Paul find himself disturbed by the sin in Corinth. Led by the hand of God, the apostle now lovingly turns to rebuke toward his audience. Because our all loving God does anger and cast out His enemies, hypocrites and skeptics within the church should be dealt with in tune with the gospel preached by Christ Himself.
“1 But I determined this within myself, that I would not come again to you in sorrow. 2 For if I make you sorrowful, then who is he who makes me glad but the one who is made sorrowful by me?” (2 Corinthians 2:1-2)
Paul’s desire was to return to Corinth with his heart filled with joy rather than sorrow, fueled by the need for rebuking.
“3 And I wrote this very thing to you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow over those from whom I ought to have joy, having confidence in you all that my joy is the joy of you all.” (2 Corinthians 2:3)
Paul’s hope in his first letter to the Corinthians was that reform would come before his delayed visit, so all would rejoice in the love and unity of Christ. In this, the apostle’s second epistle to the believers in Corinth, Paul shares his disappointment in both his delay and more importantly, the lack of focus among Corinthians.
“4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you, with many tears, not that you should be grieved, but that you might know the love which I have so abundantly for you.” (2 Corinthians 2:4)
Paul expresses his love and sorrow for the Corinthians, not to exploit their grief but to fuel rejoice to God almighty. He mentions his first letter to the Corinthians, in which he rebuked immorality and division. As a loving father should,in his first letter the apostle made certain to target specific issues where the bond made of the blood of Christ had weakened.
Paul’s rebuke would be done in love, according to the will of God.
“5 But if anyone has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but all of you to some extent—not to be too severe. 6 This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man, 7 so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. 8 Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him.” (2 Corinthians 2:5-8)
Paul’s message is clear. Those who offend the Lord might very well offend the deacon. But nowhere is the offense more powerful then the body which surrounds the sinner.
The sinner would be excommunicated, a punishment voted by majority and approved by the apostle. Still Paul’s loving heart calls on everyone in Corinth to forgive the sinner and, as the punishment runs its course, the brother should be restored to the church.
“9 For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. 10 Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, 11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.” (2 Corinthians 2:9-11)
Paul now find it appropriate to test his readers, targeting their obedience toward his commands as appointed leader of the Corinthian church. First he condemned the man mentioned earlier, which the Corinthians acted upon by excommunicating the sinner. Now through forgiveness, Paul instructs the man should be welcomed back if the punishment has indeed had its intended effect.
What can we learn from this loving embrace from Paul? A simple message really. Those who do wring should be punished, then as one’s salvation blossoms, forgiveness followed by love and restoration should flow… Let us pray!
We thank you for your blessings in our lives and for your servant Paul,
We praise you Lord for his wisdom and for his works through this scripture,
We ask you Lord to inspire us to use these verses in our lives
As we grow in you through the teachings of your faithful apostle.
Lord we ask you to strengthen us each day as we endure through battles,
Allow us to praise and love each other through faith in you Jesus,
Shield us from evil through truth, the gospel, salvation and prayer,
Guide us to abide by your word as we spread your gospel to one and all
Becoming examples of faith through our character as we walk the narrow path.
God we pray that you will continue to bless us, to bless our lives and fill us with hope
We ask you Lord to guide our footsteps and lead us to the way everlasting,
Through faith in you Lord we seek salvation and a place with you in heaven
According to your word, your everlasting wisdom and strength.
May your will be done
In our lives, for your life.
We thank you for your love and all you bless us with each day.
This message was written by Daniel St.Pierre