As Paul is winding up the book of Romans, he tells us that, as believers, we are able to admonish one another when biblically necessary. That means risking what people may think, even their rejection, to speak the truth in love when there is an issue that is hurting others, hindering their walk with God, or hurting the cause of Christ.
In our fast changing world, many things that were once universally considered wrong are now called right. Speaking up when God’s standards are at stake is going to be more and more costly … but God’s grace will abound to those who remain faithful to God and His Word.
And notice to whom this passage was written and what we need to do before we go to someone.
Also, when it comes to our political leaders, how should a clear understanding of God’s sovereignty and His commands concerning authority, effect how we speak and respond now?
Should You Admonish a Sinning Brother or Sister?
For Our Benefit
Verse 4, “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”
The Scriptures, in particular the Old Testament (like the book of Job which we are going through), were written so that we might grow and learn by the examples of others, good and bad. God patiently instructs us in how we should change and shows us the results of unbiblical living. And as we grow and come to understand God’s love and grace, we find comfort in His faithfulness to those who remained devoted to Him.
Admonishing When Needed
Let’s look at one more verse in Romans 15:
“Now I myself am confident concerning you, my brethren, that you also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another” (v. 14).
Notice this verse is not written to pastors or counselors or spiritual leaders. It was written to the believers at Rome and by extension to us as believers. Paul says all of us are “able to admonish one another.” That word for admonish means, “exhort, admonish, and instruct.” Admonish means, “to rebuke or to advise or warn someone to do, or not do, something.”
So God expects us to be willing to get our hands dirty, to risk what people may think of us and even rejection, at times, to speak the truth in love to those who are sinning, as well as, those who need encouragement.
However, we must guard against a harsh or self-righteous attitude. We are to confront others lovingly, gently, tentatively, especially if we’re not sure of the circumstances, and humbly. That requires checking our own motives and a careful self-examination to make sure we take the logs out of our own eyes first (Matt. 7.3-5).
“Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6.1).
Today’s Other Readings:
Understanding and Comfort from a Book like Job
As we continue to read through God’s Word, especially the book of Job, it’s tempting to grow tired or get confused by all that is happening. As we read of Job’s sufferings, his friends’ lack of mercy and grace, and God’s silence so far, we should ask ourselves some questions:
How will coming to understand this better help me be more patient in my sufferings and disappointments? How can I learn to trust God more? What can I learn from listening to Job’s “comforters“? What can I learn from Job about responding to unjust criticism?
Often when we fail to grow in our understanding of Scripture it’s because we fail to ask the right questions.
I Shall Come Forth as Gold!
Job 23.9-10, “When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him; when He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him. But He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.”
What a great statement of faith after all Job had been through! We may not be able to “see” what God is doing “on the right hand” of our lives. We may not understand why he is allowing something else “on the left.” But if we understand the goodness of God, the trustworthiness of God, and the faithfulness of God, we can know that if we will stay focused on Him, we, too, will have been tested and refined and come forth as gold!
If you feel that you are being tested and you’re struggling to understand or if you want to help someone who is, James MacDonald has an incredible book and study called When Life is Hard available in print or on Kindle . You can also buy a video Bible study kit from his website Walk in the Word.
You can also read more about this subject in two of my recent posts:
Voting & Our Current Leadership
Verse 10, “Say among the nations, ‘The LORD reigns; the world also is firmly established, it shall not be moved; He shall judge the peoples righteously.’”
Though this is referring to the millennial kingdom where Jesus Christ will rule with perfect judgment and righteousness, we can have a measure of this on earth today.
Proverbs 29.2 says:
“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan.”
When our elections roll around, we need to remember this verse. Righteousness is more important than intelligence or political party or anything else, for when the righteous are in authority, “the people rejoice.”
The righteousness spoken of here is not our idea of what’s right or what seems expedient for us. It is what a person says and does about God’s righteous standards.
Too many people today “vote their pocketbook”—with a selfish “what will be best for me” attitude. As believers we need to care about what God cares about. What does it say about our opinion of God and his Word if we can vote for a person who supports the murder of innocent children in the womb or other ungodly behavior?
We complain about the moral and spiritual condition of our country and then continue to vote for men and women who refuse to acknowledge God as God. Saying he or she believes in God is not the same as acknowledging Him as God. To acknowledge Him as God means making decisions based on His standards.
I didn’t comment on this a couple of days ago in the first part of Romans 13. But if God is sovereign (and He is!), once an election is over we need to accept the results and begin to pray for those He has placed in authority. God works through whomever He desires. Whether we like that person or not, we are bucking God when we disrespect those He has placed in authority.
For exaltation comes neither from the east
Nor from the west nor from the south.
But God is the Judge:
He puts down one,
And exalts another (Ps. 75.6-7).
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves (Rom. 13.1-2).
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence (1 Tim. 2.1-2).
Fools Despise Wisdom
“Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words.”
Jesus said it this way, don’t “cast your pearls before swine” (Matt. 7.6). On occasion I have someone come and ask me to call a friend or loved one who needs counseling. When I ask a few questions to find out why the other person hasn’t contacted me herself, I sometimes hear, “She says she doesn’t want to come because she knows what you’re going to say and she doesn’t want to hear it.”
There are a few exceptions, times when we’re commanded in Scripture to go to someone, but often it’s a waste of time to try to counsel someone who is foolishly going his or her own way. Often a fool only understands consequences (Prov. 26.3). Sometimes we have to let the consequences run their course before they see their need for counseling and change.
In the next few days we’ll talk about the wonders of creation, whether or not to spank your children, and ways to avoid living by a roller coaster of emotions. Be sure to sign up so you won’t miss any of these upcoming posts.
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