“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.” (Gal. 6:1 ESV)
Friends, do you see biblical counseling in this one verse? It is addressed to brothers (and sisters), so we see that Paul is addressing believers, but what does he say to them and by extension to us? He instructs them with these words,
“…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.”
What does Paul mean by the word “caught”? This word most likely captures two ideas. First, it means to catch one in the act or to be “found out”. Secondly, it also has the idea of being trapped or ensnared in sin. It seems as though Paul has both ideas in mind. So, believers, if you catch someone sinning or if you know another is ensnared in a particular sin, what are you to do? Well, Paul tells you,
“… you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness…”
Who are the spiritual? Those who are walking with the Lord, in dependence on the Holy Spirt, according to the Word of God. What is it that the spiritual are supposed to do? Paul says they (you) “should restore him (the one caught in any transgression) in a spirit of gentleness.” The word “should” is not in the text. It is actually a command and should say,
“if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual restore him in a spirit of gentleness” or one might add the word must, “you who are spiritual must restore him.”
Either way the point Paul is making is that believers have a responsibility to each other when caught in sin. It is not optional. We are commanded to restore such a one in gentleness. Hopefully, from the text and from that last statement, you see what Paul has as the goal. RESTORATION. The one caught in sin is to be restored. The word for restore has a basic meaning of “thoroughly preparing something to meet demands.” So, those who are spiritual are to prepare the one caught in sin to meet the demands of God. They are to restore this one to the place of service in the body of believers. They are to walk alongside this brother or sister until such a time as he or she can be restored and the spiritual ones are to do it in a spirit of gentleness. It is not to be done tyrannically. It is not to be done manipulatively. It is not to be done passively. It is to be done in a spirit of gentleness in dependence on the Holy Spirit.
Paul also says that those engaged in restoring the one caught in any transgression are also to keep an eye on themselves. Why? So that they are not also tempted.
Christian, do you see that you have a role in restoring your brothers and sisters who are caught in sin? Do you see your responsibility to help restore the one caught in any transgression? Do you have the same goal as Paul? As God? Is your goal in helping those caught in sin restoration or something less than what God would have for them? When you do engage in helping others caught in sin, do you come in a spirit of gentleness? Finally, when helping others in their fight against sin, do you heed Paul’s warning and keep watch of yourself so that you also will not be tempted?
His Grace Alone,