"You Who Are Spiritual Restore Such a One"

“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.” (Galatians 6:1, NKJV).

Consider four things emphasized in this verse.

Fallibility. Christians can still fall prey to sin. Sometimes habitually. We need to be on guard. “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12).

Accountability. “Overtaken” or “caught” can mean (a) overcome or (b) discovered. In either case, our text assumes an awareness of the person’s wrongdoing. If people in my spiritual family know about my sin, I should not reject their efforts to help me by complaining that it’s none of their business. God shows that it is.

Responsibility. “You who are spiritual restore such a one.” “Spiritual” here denotes being directed by God’s Spirit (see chapter 5). This is not some special class of Christians (preachers, elders, deacons); it means all faithful disciples. If I decide, then, that I have no duty to try to correct my erring brother, am I not declaring that I’m not spiritual?

My responsibility is to “restore” that person. The word means “to complete thoroughly,” and is used of repairing what was broken, restoring it to its original condition. “My brethren, if any among you strays from the truth and one turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins” (James 5:19-20).

Humility. Restoration must be approached “in a spirit of gentleness.” “When a spiritually minded man finds his brother fallen, he does not use that occasion to further grind him into the dirt” (Mike Willis). Arrogance and bitterness have no place. Nor does hypocrisy: “…considering yourself lest you also be tempted.” If I am mindful of my own weaknesses and failures, if I remember that there have been (and will be) times when I needed correction, then I will go about correcting another in the way God intended.