can live like the heathen world, and still go to Heaven. That is not to say that it's acceptable to live in sin, it's certainly not; BUT, as 1st Corinthians 5:5 states, a horribly backslidden believer can be given over "unto Satan for the destruction of the FLESH." Such a person will shed many tears in Heaven, but they will be in Heaven. You can't argue with the Scriptures, some believers do live a life of sin. 1st Corinthians 3:15, "If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire." Many believers will enter into Heaven with nothing to show for their life for God.

In Romans 12:1, the Apostle Paul states, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Paul is asking these BELIEVERS to make a commitment to God. They are ALREADY saved, but they have NOT yielded themselves to God yet. When a baby is born into this world physically, everything is new to him/her. The same is true about being born-again, everything becomes new, a whole new world of understanding is opened (2nd Corinthians 5:17). Now the growing process has begun, and God's Holy Spirit will nurture that believer, through the Word of God and preaching (1st Peter 2:2; Titus 1:3). The fact that the Apostle Paul beseeched (i.e., begged) the believers at Rome to surrender to Christ is further Scriptural evidence that believers do not lose salvation. The believers at Rome were not yielded to God's will for their lives.

The heresy that salvation can be lost attempts to force people to live a righteous life in order to keep their salvation. In sharp contrast, Romans 4:5 simply states, "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." Again, we are saved by HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, i.e., the righteousness of Jesus Christ which is obtained through faith alone in His blood sacrifice. Romans 3:25, "Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God." Notice the words, "through faith in his blood." We are redeemed by the physical, precious blood of Jesus Christ.

Proverb 24:16 states, "For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief." Even the best of Christians stumble and commit sin. We are all sinners incapable of living beyond sin. The Apostle Paul, who is arguably the greatest missionary who ever lived, battled with sin in his life. Romans 7:15,24, "For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" Every honest believer can relate to the words of Paul. This is not to say that any believer has God's permission to sin, we do not. It just means that all believers will be vulnerable to sinful temptation as long as we are in the body of this flesh. Notice in Romans 7:24 that Paul speaks of "the body of this death."

According to 1st Corinthians 5:5, the vilest sinner at the church of Corinth was saved. This is conclusive evidence that a believer cannot lose salvation. If saved, always saved.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” —John 3:16