It appears that someone in the church at Corinth had done something that was deserving of discipline by the church body. Whatever the action was, it had caused a great deal of grief in the church. Paul is writing to tell them that the discipline has been sufficient and now it is time for the church to move on and let the healing begin. The church now needs to restore that one to their fellowship and reaffirm their love for him or he could be completely overwhelmed. In every family, whether it be our church or our physical family, there are disagreements, some severe enough to be deserving of corrective action. But once that action has been taken, it is time to restore and reaffirm our love for each other.
1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. — Galatians 6:1 NIV
The restoration is not a favor to the perpetrator, but a necessary step in the forgiving process that brings glory to God. True forgiveness releases all anger and resentment against that person and allows us to enjoy the freedom we have in God’s forgiveness of our sins. It also defeats satan’s schemes since it will keep us from allowing a root of bitterness to grow in us, which will steal our joy.
14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many– Hebrews 12:14-15 NIV
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.—Gal. 6:1-3 (NIV)
When we see some Christian brother or sister that is caught in a sin, we should pray for that person. While we are praying for that person, we should also ask the Holy Spirit to give us the words we need to say to them. We need to ask God to give them a receptive spirit to the words and speak those words in love and offer to help them, if we can. Be sure we are not belittling or harsh in our comments. At the same time, we must be sincere and not back down if we personally know that we are speaking the truth and it is not just hearsay. Correcting our brothers and sisters just might be the hardest thing we are ever asked to do. Why? Because we are not perfect and never will be. We will have to risk rejection and possibly a bad reaction from them. If they respond badly, you may be tempted to react to their actions. Don’t! Do not gossip (or as we Christians love to say, “share”) about the incident or the person. The next thing is to take other witnesses with you.
15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. 16 But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ 17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.–Matt. 18:15-17 (NIV)
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
Everything that was created was created to praise God and give Him glory. But, because of sin, we were in a fallen state and separated from God. All of nature is in a fallen state as well. It has always been God’s plan to restore us and the world to Himself. Nature groans waiting on the return of Jesus to restore it to its original condition. Humanity, however, rebelled against God and began to worship idols. The only thing that would meet the requirements for forgiveness was the sacrifice of blood because the life is in the blood. In the Old Testament, that was a process that was repeated over and over. But when Christ Jesus came in human flesh, it was His obedience that led Him to shed His blood on the cross. Jesus was perfect and His blood was pure, so it satisfied the requirement for redemption for all ages. Now, we are washed in His blood, clothed in His righteousness so that we can approach God without a blemish. No one, absolutely no one can separate us from the love of Christ Jesus.
If it had been possible for us to live a perfect, sinless life, then Jesus would not have had to die on the Cross for our redemption. But God knew that we would fail and come short of perfection. It is no surprise to Him, so He made a way, before the foundations of the earth were laid, for us to be reconciled with Him. A simple, yet very expensive plan. One that we could not purchase for ourselves, so Jesus purchased it for us. Once we have accepted Jesus as our Savior, God’s Holy Spirit comes to live (abide) in us. He is our teacher and guide, but He will not force us to be obedient, it is still our choice, Our flesh wars against doing God’s will and when we give in, we must confess our sins and ask God for His forgiveness. We can do this boldly and without fear of punishment. Because of His great love and mercy, we will find the grace that we need when we need it most. We should fear (respect) God, but we are not to fear (be afraid) of God. Our love for Him should cause us to respect and obey Him. We will fail but God is waiting with open arms to forgive and restore us to Himself.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
When we have one of those days that we can’t seem to find the joy of the Lord, perhaps we need to look into our recent thoughts and actions. Have there been any changes in our attitude toward God and His blessings? Did we take time to thank Him for our salvation or did we just take it for granted? Jesus did not have to die, He chose to die for us. After each prayer, do you take time to thank God for the answer and just give Him praise for Who He is and what He has done and continues to do. If you are not finding joy in this season of joy, perhaps you have moved away from God. He inhabits the praises of His people. He will hear your praises and you will feel His presence. Slip into His arms and find rest, joy, and peace. Not just today, but every day.
In Ephesians 6:4, Paul warns us to “be angry and sin not”. God is big enough to handle all of our anger. But when we become angry with God, we need to be careful how we present that feeling to Him. We are not to be defiant or boastful of our own power. If we allow ourselves to be controlled by the anger rather than us controlling the anger then we get into the area of sin. When we have thoughts about not liking what God is allowing to go on in our lives, we need to present those thoughts to Him. We can’t hide them from Him since He knows our every thought before we do. We have to be honest with ourselves and with God while at the same time showing Him respect for who He is. Instead of shaking our fist at God, we need to fall on our faces before Him and ask Him to give us wisdom to understand why He is allowing us to go through each particular situation. God is not a God of chaos, He has a plan and a reason for allowing things to happen in our lives. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to help us capture all of our rebellious thoughts and bring them under obedience to Christ Jesus. 2 Cor. 10:3-5 NCV When we have done this and repented of our anger, God is always faithful to forgive us, pick us up, wrap His big arms around us and restore us to the family. We must be careful to never, never let satan use quilt to defeat us after God has forgiven us. We must agree with God and forgive ourselves. He still has work for us to do in His Kingdom.
David was chosen by God to rule over His people Israel. God had brought him from the lowly position of shepherd to the highest position in the land. He had watched over and protected David from all of the enemies of Israel and had given him victory after victory. Springtime was when all of the kings went out to war. Whatever David’s reasons were for staying home in the spring we will never know. Instead of going out to lead his army as he should have, he sent the army out to fight while he stayed home living a life of leisure and idleness. As the trite old saying goes, “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop”. David got caught in that trap and fell into sin. His sin led him to adultery and finally to murder. As we are told in the book of James, sin brings death. It brought the death of a marriage, a husband and finally, the death of David’s son. When Nathan confronted David about his sins, David became humble and repentant. God forgave him but there were still the consequences of his sin that he had to face. We must be careful to stay on course and not deviate from what God has called us to do. If we stop and stay idle before the job is finished, we put ourselves in jeopardy. When God shows us our sins, we need to have the same heart David had and react the same way. God is not looking for ways to punish us but to forgive us and restore us.