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’s good to get a new perspective. Consider this: a believer has slipped into some sort of sin and it’s exposed. How does church leadership respond in an attempt to maintain purity in the Body and encourage holiness in their lives? If it’s 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 brought to light. This godly pain, brought about by exposure, is 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’s meant to bless the Body, not hurt it; it’s meant to bring restoration to the household of faith and this brings honor to Jesus Christ. There’s 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)
Good parents discipline their kids; they are responsible before God to teach them right from wrong in love. It’s no different in the family of God; we sometimes need correction that leads to holiness.
… Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. Ephesians 5:25b-27 NLT