HELPING THOSE WHO HAVE FALLEN
We should be concerned about the spiritual welfare of our brothers and sisters in Christ. Some are strong and always faithful. They respect God’s admonition concerning faithfulness. “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10) It is a grief to God, though, that some are not faithful. We must desire, purpose and plan to remain faithful to God. Paul wrote, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14) Faithfulness to God requires a strong personal commitment to God. Sadly many do not remain faithful and we must do our best to restore them to Christ. “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.” (Galatians 6:1) God expects us to do our utmost to bring the fallen back to His Son and to His church.
Those who have fallen are our brothers and sisters. We are not to count them as enemies, but we must consider and admonish them as brothers. “Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” (2 Thessalonians 3:15) If they are our brothers and sisters, and they are, the natural thing is for us to be concerned about them. Those who have turned back are in a lost condition. “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” (2 Peter 2:20-22) Knowing the spiritual condition that they are in, our chief desire should be to see them brought back to our Heavenly Father.
The church should pray for those who have fallen. Those who have read the Bible are familiar with Peter’s denial of Jesus. Satan was shifting him as wheat, but Jesus prayed for him. “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” (Luke 22:31-32) Jesus prayed for Peter because of His love for him. Our love for our fallen brethren will lead us to pray for them, that they will soon be back on the strait and narrow way that leads to life.
We must consider ourselves because the day may come when we have been tempted and overcome by the Devil and need to be restored. Remember, in Galatians 6:1 Paul wrote, “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.” Our faithfulness to God is not an optional matter. Neither is it optional for us to try to restore the erring. “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” (James 5:19-20) Our desire should be for God to look at us and say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:21)
Are you faithful and ready for the Judgment? Will you be baptized into Christ to put on Christ so that your sins can be forgiven by His blood? "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." (Galatians 3:26-27) Believers contact Christ's saving blood by being baptized into His death. John said, "And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." (1 John 5:11-12) We must desire, purpose and plan to remain faithful to God.
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street,
Greenville, Alabama 36037