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Godly Correction, 1/16/15

One matter of needed understanding in the church in any time and especially in a time like this is the question of how to go about correcting a brother in Christ in a godly way.  In a word it needs to be done in love but implicit in that concept of Love is also the Truth.  Scripture makes it clear that Love and Truth are the same person:

Jesus is God:

John 1:1 New King James Version (NKJV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

And God is Love:

1 John 4:8
He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

Therefore Jesus is Love. 

Jesus is also the Way the Truth and the Life:

John 14:6
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Therefore, Love and Truth are the same person, our King Jesus.  So keeping in love does not mean that we are to not be direct with the truth but we are to be careful not to use truth as a club.

Jesus exemplifies good ministry the best of all, obviously.  Notice that in the Sermon on the Mount that he leads off with the Beattitudes which are rich with all manner of blessing and affirmation of the people:

Matthew 5:1-16 New King James Version (NKJV)
5 And seeing the multitudes, He went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. 2 Then He opened His mouth and taught them, saying:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
    For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
    For they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
    For they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
    For they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
    For they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
    For they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
    For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
    For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

This is how he wants to teach us all to lead off, with blessing.  He goes on to teach admonish, in the sermon but only after blessing first.

The apostle Paul, a friend of the Lord Jesus in the Spirit in his mature later years, who followed his example lead off the same way, always blessing the people his letters to the churches and affirming their identity in Christ before speaking anything else:

1 Corinthians 1:1-3 New King James Version (NKJV)
1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother,
2 To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The book of Galatians also begins with Paul's standard blessing and affirmation:

Galatians 1:1-5 New King James Version (NKJV)
1 Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead), 2 and all the brethren who are with me,
To the churches of Galatia:
3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4 who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.

But the book of Galatians goes on to be a rebuke of the Galatian church for their waywardness in drifting from the truth message of the gospel that Paul had originally preached to them.  So it is an excellent demonstration of leading with belssing before launching into correction.

And again we see the same pattern with the Apostle John in Revelation:

Revelation 1:4-6New King James Version (NKJV)
4 John, to the seven churches which are in Asia:
Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth.
To Him who loved us and washed[a] us from our sins in His own blood, 6 and has made us kings[b] and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

And from this original blessing and affirmation he goes on to deliver words of correction to most of the seven churches.

So we see clearly that the scriptural pattern for correction always includes allowing for the blessing of ones identity in Christ, which we would never want to undermine, as well as affirmation of any good virtues in their life.  This approach affirms the true person and softens their heart to help them not be defensive but rather to allow the word of correction to go in and bring the desired result of bringing the brother into better alignment with the ways of God thereby benefiting the person and the whole family of God.

So be blessed and let's learn to correct one another in love of truly we all need correction from time to time!!

-Stephen Pursell, 1/16/15