August 27 - Sin in the Church
Sin in the church must be dealt with in order to maintain holiness within the Christian assembly. Church discipline must be applied to the sinner. In the case of non-repentant sinner, like the case in the first epistle (1 Corinthians 5), the sinner must be excommunicated. Paul suggested the removal of this sinning brother from the church, delivering that man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh so that his spirit might be saved in the day of the Lord.
Here in the second epistle, Paul was dealing with a sinner in the church except this time, the sinner repented. Church discipline was applied to this person and the sin grieved the whole church, everybody felt the pain. Punishment was applied to that person by the majority and that person was in excessive sorrow. In this case, quite different from the first case, restoration must be given to the repentant sinner.
For those who are repentful, the church must cease the punishment on that person. Punishment is for the sinner to repent and if repentance is evident, the punishment is enough. After stopping the punishment, the congregation also needs to forgive the sin and the sinner. Instead of punishment, others have to show their care and comfort the sinning person. This is to prevent that person from having excessive sorrow and loses hope in the Lord. Love must be reaffirmed to that person so that he can become part of the community again.
Forgiveness and restoration must be part of church discipline or Satan would be able to outwit us. We are not ignorant of his scheme, using unforgiveness to divide and split the church. When there is no clear direction from the church about the discipline and restoration of a sinning person in the church, people would be guessing and speculating about the situation, causing disunity and strife. When people begin to take sides, the sin, like leaven, would spread to the whole lump. The church must confront and handle the sin and the sinner very carefully to stop the devil from further working in the church.
It is common to hear of sin, especially sexual immorality, within the church. Some churches may choose not to reveal it to the congregations involved, some may deal with it without clear guidelines and some may even result in church splits because of inappropriate handling of the matter. Satan is our enemy, not the sinning persons. We are not dealing with the member of the church but with a much greater spiritual force. The church must take a stand against sin and not let sin come into the fellowship. Pray now for the holiness in your church and that Satan would not have an inroad into the assembly. Be vigilant against the scheme of the enemy, live a holy life and take a strong stand against sin.
Ps 94:1-11 Job 23:1-27:23 2 Cor 1:12-2:11 Prov 22:5-6