In 2 Corinthians 2:6-7, we read: “I believe that your united rebuke has been punishment enough for him. Instead of more punishment, what he needs most is your encouragement through your gracious display of forgiveness” (TPT).
The first thing we read in this passage is that we unite together as a body in the rebuke. This is something that we do not see happening a lot in contemporary church bodies. There is a desire to not focus any attention on the impurities, and yet without standing firm against the sins in a faith community, there is sadly an echo of acceptance. There is no confrontation of sin which would bring about open eyes and hopefully repentance. Rather, there is tolerance. The general mantra is love one another, but with a failure to claim the truth and with closing eyes toward sin, we are “loving” a person to hell. Would not a loving person want for everyone to know Jesus? For everyone to have the hope of Jesus? Isn’t that what God desires? That all would be saved and enjoy life eternal with Him? Isn’t that was 2 Peter 3:9 says — that God is patient because He wants no one to perish? The rebuke is necessary. The rebuke is loving. The rebuke as a united front is the best. It means the body of Christ is coming together and standing firm in faithful obedience to the Word of God in harmony. This is the unity of one Spirit that Ephesians 4 references. This is coming into agreement of what God has said.
The second part of today’s passage mentions encouragement through forgiveness. This is another important part of the united rebuke. There should never only be the rebuke. Remember that the wages of sin is death, but God offers us the free gift of salvation through Christ Jesus. We are confronted with our sin. We repent and turn to Christ. We receive forgiveness and the gift of eternal life. Rebuke is never the end. It’s the beginning of reconciliation. The encouragement, the forgiveness, must follow. How many times has it brought to your attention of your shortcomings, and when you acknowledge them, you are left feeling bad? You acknowledge. You repent. You seek forgiveness. But then the other person(s) leave it there. They don’t provide you with encouragement. They don’t tell you that you are forgiven. They continue to remind you of your sins and hold it against you. This judgment does not promote unity, but instead results in separation and bitterness. This is not what Jesus shares with us. When the rebuke is received and repentance happens, the encouragement is a must. The grace, the forgiveness — these things must happen.
We live in such a crazy world. But in this crazy world, we still must rise above and stand for the truth. As Christians, we need to be on a united front. We are on the same team. We are brothers and sisters. We share the same inheritance. We have the same Father. Let us unite together for the Truth. Let us be united together with a bold declaration of God’s Word. With this will come rebuke. Yet when the rebuke comes, we pray for open hearts and repentance for those in need. Let us offer the forgiveness that we too have received. As part of the same family, God’s family, may we rise above the brokenness and bitterness of this world, and offer encouragement to others through forgiveness. May we pour out our grace. May the united rebuke unfold into an enlarged faith family, each with a great testimony to share how God has graciously made all things new.
Lord, we thank You for Your Truth and Your forgiveness. Lord, help us to stand firm on Your Truth, and to love and forgive as You have shown us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen!