The Problem of Sin
July 13, 2021
Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that “By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.” And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven (Matthew 18:15-18).
Jesus continued His discourse on the attitude of the spiritually mature Christian toward those who struggle with spiritual immaturity. In this text Jesus focused His attention on dealing with those disciples who struggle with sin. This is an important lesson for the Christian and for the Christian church because all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8).
It is clear here that Jesus is speaking of a Christian who sins because He used the term ‘brother’. It is a general term for any follower of Jesus Christ who has believed in and received Him as Lord and Savior, regardless of being male or female, spiritually mature or immature, young or old, etc. It is a statement that is all inclusive - no one is an exception.
The word ‘sin’ literally means ‘to miss the mark’. It refers to a person who misses the standard of holiness of character and righteousness of conduct established by God. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5 - 7) it is clear that sins involve attitudes, motives, thoughts, intents, and feelings as well as conduct. Based on this God’s Word is true when the Apostle Paul cited the Old Testament in writing (Romans 3:10-18), There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one. Their throat is an open tomb; with their tongues they have practiced deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips; whose mouth is full of curing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of peace they have not known. There is no fear of God before their eyes.
But Jesus doesn’t leave us there. In this text He provides a remedy for the sinning brother and sister. That remedy is repentance through an acknowledgment of one’s sin as aided by a spiritual brother and/or sister who cares enough to confront and counsel the sinning Christian.
“Thank You, Lord Jesus, for not leaving us to continue to struggle and be destroyed in our sinfulness. Thank You for providing the means whereby we can, through the help of our Christian brothers and sisters, gain the victory over sin through repentance and spiritual discipline. Help me to be comforted by others and to give comfort to others through Your grace and mercy. To Your honor and glory, and to the helping of fellow Christians I ask, Amen.”