Debra Isenbletter, Pastor
Christian Assembly, Springfield, Missouri
“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.” Vs. 1-2
Forgiving Brother: restore such a one. The word “restore” means “to repair, too restore to a former good condition; to prepare, to equip.” This speaks of both a repairing and a repairing.
It has a medical use: “The Greeks used the word to describe the action of a physician setting a broken bone. Such a procedure called for knowledge, skill, and care. It was not a task for just anyone. Mishandling of a fracture could make it worse” (John Phillips). I think this emphasis on “knowledge, skill and care” really shows that when we “restore such a one” it must be according to God’s Word. If it is done apart from the Word, then that restoration can cause greater damage to the individual and the assembly. It should be done carefully and skillfully like a surgeon with knowledge in the procedure.
It has multiple uses: “The word “restore” is used of reconciling factions, setting bones, of putting a dislocated limb into place, of mending nets, of manning a fleet, of supplying an army with provisions” (Kenneth Wuest).
The same word is used when the Lord found James and John “mending their nets” (Mat.4:21). It is used of God’s creative power: “the worlds were framed by the word of God” (Heb.11:3). Paul used this word when he prayed that believers be made “perfect in every good work” (Heb.13:21), and that the saints be “perfectly joined together …” (1Co.1:10). Peter also prayed that “the God of all grace … make you perfect…” (1Pe.5:10).
The phrase “such a one” points to the one that is “overtaken.” It is the one who knows he has sinned, who confesses his sin and who repents of his sin. The person who had stumbled and become entangled either in sin or legality was like a broken bone in the Body of Christ. They needed to be set back in place so they could heal, so the assembly can heal. The whole body is hurt if one bone is broken, even a bone as small as a finger. The purpose of Grace is to join us together so there is a perfect fit, that we function together perfectly in harmony.
When saints stumble in sin or wander off the road of grace, they can be restored. Paul is not speaking of those who have been put out of the meeting, who will not repent, will not submit. These are those that are repentant and see they were “overtaken in a fault” – they are “such a one.” They are restored because they want to be restored. We see that attitude in the man from Corinth who was put out of the meeting and repented and the admonition of Paul to “forgive and comfort him” (2Co.2:7).
Meek Brother: in the spirit of meekness. This is your spirit yielding to the Holy Spirit in an attitude of meekness, which means “gentleness” or “humbleness.” This attitude is a fruit of the Spirit. It is amazing how everything is tied together, how everything works in harmony when we yield ourselves to the Lord wholeheartedly.
The “spirit of meekness” is not one of anger or superiority, it is not overbearing, it is the exact opposite. It is “gentleness, humbleness.” It is a fruit of the Spirit. I know that this fruit is the character of Christ, I know His Life resides within me, I know each portion of that fruit is there waiting to be seen and I know it is constantly growing. What I was struck by was that sometimes it takes something, some circumstance, some trial, some adversity, something to activate the manifestation of that fruit. It is one way of looking at – Why did this have to happen? – Why do I have to deal with this or face this? Sometimes we need to be put in a position or place where the Holy Spirit is given an opportunity to bring forth this fruit in our lives. It could be that only that particular circumstance can bring forth that particular fruit. And each time that fruit is brought forth, whatever it is, it will grow. Here in this circumstance of a brother being “overtaken in a fault” is an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to bring forth the fruit of “meekness.”
Discerning Brother: considering thyself. The word “considering” comes from “watch, mark, look at observe.” It is translated as: “heed” (Luk.11:35); “mark” (Rom.16:17; Phil.3:17); “look” (2Co.4:18; Phil.2:4); “considering” (Gal.6:1)
The idea is not just look at others but look at yourself. The idea is to remember that you can stumble, you can be “taken in a fault” just as easily. There is no superior ‘holier than thou’ attitude. There is no ‘I am better than you.’ There is only an acknowledging that we are each in a body of flesh, we each can be tempted, we each can stumble. It reminds me of the phrase: “There but for the Grace of God go I.” Supposedly John Bradford in the 16th century said that when he saw a group of prisoners going to the scaffold. Paul revealed this attitude when he said: “For I am the least of the apostles that am not meet (fit) to be called an apostle because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am …” (1Co.15:9-10)
Tempted Brother: lest thou also be tempted. The word “tempted” is from piercing, a test “scrutinize, examine, prove.” In a bad sense it means: “to test one maliciously, craftily, by enticement to sin; to solicit to sin; temptations of the devil. In a good sense it means: “to try, test: for the purpose of ascertaining his quantity; to put to the proof his feelings or judgments, to try or test one’s faith, virtue, character.
The fact is that we will be “tempted” or “tested.” That is what our Christian experience is all about. That is what sanctification is all about. For those yielding to the Holy Spirit, those submitting to the Word of God, that testing can be an opportunity to overcome. Paul is reminding us that if we fail in some way because we have been “tempted,” if we failed in that test, would we not want someone to “restore” us in “a spirit of meekness”?
Moses was put to the test this way: He had his problems but his overall testimony after 40 years was that you “saw my works” (Heb.3:6). There was a consistency and constancy in his life.
Jesus was put to the test in this way: It is good to remember when we are being “tempted” that we have a Savior Who was tempted (Heb.2:18). He understands. He intercedes (Heb.4:15).
We are put to the test in this way. But Paul reminds us that there will always be a way of escape and that we will be able to bear it (1Co.10:13).
We need to understand that we all can be tempted and “taken in a fault.” We cannot be arrogant (1Co.10:12). We cannot blame God (Jam.1:13-14). Instead we can one day at a time, “walk in the Spirit” – “live in the Spirit” – and manifest “the fruit of the Spirit.” When we do this, then the following admonition in Gal.6:2 becomes a precious privilege and opportunity to let that life of Christ be made visible in a very real and very powerful way.