When The Fallen Are Recovered    

2 Corinthians 2:7-8


     There was a man in the church at Corinth who had taken his father's wife. Apparently, they were living together in an open,commonly known,incestuous relation- ship (I Cor. 5:1). Because he had publicly brought reproach upon the cause of Christ, the Corinthians were commanded to put him out of the church (I Cor. 5:7). After realizing what he had lost by his sin (the blessed fellowship of God's saints), this child of God broke off his incestuous relationship with his father's wife and sought again the fellowship of God's saints. But the Corinthians were unwilling to receive him. They wanted to make him suffer for what he had done. Therefore, Paul wrote to them about this matter in his second epistle to the church at Corinth, urging them to receive again their brother who had been recovered from the snare of satan by the grace of God. In these two verses (II Cor. 2:7-8) Paul told the saints of God how to deal with their fallen, but recovered, brother. And his instructions to them were written for our learning. Here are three things we ought to do for those who have fallen, but have been recovered by the grace of God.

     1. "Forgive him" - What a sweet word this is - "forgive"! Have we not been forgiven much? Then let us forgive much. Have we not been forgiven freely? Then let us forgive freely. Have we not been forgiven for Christ's sake? Then let us forgive our erring brothers and sisters for Christ's sake.

     2. "Comfort him" - What? Shall we immediately comfort a man who has so grievously sinned? Yes, immediately, "lest he be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow." As soon as the erring brother returns, receive him as a brother, assure him of God's grace, the sufficiency of Christ's blood, and your own acceptance of him upon the footing of grace.

     3. "Confirm your love toward him" - Take him by the hand, embrace him to your bosom and say, "Welcome home, brother, we have missed you. I hope you know how much we love you." As the father received the prodigal son,let the church of God always receive her prodigals, with open hearts, without suspicion, for Christ's sake.

     Let that person against whom the offence has been committed be the first to receive again their fallen friends. "Restore such an one in the spirit of meek- ness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted."


Don Fortner