2 Corinthians 2:5-11

But if anyone has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but all of you to some extent—not to be too severe.

This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man,

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.

Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him.

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.

The statement in verse 5 appears to mean that the evil teaching of the wrong-doer did not grieve Paul only but also the Corinthians; and so he generously disclaimed any intention of charging them with sympathy with the evil. On the contrary he recognizes them as partners, i.e. as having “part” with him in the sorrow.

“In the person of Christ” (v.10), i.e., as Christ’s apostolic representative invested by Him with punitive power. — Williams, page 898.

severe (v.5) = to put a burden on

comfort (v.7) = lit. “to call to one’s side”

swallowed (v.7) = devoured, consumed

test (v.9) = prove, approved

Paul longed to know assuredly, from Titus’ own testimony, whether the Corinthian believers were now “obedient in all things.” To discipline the immoral brother was an important responsibility, but now that he had so heartily repented, did they forgive him? This was no less important—and no less a responsibility. Also, they had accepted Paul’s rebuke of their own permissiveness—his case against them was so unanswerable—but was their attitude toward him now what it should be toward a God-appointed apostle?

He assures them that he has forgiven the repentant backsliders among them for their sakes “in the person of Christ,” i.e., representing Christ. But he did this expecting them to join him, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.”

Satan accomplishes his aims through “wiles” and “devices.” If he cannot defeat us through inducing us to condone evil, he will do so by instilling a self-righteousness that looks down on the fallen brother and refuses to forgive him when restored. — Stam, page 50.

devices (v.11) = schemes, purposes, designs

I believe it is generally thought that the man Paul referred to in these verses who should be forgiven is the one he wrote about in 1 Corinthians 5:1-5.

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife! And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

That man had now repented of his sin, but the members of the church who were slow to punish him were now refusing to stop punishing him.

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