DL Moody, a great evangelist of another generation told the story of an English lady who
confronted him after he said to the congregation to which she belonged: “None in this
congregation will be saved until they stop trying to save themselves.” The lady said, “You … More
Church discipline is not a popular subject and very few churches today really practice it. Too many churches just sweep things under the rug instead of obeying the Scripture by taking care of the situation in love (Ephesians 4:15). In the case of the person referred to in this passage, it seems that the church had disciplined him but now that he had repented they refused to forgive him (vv. 5-6). Paul knows that Satan can and will use this incident to hinder the work of God in the Corinthian church unless it is properly handled. Satan’s first objective is to stop the Gospel from going out (4:4). If he can bring disunity to the church, then he has accomplished his objective.
Paul urges the church to forgive the man and gives three basic reasons for this admonition:
Martin Luther could scarcely bear to pray the Lord’s Prayer because his own father had been so stern that the word father painted a picture of grim terror to him. He used to say, “Spare the rod and spoil the child-yes; but, beside the rod keep an apple, to give the child when he has done well.” Punishment should encourage and not discourage.
Lord, help me to not be a person who just sweeps wrong doing under the rug, but at the same time I want to always exercise love and concern toward the person being confronted.
Now if anyone has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure--not to put it too severely--to all of you. For such a one, this punishment by the majority is enough, so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, so that we would not be outwitted by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his designs.
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II Corinthians 1:1-11Comfort in Suffering
II Corinthians 1:12-14Paul’s Change of Plans
II Corinthians 1:15-24Sparing The Church
II Corinthians 2:1-4Effective Leadership Is Sensitive to Others
II Corinthians 2:5-11Forgiveness For The Sinner
II Corinthians 2:12-17The Triumph of Christ
II Corinthians 3:1-3We May Be The Only Bible Some People Read
II Corinthians 3:4-11The Spirit, Not The Letter
II Corinthians 3:12-18When One Turns to The Lord The Veil is Removed
II Corinthians 4:1-6By God’s Grace I Will Not Quit
II Corinthians 4:7-18Cast Down But Not Conquered
II Corinthians 5:1-9Assurance of The Resurrection
II Corinthians 5:10-13Bringing People to God
II Corinthians 5:14-21Be Reconciled to God