2 Corinthians 2:4-11- shows us Gods design and way for His sons and daughters to restore a repentant fellow believer.

If anyone has caused grief, he has not so much grieved me as he has grieved all of you to some extent—not to put it too severely. The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him. Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything. 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 schemes”

I listened to a government leader give a public apology  for a sin they were involved in. As I listened I was reminded of two passages of Scripture, one from Joshua 7 where Joshua confronted Achan who had disobeyed God by stealing and hiding silver under his tent, Joshua confronts him and tells him”confess your sin and glorify God”- hen e confess our sin- God is glorified as we take sides against ourselves and agree with God and calls it hat He calls it. I thought no matter ho walks out of this mans life or refuses to reach out to him- Today he has glorified God through his sin. Secondly i thought of the verse in 2 Corinthians 2- and the responsibility of the followers of Christ- is not to step away from this brother but to step towards him in restoration and in looking at 2 Corinthians 2 God gives us three active steps to take… Consider with me…

The Background;  A believer had sinned and had been put out of the fellowship by believers, as a result of  this love, he repented and in doing so, Paul writes to them and tells them what they are to do. Paul’s goal was not vengeance or to keep the man down but to pick him up, restore him with hope and assurance all was well! He did not want to beat him down but to inspire him, by lifting him up through the deeds of love shown from others. satan will seek to beat and batter people down leading to despair and hopelessness, Christianity is to lift the person up, restoring,  affirming and loving the individual, inspiring them! There is a wonderful glimpse into Paul’s heart, his attitude in verse 5  – Paul was a very hard man to offend as he would not hold a grudge or embrace an offense against him! To be a person that is hard to offend because you wont take or hold an offense against someone is a wonderful thing! To be a person who is difficult to offend! Some people are offended at the slightest thing and eaten up with bitterness, resentment, un-forgiveness, need themselves to repent of their own un-forgiveness and bitterness in order to walk in love, extend love, display love, which forgiveness is an attribute of!

Note, they are not to withdraw from him but to head towards him and Paul list three things that is involved in this restoration and restoring of this brother or sister,



  1. FORGIVE THEM – The believers Responsibility in Restoring a repentant brother begins with forgiving him- He is to be pardoned. The LORD uses Paul to convey instructions and the message from heaven… is Forgive him! Forgiveness is an attribute of Godliness! It keeps from bitterness, resentment, self-pity, vengeance, hatred all which are unloving attitudes which need to be repented of! Forgiveness is to show mercy for you yourself are the RECIPIENT of God’s mercy through His forgiveness of you! Forgiveness shows a lack of self pity and a genuine loving concern for the welfare of the other person. it is Christlike! Forgiveness is an exercise of the Power of Love, while today people see it as a a sign of weakness. On The Cross, Jesus said “father forgive them…” Stephen while been stoned was concerned with the Forgiveness of those who stoned him… Joseph illustrates forgiveness towards his brothers who betrayed them by providing lovingly for them in their time of need.Paul was concerned with his  enemies, that the charge not be held against them!

“Instead of aphiemi, the customary word in the Gospels for forgiveness, Paul uses charizomai, which means to “give freely” and so to forgive on the basis of one’s gracious attitude toward a person (Louw and Nida 1988-1989:40.10). God’s gracious attitude toward us in the person of his Son is surely in the background here. It is likely that the man is becoming discouraged by the church’s continuance of the discipline. What is needed at this point is for the Corinthians to stop the punishment and to “encourage” (rather than the NIV comfort; see the note)- {Cyril Barber IVP NT Commentaries}.

“Scripture gives at least 75 word pictures of forgiveness. Here are a few. To forgive is to turn the key, open the cell door and let the prisoner walk free. To forgive is to write in large letters across a debt, “Nothing Owed.” To forgive is to pound the gavel in a courtroom and declare not guilty. To forgive is to shoot an arrow so high and so far that it can never be found. To forgive is to take out the garbage and dispose of it, leaving the house fresh and clean. To forgive is to loose the anchor and set the ship to sail. To forgive is to grant a full pardon to a condemned and sentenced criminal. To forgive is to loosen a strangle hold on a wrestling opponent. To forgive is to sandblast a wall of graffiti, leaving it looking brand new and no memory left of what was there. To forgive is to smash a clay pot into a thousand small pieces so that it can never be reassembled. Forgiveness is a marvelous virtuous liberating, loving attitude and act…So, we forgive because God forbids anger and He forbids hate and He forbids attitudes of vengeance. We forgive because He has forgiven the one who most offended Him and cannot we forgive the one who offends us? And we forgive because it is godlike and we’re His children.”- {Mac Arthur}

  1. COMFORTING them – There is a judicial forgiveness which is hard, that leaves the person always conscious of their past sin and failure due to the fact their is no warm embrace back into the fold, as it were. But to embrace the person and comfort them is a sign of loving assurance all is well! To comfort, ENCOURAGE the repentant person with the assurance that they are pardoned, restored, and there is this new beginning. Like a broken bone that is now reset and together with the rest of the body can function as one again. The person must be reassured that they are accepted wholly, totally, completely, lovingly so!
  2. REAFFIRMING YOUR LOVE for him. Again the believers are to move towards this man and reaffirm their love for him. It is a selfless, serving love, preferring the other person sacrificially, seeking their highest good and spiritual welfare!

The word, “REAFFIRM” is a technical word. It is a term to legally ratify something. it means to make a FORMAL CONCLUSION, a matter  of CERTAINTY. And often was made PUBLICLY known through an announcement! ”

The verb “to reaffirm” (kyrosai) means “to confirm” or “ratify.” It was commonly used in Paul’s day of a will, treaty, law, decree, bill of sale or other legal document coming into force (Behm 1965:1098-99). Paul is probably thinking of a public reinstatement as a means of reassuring him of the congregation’s love.”- Cyril Barber IVP NT commentaries.}

in v 6 there was a PUBLIC discipline made known, now there is to be a formal  announcement, the certainty of Forgiveness, Love reaffirmed,  the concluding of the matter that the repentant brother is restored- all is well!! “LOVE” is what we are to be known by ,”By this ALL men will know You are MY disciples by Your…”…”social meals, ? fellowship suppers? No by your LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER!”-{John 13:34-35}. And Forgiveness is an attitude and act of loving. Forgiveness is Godlike, and it is a TESTIMONY that we belong to the LORD Jesus Christ!

Literally, “to ratify towards him, love”.- The word used in Gal 3:15.


WHY Do the above?


Paul gives Two Reasons;

  1. “lest he have sorrow upon sorrow”...” lest he be overcome with excessive sorrow”- With a failure to  forgive, comfort and reaffirm their love – they risk  causing the repentant brother to have sorrow on top of sorrow, he knew he had sinned. He knew he had sinned against God, and the believers and what he did not need anymore was to be outside their fellowship- but to be embraced and to know he was loved lest his sorrow be compounded. Some people find it easier to REBUKE  than RESTORE! Both are needed and both must come from a heart of love for the individual and the LORD! “Let ALL that you DO, be DONE in Love.”-{1 Cor 16:14}


  1. “lest satan have an advantage.”– the evil one would have an advantage through causing more sorrow in this mans life if Gods people did not  chose to forgive, comfort and reaffirm their love for him, for he would compound his sorrow and the accusations  towards his already smitten conscience, and  where believers do not forgive, comfort and re affirm their love for the repentant one- satan has an advantage. One of  satan’s scheme {2:11}, is to drive the person to despair! Also Divisions within the body of believers, where believers with-hold forgiveness, comfort and the reaffirming of love through PRIDE!  Self Righteousness. Pride that they are “better” than the offender! Or to be “Condemning and critical,” devoid of mercy!  Some “schemes” to be aware of are his seeking to drive a person to Despair,  creates Division, the tempting to Un-forgiveness, are several of his wicked, evil “schemes” that he uses to seek to Divide the believers! 

One of satan’s SCHEME IS…“…BY PERSUADING A CHURCH TO MAKE ITS FORGIVENESS A FORMALITY, NOT A FULL RESTORATION. Too often tills grave mistake is made: the offender is formally restored to membership, but he is not really taken back into the love and trust of the brethren, and he receives no signs of restored confidence and no help back to goodness. He is a blighted man, and it seems to him that his slip or fall can never really be forgotten, never really be wiped out, and therefore he must hang down his head among the brethren to his dying day. The Church’s forgiveness and restoration must be like God’s, a help to the erring one towards realizing the glorious completeness of God’s forgivings, … and restorings. For he casts our sins behind his back, and into the depths of the sea. “As the punishment of man is representative of the punishment and wrath of God, so the absolution of man is representative of the forgiveness of God.” Impress, in conclusion, the extreme painfulness of the possibility that, in regard to her discipline, the Christian Church may be out-manoeuvred by Satan, and come really to do his work. “- R.T.-{Pulpet Commentary}


Note- the evil one wants Gods people to Turn away form the repentant, and wants to turn them inward. God’s design is to turn His people towards the repentant, with forgiveness, comfort/encouragement and reaffirming with love as His way to thwart the evil “schemes” of satan!”

How caring of God to be concerned for the repentant and to instruct the offended to be like Him and reach out. The Lord Jesus did not turn away from the sinners as He headed towards them. I am reminded of Galatians 6 concerning those who are spiritual that they are to “restore” with “gentleness” keeping an  eye on their own fragile lives…


“Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything.” The test we are told in the next verse is that they “FORGIVE!” Yes the brother had sinned, now they MUST NOT sin by refusing to  FORGIVE, COMFORT and REAFFIRM their LOVE for him! Neither must you nor I! We too, if we are not the one in need of restoration are being TESTED by our RESPONSE, ATTITUDE AND ACTIONS towards the Offending person!  To confront sin, and seek to restore the sinning person and to freely, graciously pardon, forgive them, comfort/ encourage them that all is well and reaffirm your love, selflessly seeking to serve them for their highest good, spiritual well being out of love for Christ your motivation!