5 But if anyone has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but all of you to some extent—not to be too severe. 6 This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man,
The person referenced here is the person who assaulted Paul’s character, whom Paul dealt with in the letter written between 1 and 2 Corinthians (2 Co 2:3). It had been at least two years since Paul wrote 1 Corinthians.
But if [assumed true] anyone has caused grief,
The person who “caused grief” to the church and to Paul was a Christian. This is clear from the following verses.
he has not grieved me, but all of you to some extent—not to be too severe.
Paul’s primary issue was not the matter that caused him pain but the grief that it caused in the Corinthian church. The apostle himself was not in the business of personal vindication or retribution. Every Christian leader experiences opposition to what he does. Also, every church undergoes problems because there are carnal Christians who will oppose its ministry.
The local body of Christ’s role is to execute church government in cases of discipline; it is an issue of order in the body of Christ.
This punishment [censure] which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient [emphatic] for such a man,
The Corinthian church’s previous discipline was enough for this man. Paul learned this from Titus, who had reported to Paul about the state of the Corinthian church. Most of the church carried this correction to the individual, but not everyone agreed with the decision. Some evidently wanted to punish this man, which is unbiblical. It is possible to carry discipline too far. It is imperative to exercise mercy toward others (Eph 4:32; Co 3:13). One of the greatest exercises of love is forgiveness.
The point of church discipline is not to punish an offender but to restore him to fellowship.
The goal of discipline is to heal, not to punish. The purpose of church discipline is not to recount the person’s wrong or unduly parade his transgressions before the congregation. It should never be vindictive. Retribution is not a biblical way to handle problem people in the congregation. The goal is to bring them back into fellowship with God and the local church (Mt 18:18-20).