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A Brother Who Sins Against You June 23, 2018

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
Tags: , , , ,

Here are my thoughts on Matthew 18:15-20.

Summary: In this passage, Jesus states that since God cares for all believers, He wants to gain any believer who sins against their brother. To that end, the believer who has been offended should adhere to this process (each step is contingent on the failure of the offender to acknowledge their sin after the previous step):

  • pursue the offender and expose their sin to the light
  • have two or three witnesses acknowledge their sin
  • have the whole assembly acknowledge their sin
  • treat the offender as an outcast.

By adhering to this process, the whole assembly acts in accordance with God the Father – and God the Son – who knows whether the offender has been freed from their sin.

Thoughts: In verses 19 and 20, Jesus asserts His presence among those who “gather in my name.” Ryle offers some thoughts on this point:

There is comfort in these words for all who love to meet together for religious purposes. At every assembly for public worship, at every gathering for prayer and praise, at every missionary meeting, at every Bible reading, the King of kings is present, Christ himself attends.

In particular, some believers cite verse 20 when encouraging others to attend prayer meetings. After reading through this passage, though, I wonder if these believers are taking this verse out of context. In particular, it seems that one should connect verse 20 with verse 16, where two or three believers gather to acknowledge the sin of a brother who has offended one of them. In verse 20, Jesus may be asserting that if these believers gather in order to gain the offender, then they know that He supports their efforts. They may not necessarily gain the offender, but they know that He will approve of their words and deeds. Now I may be misinterpreting this verse; perhaps I will be able to query Him on this point in the next life.


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