It can be a painful thing for the church to have to practice church discipline. Yet, when someone claiming the name of Christ lives in open contradiction to the gospel of Jesus Christ it is time to interviene. The goal of Church discipline is never to kick anyone out, but to restore fellowship.
In 2 Corinthians chapter two, Paul deals vaguely with someone who was under church discipline at Corinth. Paul wisely doesn’t record their name. Instead, he deals with the issue in such a way that the originally intended readers will know who he’s talking about but other readers won’t. Some issues call for discretion. We can guess that perhaps he was addressing the one who was living an immoral lifestyle in 1 Corinthians 5, or perhaps someone who had personally slandered Paul? Whatever the case, it was evident that the church discipline had worked and Paul urged the church to welcome them back in to the fellowship.
What a beautiful thing when a church forgives and embraces a former member who has repented of grievous sin. This is what is supposed to happen. The one who has sinned and repented is welcomed back. The church acknowledges the sin and they also acknowledge the repentance. Through Christ the member is reconciled.
Father, What a beautiful thing it is to forgive those who have sinned against us. We are grateful that even in your discipline there is grace and mercy. We need only to come home and we will find you running while we are a long way off. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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