This week’s passage is about discipline in the family of God – church discipline. But what this passage is really about is helping a member of the family who has strayed from God to find their way home.
When someone is caught in sin and refuses to repent, the way home is very, very hard – not just for the person in sin but for the entire church. I think it is so important to remember that the purpose of God in prescribing church discipline – and the purpose of the church in following through with discipline – is love.
Hebrews 12:4-13 “In your struggle against sin… have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? ‘My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him, For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son who he receives.’ It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?”
When we see a sister or brother in Christ trapped in sin, it should grieve our hearts. Sometimes spiritual grief over the sin of another can be so great you literally feel it like a weight in your heart.
Discipline is not inconsistent with love. It is lack of discipline, in fact, that is inconsistent with love. The church is to come together in the name of our Lord Jesus and with the power of our Lord Jesus. They are to come together and do what they know to be the Lord’s will, to do this under his authority and strength.