When the Apostle Paul was establishing churches, he had to deal with a lot of “religion” and human error. Evidently he had a lot on his plate because he was beginning to grow frustrated with the conduct of the new converts. At the church in Corinth a man was having an affair with his father’s wife. He rebuked the church and the leaders because they chose to “look the other way”. Paul was more angry at the church than he was the man and the woman. After Paul rebuked them, he began to regret how hard he was on that church because the devil could take advantage.
2Corinthians 2:10 To whom you forgive anything I forgive also. Lest satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
Forgiveness is instant, it is the beginning of redemption, it starts the process of restoration. Forgiveness is instant, but restoration takes time. Many issues need to be dealt with. We don’t just forget and move on, right thinking must be imparted and the damages must be addressed.
Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if a man be overtaken in a fault, you which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering yourself, lest you also be tempted.
We are all capable of sharing the same temptation. We don’t want to think we are stronger than everyone else. This is what makes us “spiritual” and enables us to help those who have been overtaken by the wiles of the devil. Restoration can take some time depending on how willing the perpetrator is to be accountable. If they have a myriad of excuses, restoration can be delayed and perhaps never achieved. Some folks are sorry because they got caught not because they did something wrong. A person who is spiritual is one who will not compromise. They have an obligation to help the compromiser. Not all people in error want help. Either they don’t believe they did anything wrong or they enjoy what they’re doing.
Galatians 4:16 Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth.
It is always risky business trying to help a brother in error because if they don’t want your help you become their enemy. I can almost promise you what they will say. They will accuse you of judging them and you will be the bad guy. Such as these can have no restoration no matter how much you want to help them.
2Timothy 2:25 With all humility instruct those that oppose themselves; perhaps God will grant them forgiveness when they acknowledge the truth. And then they can recover themselves out of the snare of the devil who he takes at will.
Many Christians can’t comprehend how serious their error can become. The magnitude of our relationship with God depends on our willingness to obey Him. Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft. Witchcraft is based on a willing human to have an intimate relationship with the devil. The devil leads them to believe that it is an expression of freedom, all the while he stands to manipulate them. If the devil has a stronghold in your life you will find yourself resisting God even in the smallest things. Pursue freedom and restore the fallen.
Pastor Jerry Lamping
Born and raised in Helena, MT, has been a Pastor for over 20 years.