8 Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him. 9 For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things.
Therefore I urge you to reaffirm [establish, confirm] your love to him.
It is not only necessary to forgive and comfort a sinful person (2 Co 2:5-7), but it is important to encourage him with love. Biblical love is not sentiment but does what is right for the other person (Jn 13:34-35; Eph 5:1-2). It is vital for the local church to officially and publicly forgive the offender.
For to this end I also wrote,
Paul’s point in writing to the Corinthian church was that someone in the congregation challenged his apostolic authority. This person made a cutthroat attempt to wrestle authority from the apostle. Therefore, Paul wrote the severe letter after 1 Corinthians and before 2 Corinthians.
that I might put you to the test,
Paul wanted to test the church, whether they would follow through with what was right—both the discipline and the reinstatement of the wrongdoer. If the church carried out the discipline of the rebellious individual, then they would show that they accepted the apostle’s authority. Solidarity is best when it is mutual.
whether you are obedient in all things.
The apostle wanted the Corinthian church to take responsibility for the problem before he got there. They should deal with the issue but handle it with grace. He wished to see whether they would handle the offender with grace.
Forgiveness validates love for others.
There are Christians who gloat over the failure of others. However, we can test the genuineness of our attitudes by how we react to those who spiritually fail. Do we have compassion toward them, or are we censorious toward them? The tendency to censor others is the reason we need to “confirm” our love and forgiveness toward those who fall and repent. This kind of love carries a vitality to it.
The Corinthian church should not only forgive and comfort the rebellious person, but they needed to show love to him (Co 3:12-14). This is genuine love rather than simple mouthing of love. Christian leaders cannot demand that their followers love each other. Both forgiveness and love must come from within.
Offenders have the difficult task of living down what they did. Forgiveness and love encourage them to continue fellowship with God and the church. This will allow them to stage a spiritual comeback. People will be able to have confidence in them again. Paul gave John Mark a second chance (2 Ti 4:11). Mark finished his ministry with success after his dismal failure of leaving the mission field amid the campaign. A saint forgave a saint.