Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses.
As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear.
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality.
Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure.”
After all of this hard teaching from Paul, we see that these admonishments really have some teeth!
A public rebuke so that everyone else will have fear doesn’t sound like it will fit well in modern American culture, does it?
As we’ve seen from the news over the last 20 years, often times the public rebuke comes whether by the church people or by the media after a big investigation. Maybe we need that rebuke sometimes. It kind of sounds like it.
All of these admonitions should be read in the context of Paul’s other letters. 1 Corinthians talks about rebuking the willful sinner among the people, but then 2 Corinthians talks about not going too far and crushing their souls. Restore that broken brother or sister in love. It was with kindness, faithfulness, and love (Galatians 6) that you rebuked them in the first place, so restore them.
And none of this love or correction should change based on the saint’s financial or social status. If greed is choking off a poor man’s walk with Christ, we want him to see it. If greed is choking off the rich man’s walk with Christ, we want him to see it too.
The laying on of hands statement is a good summary of all of these chapters. As we lay hands on one another to pray, we are praying that God would take something of our gifts of the Holy Spirit and transfer it to the other person. It’s like a spiritual tag and it comes up in several places in the scriptures.
You want to lay hands on, and receive prayer from…pure and holy people. This sounds a little judgy, because it is. And with good reason.
That Holy Ghost-filled person that is really good at praying out loud but rude-as-hell to every waiter or waitress she comes across? (Yep, I said it! It fits.) I don’t want her to lay her hands on me and pray for a spirit of hospitality. She can keep it.
That guy that has such a humble view of reading the Bible that you can draw deep truths out him of all day long? I want that guy to pray for me!
This is why we encourage one another. We aren’t in this Christian life all alone and none of us is going to grow into the full Body of Christ alone. We resist sin like our sins are forgiven and we have no use of them anymore. We help one another, in love, to see our blind spots and in humility, we will all grow up together to be the Church we know God wants us to be.
You can get the Daily Bible Readings to your inbox via email every day by subscribing on our home page. Join the discussion on Facebook or Twitter.