If all the fornicators, adulterers, drunkards, extortioners, and covetous persons which bear the Christian name, were to be publicly excommunicated from the Christian Church, how many, and how awful would the examples be! If however the discipline of the visible Church be so lax that such characters are tolerated in it, they should consider that this is no passport to heaven. In the sight of God they are not members of his Church; their citizenship is not in heaven, and therefore they have no right to expect the heavenly inheritance. It is not under names, creeds, or professions, that men shall be saved at the last day; those alone who were holy, who were here conformed to the image of Christ, shall inherit the kingdom of God. Those who expect it in any other way, or on any other account, will be sadly deceived.
How many, how awful, would such an expulsion be? That is indeed a sobering thought. How many people would be left in the Church if those still living in immorality but claiming His name (not those who do not yet believe, nor claim to) were told they must leave the fellowship of God's people until such time as they had repented of their sins?
The important question for the Church is this: How do we build a holy people, a people dedicated to living in Christ-like discipleship, if some in our midst are intent upon pulling us in the opposite direction through their continual choice of sin? This was a problem that plagued the history of Israel in the Old Testament, and one that is certainly not new for the Church either. Let us pray that those who claim the name of Christ, falsely, will see the folly of their ways, will be convicted by the Holy Spirit, and will repent, for the Church's task in the world is too vital to be diluted by in-name-only Christians.