Monday, October 23, 2017, 1:22 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Broken and Contrite.” Speak, Lord, Your words to my heart. I read Galatians 6 (quoting select vv. NIV).
Caught in a Sin (vv. 1-2)
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. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
When we believe in Jesus Christ with genuine saving faith, we not only enter into an intimate relationship with Almighty God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – but we become members, one with another, of his body, his church. As mutual parts of the body of Christ, we, thus, have a responsibility to care for one another, not just physically, but spiritually, for we are all now one family. So, when a brother or a sister in Christ is overtaken (overcome, defeated) by sin, in the sense that he or she falls away from their pure devotion to Christ, after being close by him in a sincere walk of faith, we who are living and walking according to the Spirit should restore them. Yet, in most cases, this should be done male with male and female with female.
So, what does it mean to restore them? How is this done? Well, the word translated as “restore” can be a medical term for setting dislocated limbs. And, this process is extremely painful, after which the area which was dislocated is put in a splint to immobilize it so that it can heal. The whole purpose of this process is to put what is dislocated (out of place) back into its proper position. So, spiritually speaking, this is not a mere pat on the back or a gentle encouragement to not continue in the sin, but this is real help (counsel, correction) to put the person back into fellowship with his or her Lord and walking in the Spirit and not according to the flesh. Of course, this requires the full participation and cooperation of the one being restored.
Let’s say that this brother or sister in Christ was involved in an extramarital affair. So, if we are going to restore this person, first of all he or she must be willing to stop the affair and to be put back into a proper working relationship with God and with his or her spouse and with the body of Christ. This may involve public confession of sin, a change of job, moving to another location, even changing church congregations, if both parties to the affair are part of the same fellowship. It may also involve restricted internet use, getting off of Facebook, or whatever it takes to get what is out of place, spiritually speaking, back into place. And, then the person must also work on restoring his or her relationship with his or her spouse, by now pursuing his or her spouse in place of that someone else, but the spouse must also be willing to participate in this process, as well, and some of them won’t.
So, if we are to restore this person, not only must we be walking according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, but we must do so with meekness, i.e. with gentle strength. Meekness is not synonymous for weakness. Jesus was meek, but he was not weak. When he needed to be forceful and strong in his words, he was, but he was always loving. So, this does not mean we go easy on the person, but that we help him or her in a manner which is truly loving, as God loves us. We must also be humble, and guarded, recognizing our own capability of falling into sin, and we must make certain we take proper precautionary measures, exercising full wisdom, so that, in the course of trying to help someone else, we do not fall.
Testing Our Actions (vv. 3-6)
If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load. Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.
Pride (arrogance, conceit) comes before a fall. Especially if we are going to be engaged in helping to restore another, we must make certain that we are fully aware of our own propensity to fall into temptation to sin. It is not a sin, though, to be confident in our walks of faith, but let that assurance be based in God’s strength, and not in our own, lest we become overconfident and be overcome by sin ourselves. We must not ever think we can handle a situation or that we won’t ever do such and such as someone else did, and thus walk right into Satan’s trap. We must always put on the armor of God, be guarded in mind and heart, and be prepared for Satan’s attacks so that we are not caught off guard and thus we fall into sin ourselves.
So, it is good for us to test our own thinking, attitudes and actions against the Word of God to make certain that we are walking in truth and that we are not fooling ourselves, thinking we are on solid footing when we are not. Deception is called such for a reason. If we are not fully surrendered to Christ, our hearts and minds daily bathed in his Word, and walking in his ways, but we are regularly consuming the philosophies, attitudes, values and morals of this sinful society in which we live, we may be easily tricked into believing lies and even into rejecting truth. So, it would be good for us to prayerfully examine ourselves to see if we are, indeed, walking in truth.
Sowing and Reaping (vv. 7-10)
Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
To sow is to plant or to establish, which means “to bring into existence; to bring about; to introduce and cause to grow and multiply” (M-W). And, reaping has to do with producing or achieving. So, if we spend our lives self-consumed, devoted to entertaining ourselves incessantly, and dedicated to self-pleasure, we will achieve selfish, self-centered lives which impact no one for Christ and which produce nothing of eternal value. We will come up empty on the day of judgment and will have nothing to show of value for the time we were given on this earth, and thus what we will reap is destruction.
Too many people have bought into the lie which says they can merely pray a prayer after someone to receive Christ, or that they can merely acknowledge Jesus’ existence, and what he did for us in dying for our sins, and that all they have to do is just accept his forgiveness of their sins, and they are saved forever, and are guaranteed heaven as their eternal home, no matter how they live their lives. But, this is not what the scriptures teach. They teach that we reap what we sow. They teach that if we persist in sinful practices, that if we walk in sin, and according to our flesh, that we don’t have eternal life with God, but a fearful expectation of judgment and of fire.
Yet, if we walk according to the Spirit, and do not live to fulfill the lusts of our flesh, and if, by the Spirit, we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live with Christ for eternity, and heaven will be our final resting place. This means that we will be in daily fellowship with our Lord via the reading of his Word, prayer, worship, confession and obedience. And, we will be walking in his ways, and in his truth, and our lives will not be given over to self-pleasure and sinful practices. This is not to say that we will never sin, but that we will not walk in sin. This is also not to say that we will have instantaneously arrived, for this is a lifetime process, but the process is also not to be used as an excuse for continued and willful sinful practices.
So, walk in truth and in righteousness, know what God requires, and then do it, all in the power and strength of God’s Spirit now living within you. And, love others as God loves us, and as we ought to love ourselves.
Broken and Contrite / An Original Work / May 13, 2012
I come before You, Lord, my Savior,
With humble heart and crushed in spirit.
I bow before You, I implore You,
Heal my broken heart, I pray.
Love You, Jesus, Lord, my master,
You are the King of my heart.
Lord, purify my heart within me;
Sanctify me, whole within.
Oh, Lord, I long to obey fully
The words You’ve spoken through Your Spirit.
I pray You give me grace and mercy,
Strength and wisdom to obey.
Father God, my heart’s desire,
Won’t You set my heart on fire?
Lord, cleanse my heart of all that hinders
My walk with You, now I pray.
Oh, Jesus, Savior, full of mercy,
My heart cries out for understanding.
I want to follow You in all ways,
Never straying from Your truth.
Holy Spirit, come in power,
Fill me with Your love today.
Lord, mold and make me;
Your hands formed me;
Live Your life through me, I pray.