This is what God has given me today in His word:
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. (2 Corinthians 2:5-9)
Earlier, in 1 Corinthians, Paul had told them to cast out a man (see: 1 Corinthians 5:1-5) who had committed incest. Now we seem to see that the man is repentant, and that they are to, ‘reaffirm their love for him.’ An obvious thing we can learn from this, is that of teaching for the Church:
If someone sins against God, and doesn’t repent, he’s to be put out of the Church until he repents. That being said, let’s quickly review exactly what Paul says here to see if that’s all we can learn:
- Someone caused someone else pain by sinning.
- This person was punished.
- The person should now be forgiven, for some reason Paul doesn’t actually, as far as I can see, give us (it’s inferred that he repented).
God is so good: no matter how much we sin against Him, and no matter how much pain we cause Him, He will forgive us (see Romans 6 if you think this is an excuse to sin). This is because He sent His very son to die for us; to take our punishment upon Himself, that we may be saved.
We’re really rather like the man who committed incest (possibly minus the incest bit) in that we deserved punishment. We deserved nothing more than to be kicked out of the presence of God. Yet, unlike the man who committed incest, we weren’t ‘handed over to Satan for the destruction of our sinful nature,’ rather, we were handed over to Jesus… With the same result; our sinful nature being destroyed.
This verse sums it all up fairly well:
who has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, (2 Timothy 1:9)
You are Loved!