Friday, 7 August 2020 2 Corinthians 2:1-17
“Anyone you forgive, I also forgive. And what I have forgiven--if there was anything to forgive--I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his devices.” (2 Cor. 2:11)
Apostle Paul wrote this second letter to the Corinthians within one year of his first letter. In his first letter, he had addressed several conditions and problems within the church and was dealing them with strong words to correct the evils in their midst. In today’s reading, Apostle Paul is aiming to comfort those who had repented through his rebukes and corrections in first epistle (Vs.3-11), especially the immoral man who had received a fair share of his punishment by the church.
In the 1st Epistle Apostle Paul is saying to deliver him to Satan (1 Cor.5:5). In 2nd Epistle we can see that he had repented and returned to God. In the Word of God, corrections are given to children of God with only one focus - that they will repent and return to Him. Likewise, in this case also it was effective and he is writing to the church to forgive him lest he should be swallowed up in much sorrow. (Vs. 6-7). The key verse tells us about the requirement of forgiveness and if not, how Satan can take advantage of it. Paul pleads for the church to forgive him and confirm their love to him, because the man had already suffered sufficiently. The purpose of the punishment was to bring him to repentance and it’s done.
Throughout the word of God we can see Satan’s different devices against the children of God - an unforgiving mind is one of the devious schemes. Jesus our Master taught us to forgive others and showed by example while on the cross. While He was teaching the model prayer to His disciples, He taught very specifically that if we do not forgive others, we will also not be forgiven. Or in other words, our prayers will be invalid. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matt.6:14-15;18:35).
How is our response about forgiving others? One fact is that, we may have heard about the mistake of our fellow brother/sister and our view or thoughts about him/her might change based on the things we heard and perceived! Slowly it will be reflected in our approach and later it comes out through words, sometimes even in the presence of others. But in reality, the person might have repented from the wrong doings and disciplined his ways and also received forgiveness from the Heavenly Father Himself. On the contrary, Satan takes advantage of the other person, who didn’t forgive the brother/ sister. “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Matt.7:1-2)
As a child of God, we received forgiveness, not because of any of our good deeds; it’s His great mercy which we received through Jesus Christ our Saviour (1Peter1:18-19). To understand the devices of the enemy we need to be rooted in the Word of God. James tells us to "submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you" (James 4:7-8). Therefore “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no "root of bitterness" springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled…” (Heb.12:14-15). Root out the bitter feelings of unforgiveness –be set free and set others free!
Prayer: Abba Father, thank You for forgiving us through Jesus Christ. Help us to forgive others just the way You taught us. In Jesus name. Amen.