Sunday, 14 June 2015
This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man, 2 Corinthians 2:6
Explaining the source and now the intended correction of the matter which caused such grief, Paul brings up the actions that had been taken based on his epistle. If this is referring to the incident in 1 Corinthians 5 (as it most probably is) concerning a sexually immoral man, he had recommended the following –
“…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.” 1 Corinthians 5:5
It appears the Corinthians took the action as recommended by Paul and it actually provided two intended purposes. The first is obvious. It was to serve punishment upon the offender in hopes of him turning from his immorality. In essence, it was intended to bring him back to a right fellowship with the Lord and the church. Secondly, it was to return purity to the church, both by expelling the impure man as well as to return purity to the hearts of the congregants who had allowed such immorality to occur without any repercussions.
Whether they took Paul’s recommended course of action, or whether they modified it, such as a meeting informing him that this action would take place if he didn’t comply (or whatever else may have occurred), the punishment worked. Because of this, Paul says, “This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man.”
The word translated as “punishment” is only found here in the New Testament. It is not a word which carries a heavy punitive penalty, such an “eternal punishment.” Rather, it is the word epitimia. It means “the fitting (appropriate) response necessary to turn someone in the right direction.” And this is exactly what occurred. A hope of turning this man (and the congregation!) in the right direction was anticipated, and it is what came about. Because the remedy worked, Paul says that it was sufficient.
Life application: The intent of corrective punishment is to correct. The Bible says, “If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons” (Hebrews 12:7, 8). Should you face such chastening, count it as an honor that you are a child of God and a member of His church. This is especially true in today’s world where sexual immorality is so prevalent in the “church” (which is no church at all). Such people prove that they are not children of God through their wicked actions.
Heavenly Father, there is the “church” and then there is the Church. In today’s world, there is an ever-growing gap between the two. The vile immoral actions which are being tolerated and even condoned in the visible church only prove that such people and congregations are not a part of your true Church. Help me to be wise and discerning in where I attend, what I will tolerate, and when to move on from what is a no-church. It is so easy to put friendships and long-standing attendance above Your word. Help me to never make such an error, but to instead place You and Your word as my priority, above all else. Amen.