Wednesday 4 December 2013


Should we use scripture only to bless others and rule out its use for correction or rebuke?

Sugar-coated messages are soothing to the ear. By nature, people like to hear words of comfort, encouragement and blessing.

Speaking positive words from scripture to bless and encourage others has been the usual practice. Out of politeness or fear of upsetting good relationships, we are afraid to use the Word to correct or rebuke.

We say to ourselves, “It is better not to rock the boat.” Let the status quo remain. Let sleeping dogs lie. Let us not ruffle some feathers.


     Let's enjoy the cruise. Better not to rock the boat. 

It is sad but true that God’s word is seldom used for correction or rebukewhereas it is meant to be positive and negative.

Let’s consider these two references in Paul’s teaching:

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encouragewith great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:2-4).

Love is not all soft and mushy. It is not all candy floss. Unless truth is upheld, we are just being wishy washy with our faith, fearful of confronting error or sinwhether it is in us or others.

God is love. He is slow to anger, quick to forgive and chose us while we were yet sinners. He loved us so much He sent Jesus to die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. 

But He is also a God of justice and righteousness. “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; love and faithfulness go before you” (Psalm 89:14).

We ought to speak the truth in love so that error or sin will be exposed for what it is and set aright (Ephesians 4:15). Eventually the whole body of Christ will attain maturity.

A serious blunder is the failure to acknowledge that we need correction. It was this sinwhich smacks of pride and spiritual blindnessfor which the church at Laodicea was condemned: You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realise that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (Revelation 3:17).

Another blunder is refusing to allow God’s word to “perform heart surgery” on us. In other words, we're not willing to let scripture expose our innermost thoughts, intentions and desires.

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). 

If we merely espouse “feel good” teaching and fail to expose sin or error, we are heading the wrong way.

Sometimes, we may have to rock the boat. Rebuke and correction are never easy tasks to undertake. It may upset people when we try to change the situation. But, for the sake of truth, whatever is necessary must be done.

"Faith is good only when it engages truth; when it is made to rest upon falsehood it can and often does lead to eternal tragedy."  – A. W. Tozer

Caveat: Before proceeding with correction, it is important to first build a relationship out of love and respect. Furthermore, it's not merely the words used in correction that matter; it's also about attitude and tone of voice. 


Some assert that those who preach and teach God’s word are to be more “seeker-sensitive”. If that’s the case, does it mean we’re supposed to give them what they would like to hear?

Did Paul bend over backwards to try to please others? Yes, in a sense. But it was not at the expense of truth, which was never compromised:

For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.
(1 Corinthians 9:19-23)


When we fail to teach sound doctrine and stand up for truth

Harbouring an image of God that is attractive and agreeable has its dangers.

Minimising the significance of harsh truths has its dangers

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