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What Is the Right Spirit of Correction?

Biblical Authority Devotional: All-Encompassing Authority, Part 2

by Steve Ham on May 20, 2011
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Steve Ham, AiG–U.S., discusses the absolute importance of treating those in error with gentleness.

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. (Galatians 6:1)

Today’s big question: what is the right spirit of correction?

Think about what happens when someone rejects or compromises the truth. After all, truth is truth, and Bible believing Christians understand that there is only one truth—the truth of Jesus. Straying from the truth is unacceptable. Since the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only lifesaving, ultimate truth, we must do everything in our power to uphold it.

It is all too easy to defend against critical error in doctrine and then to make a critical error in the practice of correction. In this series of devotions, we are considering the all encompassing authority of Jesus and His Word.

Often when we think of the authority of the Bible, we are thinking of doctrines. As an example, it is an issue of biblical authority to accept God’s Word when it comes to our beliefs on origins. To allow for millions of years in the creation account of Genesis is to place human interpretation into the text and make man’s word the authority over God’s Word. It is therefore vitally important that we defend the historical narrative of the Genesis 1–11 text against secularized thinking.

It truly is great when we see and hear people defending God’s Word against the compromised views in the world today. Yet, we must ask ourselves the question: Are we defending according to the authority of God’s Word if we defend arrogantly? Today’s verse tells us we should correct an erring brother with a spirit of gentleness. Gentleness! Has the word “gentleness” ever appeared to you as being authoritative? When the Word of God tells us to do something with gentleness, it says so with full authority. Defending the Christian faith from error within is vitally important, yet we are commanded to do so in a winsome, gentle manner.

The all-encompassing authority of Jesus means that correcting someone with gentleness carries as much authority as Genesis. That should completely shape the way we go about what we do. The point of today’s verse is not that we should avoid conflict. It tells us to restore and correct. The point is that when we restore we should do so with a spirit of gentleness. This is an authoritative command. Authority and gentleness—who but God would ever put those words together?

Today’s big idea: if we are serious about biblical authority, then we must be serious about having a gentle spirit in correction.

What to pray: ask the Lord to soften your heart.   

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