The occasion of St. Paul's writing again to the Corinthians, and deferring for the present to come unto them, is here intimated. There was an incestuous person in the church of Corinth, who had married his father's wife; if she were his own natural mother, the sin was most prodigious and unnatural, that the child of her womb should be the husband of her bed; if she were his mother-in-law, it was against the law of reverence, and an heinous sin for the son to uncover the father's nakedness. And it was an aggravation of the sin, that the person committing it was a Christian, a member, and, as some think, a minister of the church of Corinth. St. Paul, in his former epistle, 1Co_5:1 command them to excommunicate this incestuous person, which accordingly they did; and this spiritual physic, applied to the offender, had a good effect upon him; for being punished by the church, he punisheth himself; and being cast out of the church, he casts away his sin.
Happy is it, when the church's censures are so executed as to bring offenders to a sight and sense of their sins, in order to a deep humiliation and thorough reformation.
Now, says the apostle, I determined not to come to you in heaviness; that is, one great reason why I put off my coming amongst you might neither occasion sorrow, nor create heaviness, either to you or myself; for I delight not in censuring and chiding, when I can otherwise avoid it: For if I make you sorry, and myself with you, who is it that can make me glad, but he that is made sorry by me? that is, nothing can make me glad but the reformation of the fallen person.
Where note, That nothing adds so much to the joy and comfort of the ministers of Christ, as their recovery of revolted souls from under the empire and dominion of sin and Satan. We joy with them, and rejoice in God for them; we live as we see any of you stand fast in the Lord, we die as we see others stick fast in their sins.