“For this is why I wrote that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. Anyone whom you forgive, I also forgive. Indeed, what I have forgiven-if I have forgiven anything-has been for your sake in the presence of Christ, so that we would not be outwitted by Satan (for we are not ignorant of his designs). 2 Cor 2:9-11
The subject of the Adversary is always interesting. Scary figure? Evil? Potent or impotent? Ever wonder how this creature fits in the Gospel Plan and narrative? I have and do…
Concerning this scripture reference is there a direct link from testing and forgiveness to the designs of the devil? I don’t know-it doesn’t read like there is or that Paul is trying to line it up that way. But maybe there is a greater principle in the Gospel to consider and be aware of?
The biggest foul we hit is thinking that the battlefield is God v. Lucifer. Good v. Evil. That is so far from the Truth. This One against the other is called Dualism and is an error of the highest order-but it is so easy to fall in to. Why? Because if you are like me, we think in either/or kind of thoughts.
I do. It is hard to think otherwise. We have to train for an alternative way of looking at things. Thankfully the Holy Spirit is there to help us renew our mind and to conform our thinking to the scriptures, the Living Word of God. How did I do it? By asking the question: Where in the Gospel does Satan fit? The plan of the Gospel includes that creature-how then and why?
Looking at limitations there are a couple I have to consider: Not omniscient nor omnipotent nor anything even comparable to the Attributes of God, and; is subject to God as his authority (Job 1 and 2). The creature is a tempter first and foremost (Genesis 3) and a liar. So he leads us to succumb to our sin tendencies. Now to be sure our indwelling sin leans us that way anyway. So it could be said that Satan just takes advantage of what is rolling around in the heart. Therefore, I have come to the conclusion that the Sin that we battle is more potent than the devil-I could be off base a little but now we have a clue to his designs.
So how does this apply to this Scripture reference? In this manner: Corinth has a guy who has committed an act that deserved church discipline of some kind. There is an indicator that this was pretty bad earlier in the chapter. There are also indications that some sort of repentance is occurring. Now the local Church has a decision to make: Forgive…or not. But it is not black and white that way…there is a middle decision to make as well.
1. Shall I not forgive because this person hasn’t suffered enough?
2. Shall I forgive but let him dangle and make him earn his way back into good graces?
3. Shall I forgive and welcome him with tears of forgiveness and acceptance?
The design of the devil is executed in the first and especially the second. Why? Because we have self-righteously assumed the mantle of Judge/Condemner. Key word: Earn his way into my acceptance.
Why is this so easy to write for me? Because I fight this tendency every day. How do I fight it? By remembering the Gospel and that Jesus died for me; took the punishment that I deserve even today. I cannot condemn someone who is just like me…
“How can I judge the ones who fall, when I know in my heart I’m just like them all? I will confess my righteousness, Jesus, must rest in you….” Judge of the Secrets by Devon Kauflin.
Lord God: Thank you for this journaling assignment. I appreciate the ability to get my thoughts down in written format. You reveal my heart and its tendencies so that I can call upon You. The Gospel permeates everything-I want to look through the Lens of your Word in everything I do. AMEN.