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The danger of exercising church discipline on a fellow believer is the tendency to close our spirits to him and forget about him. This probably would have happened to the immoral man in the Corinthian church had not Paul intervened with some very clear, firm instructions. The man indeed had committed a horrible sin—a sin that was so despicable that even the heathen did not commit it. (See I Corinthians 5.) Action had to be taken to cut off this leaven of hypocrisy from the church fellowship before it corrupted the entire congregation.
Paul ordered that the man be excommunicated and delivered over to Satan for the destruction of his body, but Paul also made a point of staying informed about him because he valued the man’s soul and spirit. Therefore, after a year of being shunned by other believers, Paul discerned that the man had fully repented and could become overcome with grief and bitterness if something was not done quickly to restore him to fellowship with the other believers.