Flawed Vessels

“But we have this treasure in earthen containers,
so that the extraordinary greatness of the power
will be of God and not from ourselves…”
2 Corinthians 4:7 (NASB)

“Brothers and sisters,
even if a person is caught in any wrongdoing,
you who are spiritual are to restore such a person
in a spirit of gentleness;
each one looking to yourself,
so that you are not tempted as well.”
Galatians 6:1 (NASB)

The last 60 years or so we have seen a tragic number of Christian leaders who have had moral failure. It breaks our hearts to learn of these situations and to see how their churches and/or Christian organizations have struggled to continue their ministry. Those who are young in the faith and who have been blessed by the ministry of these leaders have struggled desperately to maintain their faith.

What are we to say in light of these dark revelations? Some Christians suggest these people must not have been Christians in the first place and were rather “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Matt. 7:15). Others suggest that these people lost their salvation by committing such terrible moral failure.

Whatever we say about the status of these people, it is very important for us to keep our focus on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is not our right to make categorical statements about the spiritual status of such people, rather we need to recall Paul’s words, when he said, “The Lord knows who are His.” (2 Timothy 2:19).

There is nothing better for us when our faith is severely challenged than to read the stories of the Friend of sinners recorded in the Gospels. We will find remarkable encouragement to help us as we see how the Good Shepherd time and time again called sinners to turn from sin and find forgiveness in Him.

It does not matter how great the sin, God’s grace is infinite and able to cover it. But we must remember that though God’s grace is infinite, so none need despair, His patience is not, so all need to come immediately.

If you have committed a great sin, whether it is known to many, or if it is your personal secret, the Friend of sinners invites you to turn from it and find forgiveness in Him. He waits to hear from you.

For those who have a friend or family member who is caught in some sin, you should gently rebuke them if you qualify to do so (see Galatians 6:1). Remind them that the Lord Jesus has drawn sinners of every type to Himself.

All believers are flawed and capable of great sin. People like King David (a murderer and adulterer), Abraham (a liar), Jonah (a rebel), and others did great work for the Lord, were His people, but committed tragic sin.

We need daily grace to ward off temptation of all types. Only as we walk closely with our Master will we avoid sinful behaviour such as we have heard of in the lives of some Christian leaders. By walking close with Jesus, I mean spiritual disciplines such as daily Bible reading and memorization, daily prayer, and regular public worship.

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