Who is this man? He is probably the same one that Paul told the Corinthian Christians to confront in 1 Corinthians 5. The phrase such a man is the same phrase used in both books to describe the man sinning in an incestuous affair. He was living immorally with his stepmother. Some commentators disagree, and think Paul is speaking of another man all together. They believe this man had sinned by insulting Paul to his face during his "painful visit. But 2 Corinthians 2: If the offense had been something personal towards Paul, we would expect it to be the other way around.
In fact, Paul plainly says he has not grieved me. His first offense was not against Paul. So, it is likely that the such a man was the man Paul said needed to be confronted in 1 Corinthians 5. Not to be too severe: Apparently, the man was put under the church's discipline, even as Paul instructed in 1 Corinthians 5. He received this punishment which was inflicted by the majority. After receiving the punishment, the man apparently repented, but the Corinthian Christians would not receive him back!
Therefore, Paul has to tell them to not be too severe , to consider their punishment sufficient , and to forgive and comfort the man. In 1 Corinthians 5 , Paul sharply rebuked the Corinthian Christians for their casual attitude towards this man and his sin. He commanded them, when you are gathered together Paul was telling them to put the man outside of the spiritual and social protection of the church family until he had repented.
The Corinthian Christians applied the punishment , and apparently the man repented. Now, Paul must tell the Corinthian Christians to lighten up! Forgive and comfort him: They were just as wrong in withholding forgiveness and restoration to the man when he had repented as they were to welcome him with open, approving arms when he was still in sin. The Corinthian Christians found it easy to err on either extreme, either being too lenient or too harsh.
Paul told them to do more than forgive , he also told them to comfort. Comfort takes the soul to heart, and forgets. That is how God forgives, and so should we who are His children. Their harsh stance towards this man had a real danger: Lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. By withholding restoration and forgiveness from the man, they risked ruining him, causing him to be swallowed up with too much sorrow. Sorrow for sin, if it so far exceed, as that thereby we are disabled for the discharge of our duties, it is a sinful sorrow, yea, though it be for sin.
The restoring work of the church towards sinners is just as important as its rebuking work. Trapp cites an extreme example of the failure to restore: 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. Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive.
2 Corinthians 1–5
For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices. Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him: Since the man had responded to the correction and repented, it was time for love and healing. They needed to reaffirm their love to him. That I might put you to the test: Paul wrote strongly in 1 Corinthians 5 , and the Corinthian Christians met the test by doing what Paul said to do.
Now, he puts them to the test again, telling them to show love to the now repentant brother. Paul wanted the Corinthian Christians to be obedient in all things. Would they find it easier to be obedient when it came to being "tough" than when it came to being loving? The offending man had also sinned against Paul in some way, either directly or indirectly. But Paul expects the Corinthian Christians to take the lead in showing the man forgiveness and restoration. Even if the church must treat one as an unbeliever, we must remember how we are to treat unbelievers: There is no inconsistency: If he repents, forgive him.
Lest Satan should take advantage of us: Paul knew this was of special concern, because Satan is looking to take advantage of our mistakes, as a church and as individuals.
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Take advantage the Greek word pleonekteo is used in four other verses in the New Testament 2 Corinthians 7: It has the idea of cheating someone out of something that belongs to them. When we are ignorant of Satan's strategies, he is able to take things from us that belong to us in Jesus, things like peace, joy, fellowship, a sense of forgiveness, and victory. For we are not ignorant of his devices: Their failure to show love to the repentant man could be used as a strategy of Satan. To withhold forgiveness from the repentant is to play into the hands of Satan.
Whenever we fail to comfort those that are moved to a sincere confession of their sin, we play into Satan's hands. Satan has specific devices strategies he uses against us, to take advantage of us. Paul could say that he was not ignorant of Satan's strategies, can we say the same.
Satan's strategy against the man was first of lust, then of hopelessness and despair. Satan's strategy against the church was first the toleration of evil, then of undue severity in punishment. Satan's strategy against Paul was to simply make him so stressed and upset over the Corinthian Christians that he lost peace and was less effective in ministry! Calvin defined these devices as "the artful schemes and tricks of which believers ought to be aware, and will be if they allow the Spirit of God to rule in them. What weak point is he trying to exploit? Where is Satan trying to get a foothold into your life?
Are you ignorant of his devices? Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened to me by the Lord. I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I departed for Macedonia. A door was opened to me by the Lord: Paul was interested in ministering where God was opening doors. The only way our work for God will be blessed is when it is directed service. Where we see a door … opened , we can have faith that God will bless the ministry. I had no rest in my spirit, because I did not find Titus my brother: Even though there was an open door, Paul felt he could not do all that he needed to if he did not have Titus there.
Paul did not regard himself as a one-man show, he knew he needed other people with him and beside him. In 2 Corinthians 2: In 2 Corinthians 7: In between, from 2 Corinthians 2: Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. Paul has been dealing with criticism from the Corinthian Christians, saying he is unreliable and fickle because of his travel plans.
But has been explaining himself, and his reasons for not arriving when he had previously planned.
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But more than anything, he wants the Corinthian Christians to know he is following Jesus Christ as his General. More than any plan he may declare to the Corinthian Christians, Paul's plan is to follow Jesus Christ. Who always leads us in triumph in Christ: Here, Paul takes an image from the Roman world, seeing Jesus as the victorious, conquering general in a triumph parade. A Roman triumph parade was given to successful generals when returning from their conquests.
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Then came the trumpeters. Then were carried the spoils taken from the conquered land … Then came the pictures of the conquered land and models of conquered citadels and ships. There followed the white bull for sacrifice which would be made. Then there walked the captive princes, leaders and generals in chains, shortly to be flung into prison and in all probability almost immediately to be executed.
Then came the lictors bearing their rods, followed by the musicians with their lyres; then the priests swinging their censers with the sweet-smelling incense burning in them. After that came the general himself … finally came the army wearing all their decorations and shouting Io triumphe!
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Their cry of triumph. As the procession moved through the streets, all decorated and garlanded, amid the cheering crowds, it made a tremendous day which might happen only once in a lifetime. He sees Christ marching in triumph throughout the world, and himself in that conquering train. It is a triumph which, Paul is certain, nothing can stop. Paul wanted the Corinthian Christians to realize that he was being led his general, Jesus Christ. It is almost as if he sees Jesus' triumph parade winding its way through the whole Roman Empire, through the entire world.
Diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge: Fragrance, in the form of incense, was common at the Roman triumph parade. In Paul's mind, this fragrance is like the knowledge of God, which people can smell when the triumph parade winds by. No sense remains in the memory like scent. There is nothing we remember more strongly than pleasant smells, except perhaps unpleasant smells. It does not consist so much in what we do, but in our manner of doing it; not so much in our words or deeds, as in an indefinable sweetness, tenderness, courtesy, unselfishness, and desire to please others to their edification.
It is the breath and fragrance of a life hidden with Christ in God, and deriving its aroma from fellowship with Him. Wrap the habits of your soul in the sweet lavender of your Lord's character. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing. To the one we are the aroma of death leading to death, and to the other the aroma of life leading to life. To the one we are the aroma of death to death, and to the other the aroma of life to life: The smell of incense burnt to the gods in a Roman triumph parade would be a great smell to a Roman.
But it would be a bad smell to a captive prisoner of war in the parade, who would soon be executed or sold into slavery. In the same way, the message of the gospel is a message of life to some and a message of condemnation to those who reject it John 3: And who is sufficient for these things? For we are not, as so many, peddling the word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ. Who is sufficient for these things?
Laytham, Brent 2 Corinthians?
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