“Brethren, if anyone is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” Galatians 6:1
There is no doubt that the greatest joy of being a Christian is seeing those who had wonder far from God come back home. What a joy it is to see those who were once overtaken by sin break free of the chains of Satan by the power supplied to them by Jesus Christ. If the heavens could be peeled back they would reveal the angelic host rejoicing that one of God’s lambs had been saved.
As Christians we have many responsibilities and one of those responsibilities is to restore those who have been overtaken in sin. For our lesson today I would like for use to consider the words of the apostle Paul in Galatians 6:1. Since it is our responsibility to restore those overtaken in sin then we would do well to learn more about our responsibility to those who have been overtaken in sin so that we can better fulfill our God given duty.
“If anyone is overtaken in any trespass…”
First, Paul doesn’t want Christians to show partiality. He teaches this by saying, “If anyone is overtaken in any trespass…” Paul wants us to see that it doesn’t matter who the person is or what they have done, since they have a soul we are to seek to restore them to the Lord.
But, too often we’re only willing to help those we are closest to; or whose sins we are the most comfortable with; or whose sin was the most public; or those who we personally regard as important to us and to the work of the congregation. Friends these things ought not to be. Rather, let us have the mind of Christ and see every soul as precious and worthy of salvation and seek to restore them no matter what they have done to be overtaken.
“You who are spiritual should…”
Second, Paul calls for mature, spiritually-minded Christians to take action and lead the effort to restore the overtaken. For this very reason, there is a real need for mature, spiritually-minded Christians in every congregation.
Let me take this opportunity to say a word about the need for Christians to be shepherded by elders. One of the main roles of elders is to “keeping watch” over the souls of those in their congregation (Hebrews 13:17). Christians, who purposefully do not attend congregations with elders, are missing out on one of God’s great gifts for them (Ephesians 4:11-16), the gift of someone to “keep watch” over their soul and to restore them when they are overtaken.
“Restore such a one in gentleness…”
Third, Paul wanted the spiritual Christian to “restore” the overtaken in a spirit of “gentleness.” The goal of our going to the overtaken is to “restore” them or put in another way “mend” them as the word is translated in Matthew 4:21. That which is torn is not mended with harshness but with “gentleness” less it tear even further. So it is with one overtaken in sin, if they are to be mended it will require “gentleness” so that they their separation from God is not further torn.
“Considering yourselves lest you also be tempted.”
Finally Paul concludes the verse by saying, “Consider yourselves lest you also be tempted.” Two thoughts come to mind here:
The first is the golden rule, “Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them.” (Matthew 7:12) Why does the spiritual Christian approach the overtaken with gentleness? Because he is considering his own weaknesses to sin and he is treating his brother the way he would want to be treated.
Second is, “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” (1 Corinthians 5:6; Galatians 5:9) Why was there a need to restore the overtaken? So that others, including the spiritual Christian, would not be tempted to follow the same sins as the one who was overtaken. Paul desired that the leaven of sin be purged from the whole by restoring the lost.
We have many responsibilities as Christians but none as important as restoring the overtaken that are among us. Let us with all love and gentleness seek them out, and kindly bring them back to God. This is our sacred responsibility. May God bless you in your endeavors to seek and save the lost.