Born again – Part 31
What Should You Do If You See A Backslider? Cont.
We must always remember that God has given us the commission to go into the world and proclaim the gospel (Mat 28:18-20; Acts 1:8), which includes the warning of eternal death for all who refuse to repent and believe in Christ (cf. Acts 17:22-31). God has thus made the church a watchman (see Mat 18:15).
All people are individually responsible to God, but believers have a special responsibility to warn unbelievers of the consequences of rejecting God. If we fail to do this, God will hold us responsible for what happens to them. This should motivate us to begin sharing our faith with others — both by word and deed — and to avoid becoming callous or unconcerned in our attitude.
“Brethren, if a man 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.” (Gal. 6:1)
6:1 “restore such a one.” The word “restore” (Gk katartizo) is used in the NT for mending fishing nets (Mat 4:21) or for perfecting human character (2Cor 13:11). Thus, to restore a person means to lead him or her back to true repentance and to a full commitment to Jesus Christ and His ways. This may involve disciplinary action (see Mat 13:30), undertaken “gently.” (1) Paul here is not thinking of the serious sins that bring public disgrace to the congregation (cf. 1Cor 5:5). Such sins may require temporary expulsion from the fellowship before restoration is granted (1Cor 5:11). (2) The restoration Paul mentions do not refer to restoration to leadership positions or teaching roles within the church. Qualifications and standards for those desiring to serve in ministerial positions involve more than a person’s present spiritual condition. They require a history of persevering faithfulness to God’s principles for righteousness in order that they may set an example for believers (1Tim 4:12).
“Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.” (Jas. 5:19, 20)
Clearly, this person who has wandered from the truth is a believer who has fallen into sin – one who is no longer living a life consistent with his or her beliefs. Those who move away from their faith are in serious trouble and need to repent. James urges Christians to help backsliders return to God. By taking the initiative, praying for the person, and acting in love, we can meet the person where he or she is and bring him or her back to God and His forgiveness.
Believers should do everything possible to turn back to God those who stray from the truth (e.g., Gal 4:19; 6:1; 2Tim 2:18, 25-26; Jude 22-23). The salvation of a wandering brother or sister should always be a high priority in the Christian community. If the backslider returns to Christ, the one who converts him or her will have saved the sinner “from death,” i.e., spiritual death and eternal separation from God (cf. Rom 6:23; Gal 6:8; Rev 20:14).
Salvation/Spiritual rebirth cannot be inherited from parents
“Remember His covenant forever, the word which He commanded, for a thousand generations, 16The covenant which He made with Abraham, and His oath to Isaac, 17and confirmed it to Jacob for a statute, to Israel for an everlasting covenant, 18saying, “To you, I will give the land of Canaan as the allotment of your inheritance,” (1Chr 16:15-18).
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