BIBLICAL PEACEMAKING
PRINCIPLES IN RECONCILING BROKEN UNITY

All Scripture, unless noted otherwise, will be quoted from Kenneth Wuest's, The New Testament,
An Expanded Greek Translation. Greek definitions are from Vine, Strongs, Brown, & Gaebelein.

Unity in Christ is broken by sin. Reconciliation of fallen Christians and Christian leaders is every Christians responsibility and yet restoring a sinner to Christ and HIS Church raises earnest questions of spiritual judgment and justice... How do you trust a person's confession? How do you know when there's true repentance? Do tears and brokenness mean Godly sorrow? Are the tears because of the consequences of being caught? Can you restore fallen leaders? Can Biblical counseling make anyone with deeply rooted problems fit to return to leadership? Do some sins disqualify leaders forever?

Understanding God's reconciliation requires understanding God's view of sin, sorrow, contirition, confession, repentance, justice and restoration. Adam's sin made all sinners. Christ emphasized that even the thought of sin qualifies as sin, as well as sinning by deed or lack of action.

To bear another's burdens and seek God's reconciliation, one must include the spiritual condition of the heart as evidenced by outward acts and words.

Sin does not begin with outward acts of disobedience. By the spiritual regeneration of God's Holy Spirit, the regenerated person possesses a need to be in unity with God and fellow believers. Only God fills that inner longing. Man's sinful habits turns to self, searching for love and acceptance. Self devotes control and power to protect its needs not being met. The self strenuously rejects attempts to correct the sinner's favorite sins. The self, then rationalizes Biblical and secular values, beliefs and behavior, while denying unity with God, His truth and His people.

Satan is eager to assist self's deception. Sin heightens self's desires through the guilt and hopelessness of continual sin. The victim increasingly seeks love, with diminishing hope, through intensified creativity to please the self. Sin distorts thinking, beliefs, and behaviors.

Sinful habits are so ingrained that the renewing of a Believer's mind and heart takes great patience and love. Unity is not gained nor does corruption disappear by merely saying-mouthing the words, "I've sinned, please forgive me."

Those with prolonged sin lack the faith that unity with God will meet their needs. They fear giving up their rituals of hopelessness. They cling to a relationship with a god they've created from their own militant ignorance. The Holy Spirit uses the consequences of sin and/or the confrontation of believers to invite repentance. God calls the erring believer, continuing in sin, to return to God through Godly sorrow. A believer distraught by Godly sorrow chooses righteousness, all other sorrows are further deceptions of the hardened heart.

Godly sorrow devotes itself to getting right with God and man. It's eager to be without blame, and is indignant at sin. Godly sorrow alarmed at the consequences of sin desires justice. Godly sorrow leads to confession and repentance (2 Corinthians 7:9-11).

Reconciliation is a biblical concept that addresses fallen man being restored to God, through Christ... "Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, {even} the law of commandments {contained} in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, {so} making peace; [Ephesians 2:15]

The concept of restoring a fallen leader to a former position is specifically addressed by the following examples...

Peter is an example of a New Testament leader who committed sin and responded correctly. Peter taught and practiced the heresy that all Gentile converts were to be circumcised according to Jewish laws (Galatians 2). Paul publicly rebuked Peter. Peter quickly repented from his error. Removal from leadership was unwarranted.

Hymenaeus and Alexander are two examples of teachers who left the faith (1 Timothy 1:3-20, 2 Timothy 2:14-19). Their continued teaching of heresy put them out of the Church. They were turned over to Satan for the destruction of their bodies, to save their souls.

There are many examples of those in leadership positions who continued in their former sinful nature and/or continued to teach false doctrine that brought division in the church. Paul called for these leaders to be put out of the assembly for not repenting and not being reconciled to the Christian Community (2 Thessalonians 3; 1 Corinthians 5).

The good news... James 5:13-20 "...Remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins." Let all Christians be committed to Biblical love through the ministry of reconciliation.

PRINCIPLE #1: When the Holy Spirit points out and/or reminds you there is an offense between you and another, even while in the process of worshiping, you must stop and go and do all you Biblically can to be reconciled to that person first, then return to worship.

Scripture:

Matthew 5:23-24: "Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar of whole burnt-offerings and there you remember that your brother has something against you, leave there your gift before the altar of the whole burnt-offerings and be going away. First be reconciled to your brother, and then, having come, be offering your gift."

Explanation:

Offense. The Greek word means "some, any, partly any, whatsoever, whomsoever." Therefore, the offense is anything that comes between two professing believers.

Reconciled. The Greek word for reconciled is diallasso. It means "to effect an alteration." In cases of mutual hostility yielding to mutual concession, diallasso is to change (someone's mind) to reconcile; make it right between people.

Reconciliation of believers is the re-establishing of Christian community where sin has wrecked it. Reconciliation is the fruit of confession, repentance, and forgiveness (2 Corinthians 2:1-11, 2 Chorinthains 7:8-13).

PRINCIPLE #2: When error or sin is perceived, it is a Christians' responsibility of love to act. God commands it!

Scripture:

Matthew 18:15: "Moreover, if your brother should commit an act of sin, be going, show him his sin with a view of convicting him of it and bringing about a confession between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have won your brother over."

Luke 17:3: "Be taking heed to yourselves. If your brother commits an act of sin, reprove him at once. And if he repents, forgive him."

Galatians 6:1: "Brethren, if, however a man be overtaken in a sin, as for you who are the spiritual ones, be restoring such a one in a spirit of meekness, taking heed to yourself lest you also be tempted."

1 Timothy 5:19-20: "Against an elder do not receive an accusation before a tribunal, except it be upon the authority of two or three who bear testimony. Those [elders] who are sinning, in the presence of all be rebuking, in order that the rest may be having fear."

Explanation:

Sin. In Matthew 18, Luke 17, and 1 Timothy 5 the Greek word for sin is hamartano, and it means "to miss the mark, to err, offend, trespass."

In Galatians 6 the Greek word for "sin" is paraptoma, which means "to side step, lapse or deviate, unintentional error, willful transgression, fall, fault, offense, sin, trespass."

Go. In Matthew 18 the Greek word for "go" is hupago, which means "to, depart, get hence, go a(-way)."

Show/rebuke. In Matthew 18 and 1 Timothy 5, the Greek word for "show" and "rebuke" is elegeho. It means "to confute, admonish, convict, convince, tell a fault, rebuke, reprove."

Reprove. In Luke 17 the Greek word for "rebuke" is epitimao. It means "censure or admonish, forbid, charge, rebuke."

Restore. In Galatians 6 the Greek word for "restore" is katartizo. It means "to complete thoroughly, repair, mend, make perfect with patience and perseverance."

Confession. The Greek word for confession is homologeo , meaning "to say the same thing," i.e., agree with, to agree with God and the accuser about the nature of the sin. In Matthew 18:15, the greek word goes beyond "to physically hear or listen," which in the Greek, is akouo. It means "to hear, give audience, be noised, reported, understand." In this usage it gives the opposite meaning as the Greek word in verse 17, parakouo, which means "to fail to hear, disobey, take no heed, neglect to hear." Therefore, the hearing called for in this passage is a hearing-understanding that leads to repentance.

Confession includes four major components: (1) the sinning Christian restoring unity with God through a humble and broken hearted-contrition; (2) Agreeing with God's view of the sin committed; (3) correcting the sin; and (4) pledging, to God, and thereby fellow Christians, not to repeat the sin. (1 John 1:9)

Contrition. In Hebrew "dakka" Psalms 34:18 crushed-broken spirit, Isaiah 57:15 "shaphal" a humble heart.

Godly sorrow devotes itself to getting right with God and man. It's eager to be without fault or blame, and is indignant at sin. Godly sorrow is alarmed at the consequences of sin and desires God's justice. Godly sorrow leads to confession and repentance (2 Corinthians 7:9-11).

Repent. In Luke 17 the Greek word for "repent" is metanoeo. It means "to think differently, or afterwards, reconsider, feel compunction, repent, to change one's mind involving both turning from sin and turning to God." The act of repentance rests first and primarily upon a spiritual as well as an intellectual comprehension of the character of sin. It perceives the depth of man's guilt, and man's duty to turn away from sin. Repentance refers to a change of moral thought and reflection following moral delinquency. This includes the act of changing one's attitude and opinion towards sin and forsaking it. The biblical principles of repentance includes sorrow and contrition.

Fruit - Evidence of Repentance: Matthew 3:8, Luke 3:8, and Acts 26:20 speak of fruit and evidences by confession and [fruit] acts - deeds- behavior - works [meet] worthy - deserving of repentance in ones heart. Only God knows a persons heart but Christians are required to assess/judge the outward expressions of a person's heart. The first acts of repentance is confession (see above) which is immediately followed by [progressive santification] spiritual growth in faith and works in thinking, acting, and

Forgive. [G863] aphiemi {af-ee'-ay-mee}; from 575 and hiemi (to send; an intens. form of eimi, to go); to send forth, in various applications (as follow): -cry, forgive, forsake, lay aside, leave, let (alone, be, go, have), omit, put (send) away, remit, suffer, yield up. To forgive is to promise/covenant not to hold against another those sins biblically repented.Christians are to have a heart of forgiveness, such as Christ displayed upon the cross (Luke 23:24) and God has toward us sinners (Colossians 3:13). But often Christians are told to GIVE forgiveness for their own health or so that their sins can be forgiven, even if the sinner is unrepentant--this is unbiblical and destructive to the individual believer, the sinner who is unrepentant, and to the body of Christ, HIS Church, as well as to the non-believer. A heart of forgiveness patiently/eagerly waits to give forgiveness, as displayed in Matthew 18:21-35 knowing that their sin against God is far greater than another human's sin against them, and by God's grace, the heart of forgiveness shows Christ's love, mercy, compassion, patience, grace, etc. thereby inviting the sinner to repent and enjoy God's wonderfulness and Christian community through repentance and believing in Christ's forgiveness of their sins and adding their forgiveness, their covenant to not hold their sins against them. God does NOT forgive where there is no repentance but God does show common grace and mercy as HE invites sinners to HIM through Godly repentance

Witnesses. The Greek word for "witnesses" in Matthew 18:16 and 1 Timothy 5:20 is martus. There are two applications:

PRINCIPLE #3: When a believer knows of a Christian's errors, sins, even if it's a personal offense, it's the responsibility of the one who knows and has been unsuccessful in accomplishing repentance and reconciliation (Step 1 of Matthew 18), to take two or three witnesses and confront the erring Christian a second time.

Scripture: Matthew 18:16: "But if he does not hear you, take with you one or two besides, in order that upon the basis of the mouth of two witnesses or three, every word may be established."

Explanation:

Confession/hear/listen. Cited above.

Take. Greek for "take" is paralambano, meaning "to take with you."

Witnesses. Cited above.

Established. The Greek word for "established" is histemi. It means to stand, abide, present, set (up), stand by, establish.

PRINCIPLE #4:When repentance and reconciliation are not achieved at Steps 1 and 2 of Matthew 18, it is the responsibility of the individual and the witnesses to tell it to the church.

Scripture: Matthew 18:17: "And if he is unwilling to hear them, tell the assembly. And if he also is unwilling to hear the assembly, let him be to you as the pagan Gentile and the tax collector."

Explanation:

Confession/hear/listen. In Matthew 18:17, cited above.

Tell. The Greek word for "tell" is epo. It means "to speak, tell, call."

Assembly. The Greek word for "church" is ekklesia. It means "religious meeting or congregation, the community of members on earth and/or saints in heaven, assembly or church."

PRINCIPLE #5: Christ promises us that where there are issues that require the completion of Matthew 18:15-17, and a least two are there for HIM and HIS purposes, that HE will be there to help with the process and the decisions. In effect, helping those involved find HIS answers in a process designed to restore Christian community. ALL issues can be resolved by using the Scriptures. Those seeking help with reconciliation are to submit to any Biblical resolution exercising Hebrews 13.

PRINCIPLE #6:There are additional biblical factors to include when confronting a Christian Leader believed to have sinned.

The Bible does not regard a leader's sin different from other believers. 1Timothy 5:19-20 requires two or more [forensic-first hand] witnesses accusing an leader/elder at a tribunal. In Matthew 18:16, Christ quotes Deuteronomy 19:15, requiring two or more witness. Leaders are human and sin and are subject to the same spiritual requirements in reconcilliation as all professing believers with one additional requirement...

they are also to be rebuked publicly so that other believers may be fearful of sinning.

What constitutes grounds for removal from office? Scripture indicates if a leader is stubbornly disobedient, and/or greatly resists or refuses reconciliation (Matthew 18:15-20), they therefore no longer qualify as an leader, and should be removed from the Church.

Therefore, a leader is removed from office because they no longer meet the qualifications of leader (1 Timothy 3, and Titus 1); The removed leader must again meet the qualifications of a leader, by demonstrating over time, Godly fruit and a mature faith, who is no longer under repraoch before consideration for leadership.

You may also benefit from reading these following helps...

  • When Should I Confront Another?
  • When to Meet
  • Biblical Principles In Reconciling Broken Relationships
  • Eight Steps to Biblical Forgivness
  • Checking Your Heart
  • Focusing Your Dispute

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