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Read Introduction to 2 Corinthians

 

10 Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, 11 lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

 

2:10

Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive.

Paul also forgave the person that the Corinthian church forgave. The church needed assurance that they had not offended Paul by forgiving this man.

For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one

Paul reached a point where he forgave the person and was in a state of forgiveness toward him (perfect tense).

for your sakes

Paul will explain this phrase in the next verse. Satan would strategically take advantage of the church if they did not forgive the offender.

in the presence of Christ,

Paul forgives people with transparency before Christ. Christ was a witness to his forgiving the man. He forgave the offender under the scrutiny of Christ. His forgiveness was genuine.

2:11

lest Satan should take advantage [outwit] of us;

To not forgive someone is to make the non-forgiver vulnerable to Satan. The sinner may become discouraged by having no support from anyone in the church.

for we are not ignorant of his devices.

Satan uses non-forgiveness to worm his way into the life of the church. He loves to cause division in the church.

PRINCIPLE:

Satan has a strategy for the local church.

APPLICATION:

Satan has a diabolical strategy against the local church. He can turn good into evil. Either he persuades the church to overlook sin that needs correction or if he fails in that, he seeks to harden Christians against believers who fail. He wants believers to harbor unforgiving spirits. God never expects the church to condone sin, but neither does He want the body of Christ to set itself against people who fail. In either case, Satan will get his foot in the door of the church if leadership gets out of balance. His strategy is to divide and conquer. He even does this over petty and insignificant things. It is wrong not forgive what God has forgiven.

Satan can get the upper hand in the local church. People who lead a revolt against local church leadership are dangerous to the wellbeing of the church. Every church must take this seriously, but with a sense of judgment and balance. Obedience to authority is central to leadership in the local church. As the church follows its leadership, the spiritual health of the church will be robust.

Satan gains victory when believers do not forgive others. Disrupted personal relationships in the local church always blunt the success of the assembly. Lack of forgiveness makes people in the local church vulnerable to Satan (Ro 16:20; 1 Pe 5:8; Eph 4:32). He uses bitter attitudes to cause divisions in the church. He loves to wedge his way between Christians. Satan is a person that exercises great influence over certain people with extraordinary powers.

True forgiveness does not keep an account of injuries (Mt 18:22). It is destructive to the Christian life to carry grievance against other believers. That is a luxury we cannot afford. God will put us on the shelf if we do.

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