Tuesday, August 16, 2011
August 16th – Proverbs 16: Recipe for Restoration
“Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil.” – Proverbs 16:6
There is a lot of talk in the church today about restoration of those who have fallen, probably because there are a LOT of ministers falling! We’ve got heterosexual immorality, homosexual immorality and gross financial impropriety all going on in the church right now like never before. These days, before you even get a tearful repentance from the offender, there is a LOUD call for their restoration to ministry. It’s weird, we’re not even sure that this person WANTS to be restored, yet the restoration police come rushing in to MAKE SURE that the fallen pastor is in the pulpit WITHIN THE WEEK!
Why this rush to restore? Why the absolute NEED for fallen leaders to be put back in the place where they fell from? Why can’t they go sell cars or do something else for a living? Why should a pastor that has abused the trust given him be given more trust? I believe that this comes from a basic misunderstanding of repentance as detailed here in Proverbs.
First of all we should look at the end of this verse: “Through the fear of the Lord a man avoids evil.” It’s when we cultivate a relationship with the Lord and actually FEAR Him that we become sin proof. When we are looking into the eyes of the potential adulteress, we remember that we serve God and GOD is watching our every move. This recognition of the Lord in our life would KEEP us from evil! That means when Minister A “falls” (pssst! This stuff doesn’t happen overnight) into gross homosexual sin you can rest assured; he doesn’t fear the Lord! A leader that doesn’t fear the Lord isn’t a very good leader; their sin reveals this fact. When your leader is caught in a gross sin, you SHOULD take a step back and ask, “Do I really want to follow this guy?” If he’s walking into sin and he’s a leader, what is he leading you into? Righteousness???
I rest my case.
Secondly, it’s important to see that path of restoration or atonement in the scripture: “Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for.” Your sin CAN be forgiven and you can receive restoration WHEN you apply this verse. It’s the first part that we are comfy with, the LOVE that atones for sin. God so LOVED us that we have been forgiven, absolutely. People can be restored to God INSTANTLY through the forgiveness available by the blood of Jesus, NO QUESTION. But if you want a working relationship with the people you have hurt in the past, if you want to rebuild the destruction that your sin has caused, you MUST keep going to FAITHFULNESS.
One of the faults of many who have violated confidence and broken trust in their sin is that they enjoy the love of Jesus for their forgiveness, but forget the faithfulness necessary to RESTORE their trust. This word faithfulness is translated “truth”. It’s defined as: stability, truth, trustworthy, established, right, sure and true. Without these things being PROVEN in the life of the offender, their “restoration” is shallow and unproven. Yes, you receive forgiveness instantly, but you BUILD trust through faithfulness over TIME. The wife whose husband has cheated on her NEEDS to forgive him instantly, but has NO BUSINESS trusting him unless he PROVES himself faithful over TIME. The church member whose leader is revealed as an immoral adulterer NEEDS to forgive him instantly, but has NO BUSINESS trusting this clown to lead them into the pat of righteousness unless he proves himself over TIME. Even then, he's now unqualified to lead anyone out of anything.
Paul tells us:
“Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” – I Corinthians 4:2
Yes, we’re forgiven by His blood, but our faithfulness is just as necessary to RESTORE.