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Summary: What is the Christian to do when he encounters an erring, sinful brother?

THE MINISTRY OF RESTORATION

© 2001, Dr. Roy Mason

Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; {each one} looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have {reason for} boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another. For each one shall bear his own load. And let the one who is taught the word share all good things with him who teaches.

GAL 6:1-6 NASB

The absolute truth of the matter is that all men are sinners. The Bible says, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Rom 3:23). John MacArthur reminds us:

Sin is certainly a reality in every Christian’s life. John says, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us … If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” (I Jn 1:8, 10). “For we all stumble in many {ways.}” (James 3:2 (quickview) )

The question is not on the reality of Sin, but rather what are we to do when our brother sins? Sin affects not only the believer himself, but also affects those he loves most. When a man is having an affair, he hurts, not only himself, but an extended circle of people as well – his wife, his children, his friends and even the one with whom he is sinning. At the heart of the matter, sin is a crack in the wall of holiness and purity. Without these two items in our personal lives we are stamped null and void in our usefulness and service to God. This is the penalty of sin in the life of a believer. In my own personal life I have learned the painful result of slipping and sliding into the crevasse of sin.

Sin does not have to be a willful and deliberate rebellion against God. It is often, as the text above indicates a “trespass” (the Greek word paraptoma is used by Paul here), which has the basic idea of stumbling or falling. “Most often the Christian “does not commit the trespass with premeditation but, on the contrary fails to be on his guard or perhaps flirts with a temptation he thinks he can withstand.” Such is certainly the case in many instances in my own personal life. What is the Christian Brother to do when he encounters an erring, sinful brother?

We must LIFT him

As Christian brothers, we have a primary responsibility (as spiritual men) of restoration. Listen again to the instructions of Paul.

Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; (Gal. 6:1a)

When our children were young and they fell down, their greatest, immediate need was to be “lifted up.” Rarely did we say to them, “Get up by yourself” rather we came to their aid, helped them to their feet and embraced them with love and assurance that everything was going to be okay. So it is with our brother when he falls.

Notice that Paul tells us what we are to do this to the person, “even if [he] is caught in any trespass.” This word caught (Gk. Prolambano) has a two-fold application and meaning. It can mean “in front of” or, as it were in the actual sight of all, like the woman brought to Jesus who had been caught in the very act of adultery, or it can mean to be overtaken by the act itself. The later application of the word seems to be what Paul has in mind here simply because he also uses the word trespass (which carries with it the additional idea of slipping or sliding off a slick path).


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