Keep Watch on Yourselves

Galatians 6:1 ESV

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.”

If anyone is caught (overtaken, overwhelmed, conquered, weakened) by a transgression (false step, trespass, a falling away after being close beside the Lord, sin, deviation from the truth, wrongdoing), then… And now this can be taken many different ways, all the way from this was a non-deliberate slip up to this is about someone entrapped (caught) in sin, in wrongdoing, in a deviation from the truth, and everything in between.

But the point is, whether they are enslaved to sin, or they were literally caught in the act of sin, or sin conquered them in a moment of mental lapse in a non-deliberate act of sin, which is still sin, if they are people who profess faith in Jesus Christ, like we do, then this should concern us, and we should desire to help them to a right relationship with Jesus Christ or back into true fellowship with Christ.

Now I believe this should always be done male with male and female with female, unless the two males or the two females are sexually attracted to each other. In that case, someone for whom they have no sexual attraction should be the one to help them back on the right path. Or if it is a married couple, the wife or the husband should be able to confront the one caught in sin with his or her sin, and the one not walking in sin should try to help the other back to walking in holiness and in righteousness or to genuine faith in Jesus Christ to where they are now free from slavery to sin.

Now, if we are going to help a fallen brother or sister in the Lord to being restored back to a right relationship with Jesus Christ, then we have to be in a right relationship with Christ ourselves. We can’t help someone else out of a hole if we are not out of it ourselves. We may know all the right things to say, and we may know the Scriptures to share, but especially if you share the same weakness with the fallen brother or sister, you can’t save a drowning person if you are drowning or were recently drowning yourself.

So, that is why it says here, “You who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness” (mildness, meekness, gentle force, gentle strength which expresses power with reserve, led by the Spirit). And one who is spiritual is one who is listening to Jesus and who is following him in obedience, not necessarily in absolute perfection, but in daily practice.

And to restore is to bring into its proper condition. And the proper condition for all true followers of Jesus Christ is that we are no longer making sin our practice, but now righteousness and obedience to our Lord are what we practice. So if we are going to restore a fallen one, we better be in that right condition, and we better bathe this in much prayer so that we are not tempted to sin, and so that we direct the fallen one to the correct biblical solution for his sin, which is to repent, and then to obey the Lord.

Galatians 6:2-5 ESV

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.”

We who were born into this world in the image of Adam, with sin natures, and who have been delivered from our slavery to sin and forgiven our sins and given new lives in Jesus, which we did not deserve, should be sympathetic towards other Christians who have been tempted to sin, and who fell in a moment of weakness, and toward those who are going through trials in their lives, or who are in need in any way.

Now this does not mean that we sympathize with those who are deliberately, habitually, and premeditatedly sinning against the Lord and other humans, without conscience, and with no compassion towards those they are hurting, and without any desire for true repentance. 1 Corinthians 5 teaches us how we are to deal with unrepentant and blatant sinners in the church. We are not to feel sorry for them. But we, as the church body, are to exercise biblical church discipline in order to bring the person back to God.

So, we don’t coddle people in their sin or tell them it’s okay, that everybody does it. We don’t make excuses for them, telling them we are sure they didn’t mean to do that, for we don’t know their hearts, first of all. But we don’t give professing Christians an “out” so that they don’t feel guilty that they have sinned. They need to feel guilty so that they will repent, and so that they will now follow Jesus in obedience. And I am not saying we should beat them up over it if they already feel guilty.

So, bearing one another’s burdens is not sympathizing with those who are living in deliberate and habitual sin. But it is caring about our brothers and sisters in the Lord, and grieving over those caught in sin, and caring if they are in need or if they are going through times of difficulty. And we should reach out to them in love, and pray for them, and do good to them.

And in all of this we are to be humble servants of the Lord, not arrogant, and not unkind to people. But we should be honest, and we should speak the truth in love, and that is kindness. And we should care enough about people that we will tell them the truth even if they hate us in return, because we want to see them living in victory over sin, loving Jesus, serving others, walking in the ways of the Lord, and being at peace with God.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

The Prayer

Written by David Foster, Carole Bayer Sager,
Alberto Testa and Tony Renis

I pray you’ll be our eyes
And watch us where we go
And help us to be wise
In times when we don’t know

Let this be our prayer
When we lose our way
Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe.

I pray we’ll find your light
And hold it in our hearts
When the stars go out each night
Remind us where you are.

Let this be our prayer
When shadows fill our day
Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace
To a place where we’ll be safe.

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