A member of the church at Corinth was behaving in a very wicked manner. The local church leaders had been unable to deal with the situation. They did not know what to do.
Paul was several hundred miles away from Corinth, but he knew how to deal with this matter. In fact, he had already done it. What the church at Corinth needed most was not powerful words or physical strength. Paul would have needed to be present in Corinth to use those things.
What the church actually needed was the power of Godís Holy Spirit (4:20). Distance is not a problem for the Holy Spirit (John 4:46-53). That was how Paul was able to deal with the matter by prayer. He told the leaders of the church to join in with his prayer. They would agree in prayer, and God would deal with the situation (Matthew 18:19-20).
The manís wrong deeds were so severe that the church leaders should ask God to do something very serious. The aim was to help the man, in fact to save his spirit from hell. The manís spirit was in danger because of the wicked things that he was doing with his body. Only troubles that affected his body would stop his evil behaviour. The leaders would not ask Satan (the devil) to cause those troubles. But they would ask God to allow Satan to do that.
When the troubles happened, the man would have an opportunity to think again about his actions. He would be able to repent, in other words, to change his attitudes and, as a result, his behaviour. 2 Corinthians 2:5-11 seems to show that, in the end, the man chose to repent. So Paul then told the church members that they should forgive him.
Next part: Sin is like yeast (1 Corinthians 5:6-7)
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© 2014, Keith Simons.