"Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load."
Paul, The Apostle of Grace
Is it possible for a fellow believer to become addicted to a specific sin?
And when that happens, who should seek to restore that person and how should restoration happen?
Paul tells us in Galatians 6:1-5, the above verses.
Who Should Restore?
According to Paul, who was mentored by the Jesus after he ascended into heaven, restoration should be done by those who live by the Spirit.
What does it mean to live by the Spirit?
To live by the Spirit, in the context of Galatians, is to no longer live by the law of Moses where a person seeks to be justified by religious activity and morality, but rests completely by faith in the grace of God, which is everything God has freely, fully, and forever given to us in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus (Galatians 2:21, Galatians 5:4).
In the context of Galatians, the person who lives by the Spirit lives by faith in Jesus who loves him and gave his life for him, rather than by the law of Moses (Galatians 2:20).
Those who live by the Spirit live in a personal, grace-based, love- relationship with God where they call God "Abba Father" (Galatians 4:4-6).
They do not relate to God in fear as slaves under law (Romans 8:14-16; Galatians 4:7).
They do not relate to God through religious performance to gain God's acceptance.
Those who live by the Spirit understand the grace of God, meaning God's unconditional love and acceptance, unmerited kindness, unearned blessings, and unlimited forgiveness freely, fully, and forever given to us in Jesus.
Those who live by the Spirit are not ashamed of the grace of God.
They do not condemn those who teach grace, because they, too, are teachers of grace.
Since they are aware of the depths of their own sin, and how easily it would be for themselves to be caught up in the same sin their brother or sister is caught in, they have a deep appreciation for grace.
These are the ones, the ones who walk by the Spirit not by the law, who should go and restore a brother or sister entrapped in or addicted to a specific sin.
The goal of those who seek out fellow believers caught in a sin is restoration...to bring them back to spiritual, mental, emotional, relational, and physical health.
Why does Paul say for those who live by the Spirit to go to this sin- sick brother or sister?
Because the law-based believer would go with a prideful spirit of judgment and condemnation, rather than a humble spirit of grace and restoration.
Condemnation does not bring restoration...grace brings restoration.
If law-based believers were to go to one caught in a sin, they would push that one deeper into sin.
In the context of Galatians, the non-spiritual ones (but highly religious and externally moral), had deserted grace for law (Galatians 1:6).
They were not the ones who should go and help a fellow believer.
The spiritual ones were those who were living completely under grace and who had matured in grace.
It was those living under and matured in grace whom Paul instructed to go to a brother or sister who was addicted to a specific sin.
How Should They Go?
When a brother or sister is caught up in a sin, the ones who go to him or her should go in a spirit of grace...an attitude of gentleness and kindness.
The one caught up in sin already feels condemnation, guilt, and shame.
They do not need a law-based believer heaping more condemnation, guilt, and shame upon them.
No...they need grace.
They need someone who will come to them in an attitude of humility, lavishing upon them God's unconditional love and acceptance, unmerited kindness, unearned blessings, and unlimited forgiveness.
It is in this response of grace to the one trapped in sin that restoration begins...that healing begins.
So, is it possible for fellow believers to become addicted to sin?
According to Paul, who is to go to them?
Only those who walk in the Spirit...only those who relate to God as their loving Father under grace, rather than their judge under law, should go to fellow believers caught up in a sin.
So rather than judging from afar those caught up in sin with an attitude of law-based condemnation, let's love them up close with an attitude of grace-based restoration.