As long as we are here in this present world, we will always have the issue of believers not conducting themselves as properly as the scriptures would have us.
Sometimes it could be as a result of ignorance of the scriptures, at other times it could be as a result of wilful disobedience. Whatever be the case, what do you do when a fellow believer falls into sin? How do you treat a brother or sister in Christ who had just committed a sin?
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” (Gal 6:1-3)
The word “overtaken” in Galatians 6:1 actually means “caught red-handed” or “caught unexpected.” That is, when you are “overtaken in a fault” you are “caught unexpectedly in a particular sin.”
You will be so guilty of the crime you will not have any way of denying it. All the evidences will be against you. Just like the adulterous woman in John 8 whom the scribes and Pharisees brought to Jesus
“And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.” (Joh 8:3-4)
She was overtaken in a fault (caught in the very act). She was so guilty she had no way of denying it. Every evidence was against her. That’s just an example of what Galatians 6:1 is saying. A situation where it has been truly proven a fellow did something wrong. It’s not just an assumption. Even the accused is not trying to deny it. He may even admit he did it without anyone telling him to because he definitely has no other option.
So when a believer is caught red-handed in sin, Galatians 6:1 tells us responsibility is laid on us to “restore” such a fellow. In a spirit of meekness.
The word “restore” there actually means to “strengthen.” It could also mean to “heal” something by a gradual process. In the medical world, it is used to convey the idea of a broken limb (hand or leg) being strengthened or healed through a gradual consistent process.
Such kind of strengthening requires hands that are firm and at the same time very gentle. Else the broken limb might go out of shape or be totally lost (condemned and amputated).
Such level of carefulness is what Paul is asking of us when handling believers who are overtaken with a fault. At a time when we feel like stoning them to death for the shame and embarrassment they must have caused us and the church, the Word instructs us to be very gentle when correcting or bringing them back to order.
Does that mean we to condole their sin and act like it doesn’t matter? Not at all. Pretending like sin doesn’t really matter gives it more room to operate. We are asked to handle believers who sinned with care, not to ignore their sin.
Threats, insults and abusive words must NEVER be heard from our lips when correcting such people. It’s not a time to run to radio stations or post on Social Media “Wonders shall never cease to happen, brother A our chief usher just impregnated sister B our Choir leader.”
It’s not a time to gloat over how holy we are or have been by our own efforts. Else we set up ourselves for a big fall as pride always goes before a fatal fall.
“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1Co 10:12)
How do you restore a believer who has been overtaken with a fault? How do you do the restoring?
First, knowing fully well that he is already under the condemnation of the devil, you begin by pointing him to who he really is spiritually from the scriptures. You say something like:
“Brother even though you have fallen. This is not the end of the road for you. You have an advocate in Jesus and in Him you have eternal forgiveness of sins, even for this one also. So rise up on your feet and don’t give the enemy room to drag you deeper in guilt. Rise up and let your light shine forth once again because you are still the light of the world. The righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.
What you did was bad. But guess what? God is not counting it against you. You are His son and He expects you to live like one. But having made this mistake, He wants you to know He’s still madly in love with you and there’s absolutely nothing in this universe that is ever going to separate you from that love.”
Some persons may argue and say “well, you need to show him how bad his sins are and put fear in him so he won’t do them again.” But then, who told you he doesn’t already know how bad his actions are? If he doesn’t, the level of guilt and condemnation already going on in his mind is enough to tell him that. And besides, fear has never really been able to stop anyone from sinning. If fear is that powerful, then those who fear Hell severely will sin less. But reverse is the case.
Only a truly regenerated heart constantly being renewed by the truth of God’s Word, will have no constant desire to sin. Anything outside of that is an effort in futility.
So when a fellow believer sins, we are to remind them of their Saviour and His sacrifice for their sins to save them from guilt and condemnation of the enemy. And at the same time, we are to rebuke them for that wrongdoing, urging them to live as holy and righteous as Christ has already made them.
That is the biblical way of restoring them. That’s what Galatians 6 would have us do. Not to criticize and spread rumours about their sin everywhere we go. Love the Word says, covers a multitude of wrongs.
I hope this blesses you!
Glory to God!