Restoration of Fallen Believer
What does New Testament teach concerning restoration of believers who have been involved in some sort of moral failure? That is subject of this paper. It will not be a long dissertation because answer is simple Ė forgiveness.
Our primary text on this subject is found in writings of Paul
Gal 6:1 ∂ Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
The Greek terminology Paul uses to describe manner in which sinning believer is faced with his wrong doing is extremely pointed.
Overtaken: 4301 prolambano prol-am-baní-o 1) to take before 2) to anticipate, to forestall 3) to take one by forestalling (him i.e. before he can flee or conceal his crime) 3a) surprise, detect
A couple of modern translations bring out Paulís meaning even more clearly than King James.
Williams: Brothers, if anybody is caught in very act of doing wrong, you who are spiritual, in spirit of gentleness, must set him right; each of you continuing to think of yourself, for you may be tempted too
Phillips Even if a man should be detected in some sin, my brothers, spiritual ones among you should quietly set him back on right path, not with any feeling of superiority, but being yourselves on guard against temptation.
This is reminiscent of words of Jesus when Pharisees brought before Him woman caught IN THE ACT of adultery.
John 8: 1 ∂ Jesus went unto mount of Olives. 2 And early in morning he came again into temple, and all people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. 3 And scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in very act. 5 Now Moses in law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on ground, as though he heard them not. 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on ground. 9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at eldest, even unto last: and Jesus was left alone, and woman standing in midst. 10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.