Let’s read 1st Corinthians 5:1-5, “It is actually reported that there is sexual intercourse among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already JUDGED (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”

Before we answer your questions, it is vital to see that the local church has a responsibility to JUDGE sin that is occurring among them. Even though a true believer is forgiven of all their sins based on the death of Christ for those sins, they are subject to the discipline of the local church if they are living in UNJUDGED SIN. In this passage we learn a man who was in fellowship was guilty of a heinous sin; he was having sexual relations with his step mother, a sin that was not even mentioned in the heathen world! Yet the believers in the Corinthian church were NOT JUDGING this sin; on the contrary they were actually PROUD instead of being SAD. We aren’t told why they were “puffed up,” but perhaps they took PRIDE in their “tolerance of sin” (as many are today in this ungodly world that promotes tolerance of others, no matter what their lifestyle is). At any rate, the Apostle Paul was indignant and he severely rebuked them for not mourning over this sin and judging it.

Paul goes on in verses 3-5 to tell them exactly what “actions are to be done.” They are to have a special meeting where they are gathered together in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to discipline the offender by putting him out of fellowship. The Lord Jesus spoke of the church’s authority to do this in Matthew chapter 18:15-20 which I will now quote: “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listen to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church, and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, that IF TWO OF YOU AGREE ON EARTH ABOUT ANYTHING THEY ASK, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. FOR WHERE TWO OR THREE HAVE GATHERED TOGETHER IN MY NAME, I AM THERE IN THE MIDST” (NASB). This is “a church meeting for discipline.” The Lord Jesus Himself has given us the authority for this meeting and He has promised to be in our very midst when we are gathered to His name for this purpose. If a sin breaks out in a member of the local church he is to be confronted and if he refuses to repent of that sin, it is the responsibility of the church to JUDGE THAT SIN by excommunicating him from the church. This is a most solemn act, but the Lord Jesus, Who is in our midst, is the One who is leading us to do it and when it is done by His authority heaven itself honors the action that the church has taken. In this act, the church is treating him as one who is living like one who isn’t even saved, which is exactly what Paul says in verse 13 of 1st Corinthians 5, “Put away from yourselves the evil person.” He may truly be saved, but time will tell if he is a true believer.

To answer your main question, the one who is “put out of fellowship” is now “put into Satan’s realm” (for Satan is “the god of this world” and “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one”….2nd Corinthians 4:4 and 1st John 5:19). Yet the goal of the local church is NOT to “get rid of the evildoer, but to see him restored back into fellowship,” thus the hope is that when he is “delivered to Satan” it will result in “the destruction of the flesh.” What does that mean? Some believe it refers to Satan afflicting him with bodily afflictions (like he did to Job in Job 2:1-8). I do not take that view, for I believe “the flesh” speaks of “the sinful nature” that produced the sin that this man was guilty of. The Apostle Paul spoke of this in Romans 7:17-18, “But now, it is no longer I who do it, but SIN THAT DWELLS IN ME. For I know that in me (that is, in MY FLESH) nothing good dwells.” The desired result would be to see this man JUDGING HIS SIN by “JUDGING THE ROOT OF HIS SIN,” the “sinful nature.” If he would do that, the sinful nature’s power would be “destroyed”; that is, it would be annulled. Romans 6:6 speaks to this, “Knowing this, that our old man has been crucified with him (Christ), that the BODY OF SIN MIGHT BE ANNULLED, that we should no longer serve sin” (DARBY version). I would encourage you to read 2nd Corinthians 2:1-11 to see that the church’s act of discipline did have its desired effect, for the man repented of his sin and Paul then exhorts the saints to forgive him and to bring him back into fellowship.

We will close by looking at Paul’s last expression in verse 5, “that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” Again, by being put out of fellowship he was looked upon as a wicked person. But if his being put into Satan’s realm resulted in him repenting and judging “the flesh” (the “sinful nature”), it would be prove he was a truly saved man and this would, as one has said, “assure all that his spirit would be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus, an expression which looks forward to the Judgment Seat of Christ.” I would encourage you to read 1st Corinthians 3:13-15.  (399.1)  (DO)