Normally, I like to introduce a CTT post by sharing something I’ve heard and then exploring what Scripture says. Today, we’ll be doing it in reverse order. I want to examine a passage of scripture and then discuss the point made in the title as it pertains to the Church today.
Galatians 6:1-10 (ESV)
Galatians 6:1-10 (ESV) | Bear One Another’s Burdens
1 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. 3 For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load. 6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Paul is talking to the Church, to Christians, about the need to restore fellow Christians who are caught in a transgression… in any transgression. With all that is going on in the media today, one might expect this post to be about the Ashley Madison hack where some 37 Million people were exposed as adulterers. While that is horrible and needs to be addressed, that is not what I am most concerned about today. My concern today goes to a young woman who discovers she is pregnant as the result of sin.
The Pregnancy is not the Sin
Whether we are dealing with pre-martial sex, extra-marital sex, incest, or even rape, it is critically important that we, the Body of Christ, do not get sloppy in identifying the sin. We must ever preach the Law, properly identifying sin and trusting in God the Holy Spirit to convict us of our sin… but we must not leave it there, for we must also preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sin. But we must guard against the evil lies of the enemy that seek to shame the young mother into sacrificing her baby to Molech (Lev 20:1-3) in hopes of being forgiven for the sin… adding the sin of murder (abortion) improves nothing.
To the young lady who just discovered she is now pregnant before her wedding… the sex is the sin… not the baby.
To the married woman who is found to be with child from someone other than her husband… the adultery is the sin… not the baby.
To the young man who just discovered he was responsible for the conception of a baby as a direct result of his sin… the sexual immorality is the sin… not the baby.
To the church, whenever someone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
The Law is unchanged by circumstance or emotion… the wages of sin is still death. Dear Christian, we do not seek to soften the Law; rather, to be clear and precise in application of the Law to expose sin and transgression. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict the individual of sin unto repentance. As Christians, we are called to bear on another’s burdens, to restore in a spirit of gentleness while keeping watch over ourselves. The pre-marital sex is sin, and must cease. The adultery is sin and must cease. Repentance is required and by faith forgiveness is assured. For some clarity, let us look one of the pastoral epistles, that of 2 Timothy.
2 Timothy 2 (ESV) | A Good Soldier of Christ Jesus
2 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3 Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. 5 An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. 7 Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.
8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel, 9 for which I am suffering, bound with chains as a criminal. But the word of God is not bound! 10 Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11 The saying is trustworthy, for:
If we have died with him, we will also live with him;
12 if we endure, we will also reign with him;
if we deny him, he also will deny us;
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful—
for he cannot deny himself.
A Worker Approved by God
14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, 17 and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. 19 But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”
20 Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.
22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
Now let us be clear, that we are not talking about a cleansing of the self by the works of your human hands; rather, we are talking about the working of faith in repentance granted by God the Holy Spirit through hearing the word of Christ. This isn’t a call for penance, or self-punishment, and we are definitely not talking about taking the life of your baby to make the sin go away. This is a call to repentance for the sin, and to trust in God for provision for you and the baby. The baby is a gift from God sent for His glory. Let’s look now at Paul’s instructions to the Colossians.
Colossians 3 (ESV) | Put On the New Self
3 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity,passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 On account of these the wrath of God is coming. 7 In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice,slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts,kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Rules for Christian Households
18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.
So, we have our Law and Gospel… that the sexual immorality is sin, but the pregnancy, the baby, the conception is not. That doesn’t make anything easy… and I truly hope no one thinks I’m suggesting any of this is easy. While I cannot speak to all possible scenarios, I will say that God is Sovereign and that He is the Good Shepherd. He takes care of us in ways we simply cannot comprehend. In closing, let us turn to James 1 for proper encouragement in these days. Whether you are the one found pregnant, or the brother or sister helping to bear the burden of another… let us find comfort in these words.
James 1:1-18 (ESV)
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ,
To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greetings.
2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.
9 Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like a flower of the grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So also will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits.
12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.14 But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Each man/woman is tempted when he/she is lured and enticed by his/her own desire. The birthing in this passage is actually referring to the transition from temptation into sin, for the sake of this discussion that sin is the sexual immorality that led to pregnancy.
To the victim of rape, both you and your baby are victims of the sin of a third-party. Don’t let the enemy lie to you and somehow convince you that you are in any way a victim of the baby. That the baby’s conception came as a consequence of sin does not make the pregnancy a sin. Let the church share your pain, and the burden of the cares of this world. Let the Church encourage you to cast your cares upon Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith.
In Christ Jesus,