Over a number of weeks, we’ve been examining how the church ought to faithfully deal with sin in its midst. And we’ve looked to Paul’s instructions in 2 Corinthians 2:5–11 to see that there are five stages of successful church discipline and restoration. We’ve learned that where there is harmful sin there must be corporate discipline, which must be carried out until there is genuine repentance. But where there has been genuine repentance there must be both comforting forgiveness and loving reaffirmation.
As a sort of conclusion to this series, I want to ask today: What is the purpose of all of this? I know we’ve spoken about the ultimate purpose—that Christ would be glorified when His people esteem His worthiness so highly that they deal with sin in the church, so that Christ might have the pure Bride that He is worthy of. But Paul speaks specifically of another purpose—especially of forgiving repentant brothers and sisters and welcoming them back into the fellowship of the church. He says, “For indeed what I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, I did it for your sakes in the presence of Christ, so that no advantage would be taken of us by Satan, for we are not ignorant of his schemes.” The purpose of disciplining unrepentant sinners and welcoming and reaffirming repentant ones is: so that we may stand against the schemes of Satan.
Our Enemy, the Master Strategist