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Jesus, only person present who was without sin chose to extend forgiveness and restoration to woman rather than judgment and condemnation. There is no better example in all universe of a "spiritual" person than Lord Jesus Christ Himself. We need to follow His example when dealing with moral failure in church and follow apostle Paulís injunction to watch our own hearts lest we fall into temptation.
Paul gets into more detail concerning a specific case in 2 Corinthians when he encourages them to reaffirm their love to brother he had proclaimed judgment on for blatant sexual sin in 1 Corinthians 5.
2 Cor 2: 1 ∂ But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. 2 For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but same which is made sorry by me? 3 And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is joy of you all. 4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know love which I have more abundantly unto you. 5 ∂ But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge you all. 6 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. 7 So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. 8 Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. 9 For to this end also did I write, that I might know proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. 10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in person of Christ; 11 Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
In this portion of scripture we see apostle urging in strongest possible terms that church would restore erring brother and he warns them against a judgmental, unforgiving attitude just as he does in Galatians 6. He even goes so far as to assert that an unspiritual, unforgiving attitude can open door for Satan to wreak havoc against whole church. According to Paul unforgiveness is in itself one of Satanís devices.
Sin in church needs to be dealt with. The way it needs to be dealt with is in spirit of meekness, goal being restoration of person(s) involved, and with a conscious knowledge that none of us is above temptation or possibility of transgression.
copyright 2003 Ray and Sharon Stark
Pastor of Celebration Christian Church http://www.celebratingjesus.org
22 years of pastoral and missionary ministry.