‘Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you, who live by the Spirit, should restore that person gently.’ Galatians 6:1a
The grace, mercy and peace that Paul asks God to bestow on Timothy, approach us in every line of the passage we have just read. Paul calls upon his son in the faith, Timothy, to command certain people how to behave. And he also tells him, how he should command.
We can learn a lot of this.
The church in Ephesus was endangered by people who had turned to meaningless talk and wanted to be teachers of the law, but who did not have the mindset of Christ. The same danger we face in the churches of today. Many people seek to use the gospel to subdue others. They misuse the word of God to satisfy their own ambitions. When this happens, only difficulties arise, struggle and bitterness, and we do not experience the guidance of God in our life any longer.
How many people command others only because they feel the need to assert themselves! Just think of a teacher with his pupils, a mother with her children, or a church with its members. Are the commands given on behalf of the pupils, the children or the church members? Or on behalf of the peace and honor of the teacher, the mother or the church?
Paul says (:5) that the goal of all commands is, that the love can be fully enjoyed again from a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith. If we do not have this mindset anymore, faith will change into meaningless talk. But where love reigns, there is strength of faith. Then again we find the deep fulfillment of our life that Jesus had in mind, when He spoke on the cross: ‘It is finished.’