Drift is the inclination of the Christian life. Completing itself seven times in the book of Judges, we see God’s people complete the cycle of sin, slavery because of sin, sorrow because of sin, salvation from sin and finally satisfaction with sinful habits in their lives. Robert Robinson the author of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” was riding in a stagecoach, when a lady asked him what he thought of the hymn she was humming, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. He responded, “Madam, I am the poor unhappy man who wrote that hymn many years ago, and I would give a thousand worlds, if I had them, to enjoy the feelings I had then.”
All of us from time-to-time are that man, and Satan would have us bite and devour one another over those faults and failings. This was the spirit of the Pharisees, which strained at their brother’s “gnats” and swallowed their own “camel” sins (Matthew 23:23-24). One would imagine that helpless sinners we are would find it easy in our hearts to restore our brethren after they fall, but if we are not careful we will look down in condescension of others and fail our Lord and them.
Our lives should count for the Lord in bringing men to God or back to God. May these simple principles remind us of those around us who need the special effort of those who are spiritual to come alongside.
The Word of God says in Galatians chapter six and verse one,
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. (Galatians 6:1-2)
Paul’s two keys for unlocking the door of forgiveness and restoration are remember and restore.
1. Remember that men’s faults (vs. 1) become their burdens (vs. 2). My brother-in-Christ is in a spiritual warfare, and the weight upon him at times is his recurring fault. Robert Robinson penned it this way: “Prone to wonder, Lord, I feel it; prone to leave the God I love.”
How many of us in the “daily grind” get discouraged, disheartened, disillusioned, disappointed and discontented? Out of those many times, how many of these feelings were the byproducts of our failures in the Christian life? Just today, I received a text from an unknown number which said, “Someone is praying for you today.” The Lord knew I needed that, and I am glad that they were praying for me, for I could become overwhelmed by my faults.
2. Remember that we by the grace of God have either been delivered out of such temptation as has overtaken our brother or we have been divinely delivered from the slough of those sins by the grace of God. My brother’s sin are where all of my sins are: under the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Let there be none among us of the, “I would never fall to such depths of depravity” syndrome, but on our lips should be continually say, “That could be me, were it not for the grace of God.” Paul says here, Considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Peter said before denying Christ, “Not I, Lord. I would die for you,” and we know the end of that story! Let us be careful to always remember the affect of God’s grace to keep us from falling.
Someone recently said, “The measure of a man’s Christianity is not always found in his adherence to the Do’s and Don’ts of the Christian life but in how he restores sinful brethren.” To be truly spiritual, we must learn to restore.
Many Christians become the prodigal son’s older brother (Luke 15). He was pasty, hardened, cold, and indifferent upon his brother’s return. Had he stayed true to the father? Yes. Had he worked the farm, taken care of father and kept himself from profligate living? The Bible leads us to believe he did. Was he ever faithful to the father? Yes. However, the lasting flavor left in our mouths is of his ill-treatment of his brother upon his revival from the far country.
Instead of seeing the scars of sin and the faults and burdens of his brother, he saw only his scars of “sacrifice” and the burdens of being left alone to be faithful to the Father. He did not care about the pain of his father’s heart in having a wayward son; he only cared about himself. In the end, was he spiritual? No, he was not spiritual at all.
Are we the kind of Christian that can read the Psalms and derive Spirit-filled benefit while not reminding David of Bathsheba? Are we the kind of believer that can read the writings of Peter and not take him back to the fires of compromise? Can we rejoice with Jonah over the revival of Nineveh while not smelling the rot of the whale’s belly? Have we enough of God’s Spirit to respect Moses’ leadership of Israel and forego digging in the sands of Egypt to uncover the dead Egyptian which died at Moses’ hand? IF WE CAN, we have met one of God’s greatest challenges- be spiritual…consider thyself…and restore.