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None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one (Romans 3:10-12).
Rebukeable people typically have humble and wise perspectives about themselves. They are rebukeable because the gospel has rightly informed them about their past, present, and future. Being informed by the gospel means they were in a helpless and worthless condition before the Lord chose to save them. (See Romans 3:10-12, 23, 5:12; Isaiah 64:6; 1 Timothy 1:15) They lived alienated from the life that anyone could have in God (Ephesians 4:18). This condition was the Lord’s view of them before salvation. They were dead in their sins, hell-bound, and outside God’s grace (Ephesians 2:1-10).
If you have been born again (John 3:7; Romans 10:9, 13), you are a child of the King, a person who has gone from the worst possible position a person could be to the best possible place a person will ever enjoy. Nothing anyone could say to you is worse than what the Lord has previously declared about you. Understanding this aspect of the gospel prevents you from fearing what others can say or do to you. Couple this gospel truth with who you are in Christ; most assuredly, you have nothing to protect or hide (Romans 8:31-39).
If you are not living daily in this gospel truth, temptation from your insecurity will motivate you to protect and defend your reputation before others. That kind of pride will truncate the effectiveness with which your friends can speak into your life, a soul-stunting posture before the Lord and others. We need a few appropriate people to have the freedom to speak into our lives. I’m not suggesting that everyone should have the freedom to state their opinions about you, especially if you’re unsure of their affection for you, but there should be at least one close confidant in your life. Those closest to you should have the most liberty to share their genuine perspective of you.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for (1) teaching, for (2) reproof, for (3) correction, and for (4) training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
While the gospel is good news, its message implies there is terrible news. We would not need the good news if there was no bad news. You see this concept of bad-to-good news in Paul’s sequential keys to Christian maturity that he laid out for his friend Timothy. He taught that teaching brings reproof, which is supposed to knock us off our feet. That is the bad news. Thankfully, the Spirit of God would never leave us down and out (Psalm 23:3). He is a healer who binds our wounds (Psalm 147:3). A careful and accurate rebuke from the Lord paves the way for Him to implement His corrective measures.
The word “correction” means to be stood up or made erect. We must know the Lord wants to correct us because God is a fixer. He does not rebuke us because He enjoys bringing pain into our lives. There is always a redemptive purpose to His corrections. If we do not believe this, we will be tentative about receiving His reproof (Hebrews 12:6). Of course, some will argue that they don’t mind being rebuked by God, but the correction of sinful people rubs them the wrong way. This reality is a problem for sure.
It would be great if we all gave all reproof in perfect ways, but that is impossible among fallen people. Imperfect people reproving imperfect people will have an element of imperfection in it. Though there is a lot to say about wrongful rebukes, the point here is whether we are mature enough and hungry enough to find “the Lord’s rebuke” even through imperfect vessels. Can we learn anything from a poorly given rebuke? We can if our goal is Christian maturity. Maybe later, we can help the person who rebuked you badly, but for today, what can I learn even from an imperfect correction? Is there something I need to change?
Rick launched the Life Over Coffee global training network in 2008 to bring hope and help for you and others by creating resources that spark conversations for transformation. His primary responsibilities are resource creation and leadership development, which he does through speaking, writing, podcasting, and educating.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology and, in 1991, a BS in Education. In 1993, he received his ordination into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).