Failure and Restoration


ˇ§Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.ˇ¨ (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)


Paul called those who had committed the foregoing sins the unrighteous, and expressly pointed out that they would not inherit the kingdom of God. We had possibly committed some of these sins before we knew God, because at that time we were dead in our trespasses and sins, followed the course of this world, submitted ourselves to the devil, did things that were disobedient to God, and gratified the cravings of our sinful nature and abided by its desires and thoughts. (Ephesians 2:2-3) If we truly believe in the Lord and are saved, we should no longer commit these transgressions that offend Him. Paul also warns us not to deceive ourselves. If we think we are strong and do not alert, it will be easy for us to fall into the devilˇ¦s snare, and be progressively hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. (Hebrews 3:13) This is like the failure of King Saul, who did not totally abide by the word of God. He spared Agag king of the Amalekites, the best of the sheep and cattle, and all that was good. He did not utterly destroy them according to the Lordˇ¦s instruction, but only followed part of Godˇ¦s word and eliminated the despised and worthless. This was self-deceptive behaviour, and he even gave God a crafty excuse. So Samuel rebuked him, saying, ˇ§Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, He also has rejected you from being king." (1 Samuel 15:22-23) Therefore, if a believer happens to falter, commit a sin and is admonished by God, he must truly repent and not try to haggle. Numerous excuses just indicate an unwillingness to repent and abhor sin. Failure in the future will even more severe.


Dear brothers and sisters, the church (we) as sinners received abundant grace from God. We were purchased at great cost by God. Its enormity is reflected by the fact that the payment was accomplished through the sacrifice of the life of the Son of God. We see then the gravity of sin. Therefore we should always carry a fearful and thankful heart towards our Lord. As Paul has exhorted, ˇ§ˇK work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.ˇ¨ (Philippians 2:12) If anyone among us happens to be deceived by sin and has fallen into transgression, those who are aware should admonish him with the love of the Lord. If he does not listen despite repeated exhortation, then the churchˇ¦s elders and pastors should be informed. Handling certain sins may impinge on individual confidentiality, but we should trust in the churchˇ¦s leadership because they stand watch in vigilance over the soul of the church. Mindful of the deeds of some, we should pull them out of the fire and rescue them without delay. Upon others we should have compassion with fear, hating even the garments defiled by the flesh (Jude 23) in demonstration of our utter hatred of sin, for we are a holy body. If the sinner truly repents, confesses his sins and turns back, he will be forgiven by the righteous Lord. (1 John 1:9) If he fears God and submits to the churchˇ¦s leaders, the elders and pastors will administer different levels of disciplinary action according to the severity of the trespass and the attitude of repentance of the sinner. Yet the goal of all disciplinary action is to reform, restore and assist the failed member. When the fallen member truly turns back, the whole church must accept him. No one should look upon him with condemning or discriminatory bias, for he whom the Lord has forgiven and affirmed, we must accept. Besides, each one of us has the possibility to fail and falter. If not for the compassion of the Lord and our own vigilance, we too could fail in a temptation. As well, we must try our best to express our love and solicitude for the restored member and his family, for love can cover over a multitude of sins. We must not wantonly discuss or publicize the private affairs of others. Remember how Shem and Japheth used an appropriate method to cover the shame of their father. (Genesis 9:23) We too should carefully treat each other with love in order to recover our member, so that God will not once again be deprived of His glory for our sake.


By: Daniel To