Restoration why it matters

Galatians 6:1-3 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If any of you think you are something when you are nothing, you deceive yourselves. TNIV

First time I read this verse in the TNIV I thought that it really gave a better understanding of the term Spiritual.  Most translations read “…you who are Spiritual…” the NLT reads “…you who are godly”.  Most of us live out our Christian life not really understanding what it is to be spiritual, especially if you come from a pentecostal background.  The TNIV rendering of “…you who live by the Spirit…” makes you sit back and think.  It captures your attention and makes you wonder what that means.  For me it removed any presupposition that I may have had as to what it means to be spiritual and forced me to read it in context, beginning with Galatians 5:25-26 “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

Gordon Fee puts it this way:

The context demands that here is another instance in which by the use of this adjective (turned substantive) Paul means “Spirit People.”  Indeed, to translate this phrase with the lower case, “those who are spiritual,’ not only undermines in terms of meaning for a contemporary English speaker, but also leads to connotations that are precisely the opposite of Paul’s intent.  With this word he is not, as some would have it, addressing a special group within the community who are, or think they are “spiritual,” who must restore a fallen one because he or she is (presumably) not “spiritual.”  In such a case, Paul would surely have said “those who are spiritual.”  Rather, Paul is addressing the whole community (“you who are spiritual”), just as he does with all the second person plurals that have just preceded.  His point is to remind them of who indeed they are in Christ – people of the Spirit, and thus do not carry out the desires of the flesh so as “to eat and devour one another”.  — God’s Empowering Presence p461

Restoration matters because it speaks volumes about the grace and mercy of God.  It all comes back to why Christ lived and died, it was for this very purpose to restore humanity back to right standing with God.  I had blogged about integrity recently and wanted to post this to give some balance.  I think that to often we just write off Christians that have fallen and more so to those that held positions of ministry.  Even if they have failed miserably, isn’t the call here to those of us “who live by the Spirit” to help restore them?  We need to carry each other’s burdens and restore them gently.


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