Means of Grace- Church Discipline
Many consider church discipline as one of the ways God blesses His Church. That may sound strange but stay with me. Even though we may not have thought of it this way it is good to get a new perspective. Consider this: a believer has slipped into some sort of sin and it is exposed. How does the church leadership respond in an attempt to maintain purity in the church and encourage holiness in their lives? If it is with grace and truth, always a healthy balance, then the question becomes, “How does a believer respond to church discipline?” It becomes a heart issue.
For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation. There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow. But worldly sorrow, which lacks repentance, results in spiritual death. (2 Corinthians 7:10 NLT)
This shows us that God indeed wants to see repentance and sorrow when our sin is exposed. This pain, brought about by the words spoken by another believer, are used by the Holy Spirit to bring salvation and deliverance from that sin. Church discipline, when done in love, is sanctioned by Christ Himself in Matt. 18:15-20. Here Jesus gives what some churches call the Power of the Keys. He gives his Church, His beloved Bride, the responsibility to maintain unity and reconciliation with steps to correction. It is meant to bless the Body, not hurt it; it is meant to bring restoration to the household of faith and this brings honor to Jesus Christ.
There is no doubt that church discipline is difficult and often hurtful but with the right attitude on both sides Jesus’ words will be upheld:
“… and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. (Matthew 16:18 NLT)