When Down is Up Bible Study

Sometimes Being Down Has a God Purpose and we must be careful not to interfere with God's conviction by offering "unsanctified mercy." This short Bible study explains.

As an introduction to the study, please read the 1-minute devotion When Down is Up - Let People Repent.

It discusses "unsanctified grace." This is a kind of grace that contradicts, downplays, or denies God's work in the heart of a fellow Christian. 

The following passage tells us that there is a time and place for conviction and sorrow for our sins. We must be careful not to interfere with the Lord's work:

"Let there be tears for what you have done. Let there be sorrow and deep grief. Let there be sadness instead of laughter, and gloom instead of joy. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor." James 4:9-10

When someone is convicted of a sin, we can comfort and encourage them that God will help them overcome their sins, but we should never dissuade genuine sorrow for sin. 

And we should also feel sorrow for our sins.

What do the passages below tell us about sorrow for sin?

Sometimes Being Down Has a God Purpose and we must be careful not to interfere with God's conviction by offering "unsanctified mercy." This short Bible study explains.
Isaiah 66:2
: "My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine. I, the Lord, have spoken! I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word." 

When our hearts are right with God, we realize our sinfulness more easily and regret it more fully. Far from being bad for our "self-image," it is good for us to realize our weaknesses and our need for our Savior. 

Warren Wiersbe says: "Isaiah’s message has been, 'Be comforted by the Lord!' … But God cannot comfort rebels! If we are sinning against God and comfortable about it, something is radically wrong. That false comfort will lead to false confidence, and that will lead to the chastening hand of God."(1)

Psalm 51:16-17: "You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. 17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise." 

Coming to God in genuine repentance honors God. It is fitting to agree with His truth and admit our disobedience. 

1 John 1:8-10:  "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us."

When we overlook or excuse our sins, we become self-deceived and reject God's Word. Like Satan in the Garden, we call God a liar. 

You might like reading "Innocent," a devotion I wrote about the time we lived in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, and my encounters with all of the "innocent" men at the military prison.

(1) Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). Be Comforted. “Be” Commentary Series (163). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

Copyright 2013, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com, edited and updated 2020

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1 comment:

  1. I also am reminded of Gal 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. —I was taught to think of how a broken bone is restored...first it’s carefully put right (ouch), then it’s held in place and encouraged to knit back to wholeness.