Forgiveness for the Repentant Sinner:
Read (2 Cor 2:1-11)
The Corinthian church had many flaws. This caused Paul to delay his visit and he wrote a letter to correct them. This letter was regarding the man living in sin out of his love and anguish (1 Cor 5:1-8). Love does not express itself through condemnation. The greatest joy of the servants of God is that their spiritual children are walking in the truth (3 John 3). Paul desired to rejoice in the restoration of the one who had been disciplined. Paul’s loving attitude toward him flows from the comfort he himself has received from the Lord. Doubtless, this harsh letter somehow got lost. How should Christians treat a fellow believer who is backsliding? He should be treated the same way we have been treated by Christ. It is important that church discipline is imposed carefully with much sorrow. It should be done from a desire to bring him to repentance. The repented sinner should be forgiven and restored. Otherwise he may become discouraged and overwhelmed by grief (2 Cor 2:7-8). God’s comforts are designed to be shared. The church is not called to withhold love and forgiveness from repented sinner (Mat 18:15-20). The goal of discipline is to restore people to a healthy relationship with God and other believers. Paul was willing to forgive this man when he was forgiven by the church. Otherwise Satan will take advantage of him by his evil schemes. Correction done out of love will restore relationship and brings unity in the church (2 Cor 2:11). Let us pray that God would create in us a humble and forgiving heart. Pray that God that would help us to have patience and love toward those who are struggling with sin.
Triumph in Christ
Read (2 Cor 2:12-17)
Paul had a deep love and concerned for the Corinthian church. The false teachers influenced the hearts of some Corinthians to turn against Paul. Meanwhile Paul's life was marked by weakness and suffering (11:12-15). This made some to question whether Paul is qualified to be an apostle. Paul wanted to know how they responded to his letter. When Paul came to Troas to preach the gospel, the Lord opened a wide door for him and gave him tremendous opportunities to preach the gospel. But his spirit was restless because he did not hear from Titus about the condition of the Corinthian church (2 Cor 7:5-6). So he went to Macedonia to find Titus. There Paul was encouraged by the report from Titus that the Corinthians accepted his letter and changed their attitude toward him. Paul explains that his suffering actually a sign of his apostleship. This what Paul means when he says that he is led in a :triumphal procession. As we live in submission to God and serve him, we become fragrance of Christ to others even through suffering (2 Cor 2:14-15). We become the life giving fragrance to believers and the fragrance of death to unsaved. There are only two groups of people in the world; those who are saved and those who are lost. Paul here gives the imagery of the Roman general who is marching in a victory parade with two groups of prisoners of war. One group was led to life and other group was led to their death. Our lives will bring fragrance to God and others when we live for Christ. Our job is to focus on Christ and proclaim his gospel. Paul says “Who is sufficient for these things?” Paul's adequacy comes from the Lord (2:16). His ministry was in contrast with false teachers. They preach just for money (2:17). Let us become Christ’s faithful witnesses so that the fragrance of the gospel may spread everywhere. Pray for the courage to be Christ's faithful servant. The power that raise Christ from the dead is at work in us to strengthen us in our battle against sin.