The purpose of church restoration is the spiritual healing of a fallen member and the consequent strengthening of the church and glorifying of the Lord. When a sinning believer is rebuked and turns from his sin and is forgiven, he is won back to fellowship with the body and with its head, Jesus Christ.
In His own words, here is the Lord’s perspective and instruction to the Church on these occasions:
1. The seriousness of sin:
1 Corinthians 6:12-19 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. Food is for the stomach and the stomach is for food, but God will do away with both of them. Yet the body is not for immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body. Now God has not only raised the Lord, but will also raise us up through His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take away the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? May it never be! Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, “The two shall become one flesh.” But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.
2. The immense worth of the repentant sinner:
Luke 15:4-7 “What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
3. The vital ministry of restoration:
Galatians 6:1-2 Brethren, if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.
4. The need to forgive completely:
Matt. 6:14 For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will forgive you too; but if you do not forgive people, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses.
We forgive the repentant one with our hearts and restore them to fellowship when they repent. The word restore means to repair something, or bring it back to its original condition; therefore, we are to begin a whole process of relational rebuilding that helps put the life of the repentant sinner back on the walk with the Spirit that they had before they sinned. The process is to hold them up and build them up with love, forgiveness, and a humble heart, realizing that we fall, too, because we’re not exempt from the weaknesses of the flesh. Spiritual pride and vainglory have no place among Believers, as there is not one of us that is better than another.