Excerpted from The Believer’s Conditional Security by Dan Corner, available at http://www.evangelicaloutreach.org (Copyright 2000 Daniel D. Corner)
The following Eternal Security Teachers think that Paul believed one could be sexually immoral and saved at the same time, according to 1 Corinthians 5:
The man who had “his father’s wife”—a terrible sin—didn’t lose his salvation thereby…. (Dave Hunt, The Berean Call, July 1996, p. 3)
In spite of the sin of fornication, Paul still regarded the person as a saved man. (Robert Glen Gromacki, Salvation is Forever, p. 138)
Some have regarded 1 Corinthians 5:5 as the strongest verse in the Bible for once saved, always saved and I would not disagree. (R. T. Kendall, Once Saved, Always Saved (Chicago: Moody Press, 1985), p. 156
In spite of what Dave Hunt, Gromacki and Kendall say, the unnamed man in 1 Corinthians 5, who was sexually immoral, was never identified as a true Christian while sexually immoral! Instead, Paul identified this man by the term wicked in verse 13, which is the same word in the Greek (poneros) found in Mt. 13:49,50 describing those who will be cast into the fiery furnace:
This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth (NIV).
Note: Paul knew the man was wicked based on his sexual immorality, regardless of any past moment of faith. He goes on to say of the same person in 1 Cor. 5:5 (NKJV):
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.
Again, Paul knew that this sexually immoral man wasn’t saved, for the Corinthian congregation was told to hand him over to Satan so his sinful nature (flesh, NKJV) would be destroyed, that his spirit may be saved. If may be saved in 1 Cor. 5:5 means saved at that moment then it must mean the same in 1 Cor. 10:33 where it is also found, but that would be ludicrous:
For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.
Also, the same Greek word translated flesh (sarx) in 1 Cor. 5:5 is also found in Gal. 5:19 and includes fornication (porneia), the very sin the unnamed man of 1 Corinthians 5 was guilty of (v. 1). In light of Gal. 5:19-21, with especially the warning of verse 21 in mind, Paul wanted his flesh, or sinful nature (sarx) destroyed, not his body (soma), so that he could inherit the kingdom of God and not be lost.
Beyond all of this, in the very next chapter, Paul specifically mentioned the sexually immoral, states they are wicked and then says, don’t be deceived, they will not inherit the kingdom of God:
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor 6:9-10)
In spite of this clear teaching from Paul, who knew more about grace than anyone in our day, many remain deceived about the sexually immoral. True grace teaching does not allow the sexually immoral into the kingdom of God. Only the counterfeit grace message, which is a license for immorality, tries to do this!