If Any Have Caused Grief

2Corinthians 2:5-7 But if any have caused grief, he has not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise you ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.

‘But if any have caused grief, he has not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all.’ If anyone has caused grief he has not grieved me [Paul] as much as he has caused pain to you (Corinth congregation]. It would not be fair for me to charge all of you with the blame of the few who have gone astray.

‘Sufficient to such a man is this punishment’ – this refers to the fornicator of 1Corinthians 5:1-13 who had his punishment inflicted by the congregation. This had brought him to repentance, and the people, like those of most congregations, were not so willing to forgive him and receive him back. Paul now writes the second letter instructing them to forgive him and to confirm their love to him, lest he should be overwhelmed by too much sorrow (2Cor. 2:6-8).

‘Punishment’ [Greek: epitimia] censure. The word really means full rights and privileges. The punishment consisted of taking away these rights and privileges which he had in the congregational group (1Cor. 5:1-13).

‘Many’ – the majority. This suggests that some in the Corinth congregation, perhaps relatives did not take part in such punishment.

‘Lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.’ The specific man had already suffered sufficiently. The purpose of the punishment was to bring him to repentance. This had been accomplished and now there was danger of him destroying his life if other believers would not forgive him. This example cannot be used as an example to anyone who chooses to remain in sin and then demands that everyone forgives him but there is no repentance. Without repentance, there can be no forgiveness. Most people, when caught in a sinful act, will demand forgiveness but mostly with the intent to stay in sin. One of the modern fallacies is that men are not required to seek the Lord; that they are not required to repent, pray, call upon God, confess, or do anything else besides belief in order to be saved from sin. The truth is that all these terms are used many times in Scripture to tell people what they must do to find God, as in the following: [1] Seek (Isaiah 55:6; Deut. 4:29; 1Chron. 16:11; 28:9; 2Chron. 7:14; 15:2; Amos 5:6; Matt. 6:33; Acts 15:17; 17:27; Heb. 11:6); [2] Repent (Matt. 3:2; 4:17; Mark 1:15; 6:12; Luke 13:1-5; Acts 2:38; 3:19; 17:30; 26:20; 2Cor. 7:8; Rev. 2:5, 16); [3] Call upon God (Isa. 55:6; Joel 2:32; Zeph. 3:9; Acts 2:21; Rom. 10:9-14); [4] Confess (Prov. 28:13; Matt. 3:6; Mark 1:5; Rom. 10:9-10; 1Jn. 1:9); [5] Pray (2Chron. 7:14; Luke 18:10-14; Acts 8:22); [6] Humble self (2Chron. 7:14; Matt. 18:3-4; 23:12; Luke 14:14; Jas. 4:10); [7] Hear (Matt. 10:14; 11:15; 13:13-15; John 12:47; Rom. 10:9-14); [8] Obey (Rom. 2:4-8; Gal. 3:1; 5:7; 2Thess. 1:8; Heb. 5:9; 1Pet. 4:17). When one truly believes it means that he does these and all the other things required by the gospel (Rom. 10:9-10).

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