|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:5-11 The apostle desires them to receive the person who had done wrong, again into their communion; for he was aware of his fault, and much afflicted under his punishment. Even sorrow for sin should not unfit for other duties, and drive to despair. Not only was there danger last Satan should get advantage, by tempting the penitent to hard thoughts of God and religion, and so drive him to despair; but against the churches and the ministers of Christ, by bringing an evil report upon Christians as unforgiving; thus making divisions, and hindering the success of the ministry. In this, as in other things, wisdom is to be used, that the ministry may not be blamed for indulging sin on the one hand, or for too great severity towards sinners on the other hand. Satan has many plans to deceive, and knows how to make a bad use of our mistakes.
Verse 11. - Lest Satan should get an advantage over us; literally, lest we should be overreached by Satan, which would have been the case if our severity had resulted in the desperation of the offender, and not in his deliverance (comp. 1 Corinthians 5:5). We are not ignorant of his devices. So too in Ephesians 6:11 we are told of the "crafty wiles of the devil."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Lest Satan should get an advantage of us,.... Or make gain of us, or we should be circumvented by him; a metaphor taken from covetous persons, who take every occasion, and make use of every advantage to circumvent and deceive persons in trading with them: Satan gets an advantage of the churches, when church discipline is brought into neglect and contempt, or turned into tyranny; or when he can draw off any person from a church, or keep him out of it: wherefore the apostle's argument is, that since the incestuous person had true repentance for his sin, he ought to be forgiven, comforted, and received into the church; lest by too great severity, and a too long continuance of the censure on him, he should be either plunged into despair, or be drawn into a denial of the faith, or into an open scandalous course of wickedness; and so the church entirely lose a member, that might, by the proper use of discipline, have been an useful one, and Satan gain one:
for we are not ignorant of his devices; and cunning stratagems; some of his crafty contrivances and designs are known, though not all of them; and this particularly, that he sometimes transforms himself into an angel of light, and under pretence of showing a just indignation against sin, and keeping up a strict and righteous discipline, destroys souls, ruins churches, and brings religion into contempt. This was one of his devices in former times, that persons who fell into any gross sin after baptism, and a profession of religion, were never to be restored and received into the communion of the church again, let their repentance be ever so sincere. This cruel and inexorable spirit, under the show of strict religion and discipline, is what the apostle here would caution against, as one of the wiles of Satan.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. Literally, "That we may have no advantage gained over us by Satan," namely, by letting one of our members be lost to us through despair, we ourselves furnishing Satan with the weapon, by our repulsive harshness to one now penitent. The loss of a single sinner is a common loss; therefore, in 2Co 2:10, he said, "for your sakes." Paul had "delivered" the offender "to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the Spirit might be saved" (1Co 5:5). Satan sought to destroy the spirit also: to let him do so, would be to give him an advantage, and let him overreach us.
not ignorant of his devices—"Ignorant" and "devices" are words akin in sound and root in Greek: we are not without knowledge of his knowing schemes.
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