The Church is in Want of Spiritual Experts
If the Christian statisticians are correct about the extent of sexual sin among evangelicals, then the scandals that have rocked the Church represent only the tip of an enormous iceberg lying just beneath the surface. Clearly, there are multitudes of professing Christians addicted to various forms of immorality, and they desperately need spiritual help.
Paul described those who were qualified to undertake such a challenge: “Brethren, if any person is overtaken in [sin], you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should… restore him…” (Gal. 6:1 AMP) In his commentary on this passage, A.T. Robertson described these candidates as, “The spiritually led, the spiritual experts in mending souls.” (1)
Yes, that’s the answer! We need “spiritual experts in mending souls.” We badly need persons who possess a thorough understanding of the problem and the solution.
The problem is clear: people are indulging themselves in sin. Perhaps less obvious, however, is that certain notions about sin have arisen in the Church that have minimized its evil nature.
For instance, there are those who over-emphasize grace to the point that God is represented as little more than a benign Old Man who veritably chuckles over the cute misdeeds of His children. Then there is the burgeoning psychological community that advocates soothing guilty consciences with intricate and plausible explanations which simply excuse sinful behavior. The result of all of this is a casual, flippant attitude toward defying God’s commandments—hardly the mindset that leads people to victory!
A spiritual expert, on the other hand, understands that sin is “altogether evil.” He comprehends its deceitful nature, its fearful grip and dreadful consequences. He knows that sin separates a person from God’s presence and causes a terrible hardness of heart—not to mention the myriad of emotional problems that accompany it.
Yes, the evil nature of sin is clear to him, but a spiritual expert also knows the way out of such bondage. Jesus, the consummate spiritual expert, told the backslidden Laodiceans to be zealous about repentance. (Rev. 3:19) The root of this word zealous (Gk. zelos) means to be boiling hot. The noun form is zealot, which alludes to what is needed in the Church today: violent men, red-hot in their hatred of sin; men who understand how to lead people out of its malignant clutches. Zealots of repentance! We need saints who understand what it means to walk in repentance as a lifestyle.
Yes, sexual sin is running rampant in our midst, but the greater crisis is the overall spiritual stagnation of the Church at large. Unless some particular sin is wreaking havoc in their everyday lives, most people feel no compelling need to change. They are content to hear sermons and read books, accepting the false notion that acquiring spiritual information automatically produces spiritual maturity.
Spiritual novices do not understand God’s power to transform a repentant heart because they have not allowed themselves to be broken by God. Thus, their own hardened hearts establish the basis for what they teach others. Out of that stony ground come the kinds of teachings that ignore or minimize the need for ongoing repentance.
My dear brothers and sisters! We need a Revolution of Repentance, led by fervent saints who have learned how to live the secrets of Calvary. Yes, we desperately need “spiritual experts in mending souls.”
(1) Archibald Thomas Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, e-Sword Software.
Steve Gallagher is the Founder and President of Pure Life Ministries. He has dedicated his life to helping men find freedom from sexual sin and leading Christians into the abundant life in God that comes through deep repentance.
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