1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:1–2, NKJV)
How we react when a fellow Christian is overtaken by sin can help restore their soul or hinder their repentant return to the Lord. The spiritual Christian is mature in faith and responds with meek, empathetic urgency (a “spirit of gentleness”). Without delay and careful to avoid using self-righteous words and actions, mature Christians recognize their own exposure to sin’s temptations. Ready to bear the burden for the soul captured by sin, this person humbly accepts the task by using the direct and loving correction of reproof, rebuke, and exhortation from God’s word (2 Tim. 2:24-26). Surely this is how we would want others to approach us if we have fallen into sin (Matt. 7:12). Hopefully, this describes how you treat someone “overtaken in a trespass.” If not, consider yourself, make the needed corrections, and then help your brethren when they sin (Matt. 7:3-5).
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. (Galatians 6:1, NKJV)
Whether the topic is politics, social issues, or religion, reasoned discussion is too often drowned out by vitriol and venom in the public square these days. Whatever happened to the time when those with opposing viewpoints could disagree without being disagreeable? I suppose some never learned could. We pray for and long for a return to such dispositions, for any society whose citizens cannot calmly communicate is headed for tension, turmoil, and trouble (Prov. 14:34). The same is true of the Lord’s church. Can you to talk with someone who has fallen away? And if you can, how do you do that? The goal is to “restore” the soul overtaken in sin – any other aim is beneath this worthy objective. Spiritual maturity is essential when approaching a Christian who has fallen into sin. Such maturity will be reflected by the spirit of gentleness used when talking with the sinning saint about his or her sin. Approaching a fallen Christian with an air of disgust or superiority is the height of arrogance, and is sure to fail. Mature (spiritual) Christians remember sin also tempts them. And so, with meek compassion the effort is made to turn a sinner from error and save a soul from death (Jas. 5:19-20). Yes, the “spiritual” disagree with the one overtaken by sin. But, to have a spirit of antagonism only aggravates and hinders the effort to save the lost. Furthermore, to do so is also sin.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit. 13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You. (Psalm 51:10–13, NKJV)
What better way to begin the new year than with a clean heart and renewed spirit? In His great mercy the Lord is ready and willing to cleanse your soul of every stain of sin and restore within you the joy of salvation. Yet this cleansing cannot occur unless you are willing to repent of every sin (Lk. 13:3, 5). Until you are “cut to the heart” by the power of the gospel and compelled to “repent and be baptized” “for the remission of sins” your heart remains defiled, your spirit faltering due to sin (Acts 2:37-38). Now is the day of salvation, now is the time to be converted to Christ (2 Cor. 6:2; Acts 3:19). Now is the time to teach the transgressors there is cleansing and healing in the salvation of the Lord.
1 The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. (Psalm 23:1–3, NKJV)
The Divine Shepherd supplies His sheep with “every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). Every provision for the soul comes from our Shepherd’s loving care. He gives rest to those wearied by sin’s burden, refreshing the soul with heaven’s mercy and forgiveness. He tenderly heals the broken spirit, binding the wounds of sin and replacing despair with hope’s joy; He restores my soul. He is a sure Guide as He leads His sheep away from sin’s danger and shows the righteous paths to walk. His name is honored and His holy purposes confirmed by such righteous care over us. Like David, we depend on the Lord to shepherd us through life’s trials and to save us from sin’s struggles. He alone restores the soul ravaged by sin. Seasons of refreshing from His presence await every soul who comes to Him through faith, repentance and baptism’s conversion (Acts 3:19; 2:38).