Life Compass
Keeping You Pointed in the Right Direction

Restoring the Fallen

“I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up” is probably one of the most lampooned lines from a TV commercial ever. Sadly, it is also the testimony of many within the household of faith.

Paul made it very clear in Galatians 6:1 what the Christian’s responsibility is to help those who have fallen because of sin. Restore means to fix completely and put it back where it was. Some disagree. They contend the passage only infers restoring them to fellowship with the Lord. That would not be a “complete” fix would it? If my computer is broken and I have it serviced and it is returned to me with an explanation that only half of the options work then it is not completely fixed and restored is it? No.

To restore someone means to help them get back to the place and position they were in before the fall. Anything else is falling short of the meaning of the passage.

The word overtaken in this verse in the Greek means to be eaten before anyone else has an opportunity. Interesting definition until you remember that in our spiritual warfare satan is lion devouring people. When one sins he does so because he chose to it. However, let’s not forget that satan’s temptations and assault on believer’s is endless and tireless on his part. It is especially focused on those in active ministry.

Can a fallen pastor be restored to the ministry? Yes. Can he pastor again? Yes.

The qualifications of a Pastor, as listed in I Timothy 3, become the litmus test. Is a fallen pastor blameless? He is if he has stopped committing the sin, confessed it to God, repented, and submitted to spiritual authority and demonstrated fruits of repentance. Especially in the area of morality you consider: is his family still intact, are they in fellowship, are they serving…

What about having a good reputation of those without? How can that be if they know what he did? First, do not hide the sin. Confess it and forsake it. Then use that experience to demonstrate God’s grace and forgiveness. Let the restored life and ministry become a trophy of God’s grace and goodness. Second, there will always be people who have an issue with the pastor. Even if he hasn’t fallen … someone “out there” will not like him and talk about him.

What about the pastors who argue with people and are mean spirited in the pulpit or have pot stirring wives? Do they meet the qualifications?

Something else about those qualifications. There is nothing that states if he sins in one of those areas that he restricted from ever holding that position again. Nothing!

How many pastors mounted the pulpit this week who didn’t pray, are at odds with their wives, and/or struggle with their thought life in the area of morality? The difference between the fallen man and the other … you know what the disgraced man did.

Let’s talk about grace for a moment. Grace is the undeserved favor of God to forgive. We get the concept when it comes to SINNERS. Lost people need the grace of God to receive Christ and be saved. As Christians we believe that and preach that. Now, SAINTS need grace, too. Christians sin and need God’s grace. We want it. We need it. SERVANTS (Pastors) need grace as well. That’s where it gets dicey for some people. Somehow he supposed to be above the struggles and flesh of everday life. Really? He’s Superman?

Yes, he is to set the example. But at the end of the day he’s still human. He gets tired, discouraged, and weary. He can let his guard down.

You may think, “I can’t get over what he did.” Fair enough. But what about…

DAVID – committed adultery, killed her husband to cover it up, and then married her. He finally confessed after being pressed by the Prophet of God repeatedly. AFTER all that God called him a man after HIS own heart. He stayed on throne.

ABRAHAM – chosen by God to father the Hebrew race (the chosen people of God). His faith is lauded in Hebrews, and we are heirs of God because his family line birthed Christ. What about Hagar? Who? The servant girl he got pregnant because Sarah hadn’t given birth yet. Remember? Once Isaac was born to Sarah … Hagar and Ishmael were discarded. Funny, God didn’t rip up the covenant and tell Abe to hit the road. He listed him in the Faith Hall of Fame in the Book of Hebrews.

NOAH – Tell me Sunday School teacher… did you teach your class about that incestuous drunk who took a boat ride? Well… he was hand picked by God as being the ONLY righteous man on earth. God chose him to save the human race. What did he do went he exited the Ark? Planted a vineyard, turned the grapes into wine, got drunk, and either engaged in sexual sin or was sexually violated.

JACOB – who become Israel. How did he get that commission from God? He and his mother lied, plotted, and deceived his father into giving him the blessing. Once that happened … God did not over turn the injustice. He made the covenant with Jacob.

PETER – denied Christ, cursed Him, and ran away. He was constantly being rebuked by the Lord for acting on impulse rather than being led by the Spirit. What happened to him? He was commissioned to preach Pentecost and 3,000 were saved that day when the Holy Ghost showed up. Why not John or James who behaved themselves? Why weren’t they asked by God to preach Pentecost? Ask God.

PAUL – the apostle with the dramatic “Come to Christ” conversion. He wrote two thirds of the New Testament and become THE authority on the major Christian doctrines. Imagine sitting in a first century service and Paul is introduced. You shake and your heart races remenbering that he was responsible in his previous “ministry” for your wife, your son, your loved one being arrested and executed for their Christian faith. Now he is preaching to YOU. Hmmmm

Romans 11:29 is very clear. God calls and commissions those whom He chooses into ministry and service. And He doesn’t change His mind about it.

Each case of dealing with fallen people, especially pastors, needs to be handled on an individual basis. Those involved need to be meek and spiritual. It needs to be Biblical and not denominational, traditional, nor personal opinion.

The question needs to be… what would God have us do for this person?

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