Galatians 5:25 - 6:18, "Keep in Step"
1// Keep in step with the Spirit = follow him in every detail of your life.
2// Don’t try to live by rules or by the flesh. Live with God.
3// Engage in community, marked by the humility of experiencing God’s grace.
4// Sunday front page announces you were arrested for drunk driving. Do you go to church?
5// No? That's like asking to go home, clean up and set your own bones while an ambulance is taking you to the hospital.
6// Paul describes a church where people who fail miserably will go to get help & find healing bec/ it’s marked by humble engagement & grace
7// "Those who are spiritual" = you (if you know Christ)
8// Gentleness (not softness) comes from genuine humility
9// God does the transforming, but you have to invest your thoughts, your time and your energy in him.
10// In time, good things come from doing good things.
Here's a question from the Communication Cards that I said I'd try to answer today:
Q: Pastor can you possibly address Hebrews 10:26-27, I Cor. 5:11-13 in context of Galatians 5? How do married couples deal with habitual/willful sin where there is not conviction leading to repentance? Should there be gentle tolerance at all costs?
A: I assume this is not an abstract issue or intellectual exercise for you. It sounds like you, a close friend or a family member is in a really tough situation. My answer here will not be adequate to deal with complexity of a situation like this. I think face-to-face, personal counsel is needed. Be sure it's someone who is of the same gender (if not professional counsel), filled with spiritual wisdom and grace and able to bring Scripture to bear on the situation. Talking to your small group leader(s) would be a great place to start.
Regarding the specifics of your questions:
- Hebrews 10:26-27 is in a different category of discussion from what is described in 1 Corinthians 5 and Galatians 6. Hebrews 10 is a difficult passage and likely has to do with someone turning from the faith altogether (i.e., apostasy). 1 Corinthians 5 and Galatians 6 deal with corrective/restorative church discipline when there is recurring/unrepentant sin in a fellow Christian's life. In the Corinthian situation we're getting a glimpse into an issue that seems to have been an ongoing situation. Paul is addressing a church that has decided to tolerate a member who is living with his father's wife. I think we can safely assume people from the congregation or leaders have talked to this guy but they are failing to apply tough love. Paul tells them to cast him out for the sake of his spiritual restoration and for the sake of the church community. Galatians 6 addresses the early stages of restoration, but doesn't address what happens if the person is unrepentant. Presumably, they know the steps and Paul is focused here on the attitudes and manner in which restoration is pursued. Matthew 18:15-18 offers fewer details, but it outlines the entire process. Our Elders have a detailed analysis of the relevant passages. You can request a copy of the Elders Policy on Corrective Church Discipline from the church office (firstname.lastname@example.org).
- In a marriage, after addressing this personally with the erring spouse, if he/she will not repent and he/she is a professing believer, there comes a time when the “injured” spouse needs to with someone, like a mature Christian friend, a small group leader or a church leader. Eventually, it might become a matter to bring to the elders for further intervention and help, with the ultimate hope of restoring the erring spouse.
- You ask, "Should there be gentle tolerance at all costs." There should not be gentle tolerance at all. There should be gentle restoration, which means confronting the situation directly and detailing, with grace and gentleness, the folly of persisting in the sinful behavior without repentance or seeking help.