“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.”
Helping broken people treasure Jesus.
We are called into biblical community by the grace of the cross and a key aspect of community building is bearing/sharing each others’ burdens thus fulfilling the law of Christ.
1. The horrid reality: Sin can overcome/catch/trap professing Christians. The mark of saving faith involves ongoing obedience. Therefore, the restoration process involves repentance over known sin. (Matthew 13:20-21, I John 2:19 and 3:9)
WHAT IS SIN?
Sin is rejecting or ignoring God in the world he created, rebelling against him by living without reference to him, not being or doing what he requires in his law—resulting in our death and the disintegration of all creation. New City Catechism, Question 16
2. The glorious calling: Bearing each others’ burdens in such a way that restoration/strengthening is a reality.
BEARING = to carry for a long distance
“Mr. Frodo, I can’t carry it (the ring) for you, but I can carry you!” Samwise Gamgee, The Return of the King, Lord of the Rings Movie Trilogy
3. The pattern or M.O. of burden-bearing:
- “You who are spiritual.” Those who walk by the Spirit (Galatians 5:16), are led by the Spirit (Galatians 5:25a), produce the fruit of the Spirit in their lives (Galatians 5:22-23), and keep in step with the Spirit (Galatians 5:25b)
“It makes me happier, more secure, to think that I do not have to plan and manage everything for myself, that I am only a sword made sharp to smite the unclean forces, an enchanted sword to cleave and disperse them. Grant, o Lord, that I may not break as I strike! Let me not fall from Thy hand!” Alexander Solzhenitsyn
- In a spirit of gentleness
- Those who restore, walk in humility as they know their own heart, i.e. keep watch over yourselves
The Convictional Mindset of a Burden-bearer:
“...for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:13
1. The triune God is the overflowing fountain of glorious good.
“But you and I must be clear. There is but one good; that is God. Everything else is good when it looks to him and bad when it turns from him. And the higher and the mightier it is in the natural order (affection, friendship, intimacy), the more demoniac it will be if it rebels. It’s not out of bad mice or bad fleas, you make demons, but out of bad archangels.”
CS Lewis, The Great Divorce
2. The very best of broken cisterns cannot ultimately hold the water of lasting and true joy (and repentance draws God near).
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” Psalm 51:17
3. The Lord’s way is best and leads to human flourishing.
1. True or False: All are called to be spiritual and are to be in readiness to graciously restore lapsed/fallen/backslidden professing Christians.
2. What attitudes are obvious in those who would seek to restore others?
3. What aspects of sin are mentioned in the New City Catechism, Question 16?
4. How does burden-bearing fulfill the law of Christ (John 13:34-35, Galatians 5:14, James 2:18)?
ALL are to be burden-bearers.
ALL are to be the spiritual ones who bear burdens.
ALL have burdens that need bearing.