What you think about church membership and discipline says much about how highly you regard the church and her Head, the Lord Jesus Christ. What you think about church membership will reveal more truth about you than the church.
If you desired to be a Marine would you think it unnecessary to attend any classes or go through any training in order to understand and be shaped into a Marine? Would you think their qualifications and standards intolerant? Would you think taking their oath ridiculous?
The church is the highest institution on earth and she is the only one that will last eternally. Christ purchased her to Himself by His own blood. Her King is worthy of all and calls for complete and total allegiance.
Church discipline requires the concept of covenant church membership. Discipline says there is an in and an out, the idea of covenant forms the basis of why one is put out.
The Corinthians are tolerating someone who is in a incestuous, adulterous relationship with their stepmother. Membership is being belittled and discipline is being ignored. How can the Corinthians do this? The answer is pride vv. 2, 6. Pride mixed with spirituality is a most deadly concoction. The Corinthians boasted in their spiritual heritage (1:12, 3:21). They were especially gifted, but loved the more showy gifts. It seems a kind of pride had so grasped them that they blinded themselves to any reminder that they had not yet arrived. Here is a pride that has forgotten we are always sinners in need of grace. It’s the kind of pride that says “nothings wrong” with both eyes closed. They are like the athlete who has been told that if he plays anymore he will cause irreversible and refuses to hear it because of pride.
It is pride that hates the idea of church discipline and membership. Covenant membership means clothing yourself with a garment of humility and inviting others into your lives. It means submitting to others and doing what is best for them. It means your business is their business. Covenant membership glories not in self, but glorifies the Passover Lamb whose sacrifice made us unleavened v.7.