In 1 Corinthians, Paul wrote some very strong words to the Corinthian church about the sin they were allowing to go on in their church. He expressed anger, disappointment, and strongly warned them of the consequences of not taking the proper action. Then in 2 Corinthians, he tells them to forgive the sinning person who has repented and restore the person to full fellowship.
In 2 Corinthians 7, Paul is full of praise for the Corinthians: I have the highest confidence in you, and my pride in you is great. You have greatly encouraged me; you have made me happy despite all our troubles. (2 Corinthians 7:4 NLT)
Paul confronted the Corinthians for their sin of failing to deal with a severe sin issue in the church. The prescribed action was to put the sinning member out of the church, to be very clear in their decision and united in its implementation. But after a period of disciplining the sinning man, Paul said to forgive him, to restore him to fellowship, to bring him back into the church family (See 2 Corinthians 2:5-11).
An important lesson here is to remember that when God disciplines us, when he confronts our sin and we experience godly sorrow, it's about discipline to bring change rather than punishment to bring judgment. Godly sorrow is about bringing people to repentance so there can be full restoration and fulfillment of God's purpose.
God doesn't discipline us or others to kill us! He disciplines us to teach us, to train us, and to restore us to a purposeful life and rich fellowship with himself and the church.
Father, Please help me always look beyond the admonition and the discipline to the place where full restoration takes place. Help me to be quick to forgive and restore others, and just as quick to receive your grace and forgiveness for myself. Amen!
Reading: 2 Corinthians 7; Proverbs 4
8 I am no longer sorry that I sent that letter to you, though I was sorry for a time, for I know that it was painful to you for a little while. 9 Now I am glad I sent it, not because it hurt you, but because the pain caused you to have remorse and change your ways. It was the kind of sorrow God wants his people to have, so you were not harmed by us in any way. 10 For God can use sorrow in our lives to help us turn away from sin and seek salvation. We will never regret that kind of sorrow. But sorrow without repentance is the kind that results in death. (2 Corinthians 7:8-10 NLT)
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