We previously considered the similarities between discipleship and church discipline. Now we will look at the primary difference between the two — who we discipline. Discipleship begins with people . . .
Church discipline is not a “feel good” sort of thing. Neither the one being disciplined nor the one doing the discipline feels good about it … at least they shouldn’t. But, the purpose of disciplining is not to make people feel good but rather to help them become good … specifically, to become holy as God is holy. . . .
As we noted in the previous post, holiness is God’s objective for the Church which He made possible through the death of Jesus to pay the penalty our sin deserved. Consequently when a member of the Body willfully lives in sin, we must help that person become who God called His people to be — holy.
Why is that so important? . . .
In Christ we stand righteous and holy. But the state of our lives doesn’t always match our standing in Him. As church leaders, we need to help people understand the effects of living contrary to who God called them to be, on themselves and on the church as a whole. If they refuse to listen and learn, sometimes it might require bringing them under church discipline.
As church leaders, we likewise need to approach church discipline from our standing in Christ as His holy people. . . .
Too much can go wrong when exercising church discipline that it doesn’t even make sense to do it without the authority and power of our Lord behind, in, and through it. Further, God specializes in changing hearts. We don’t have power to affect that kind of transformation. We can only warn, exhort, and reprove people, not change hearts.
The Apostle Paul acknowledged this reality when confronting . . .
If we truly believe the Holy Spirit has been given to those who put their trust in Jesus to enable them to live life in a Christ-like, godly manner, then we know how pivotal of a role He must have in church discipline. For church discipline to have God’s intended effect, the Holy Spirit must be at work in the heart of those on the receiving end as well as in those leading the process. . . .