As parents we find out firsthand how important it is to correct our children’s wrong behavior. We soon understand that if a child is allowed to engage in detrimental behavior, they can eventually harm themselves or cause harm to others. It is a parent’s responsibility to lead their children on the proper path, to direct them to an understanding of what is expected in this world that God created for us. We try to instill in them a love of God that helps set them on a course to salvation. Correcting one’s child is a fine line though. We must temper our need to correct while making certain they know we do this out of our love for them. In other words we must always love our child, no matter what they do and separate that “wrong” behavior from our “right” child. We learn that we must love the child even while we hate the sin. Hebrews 12: 5-9 “And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as children? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as His child.” 7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as His children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined – and everyone undergoes discipline – then you are not legitimate children at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had parents who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!”
Our brothers and sisters in Christ are also children of God. What is our responsibility as Christians when our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are in error, and wander away from God’s direction. How do we endeavor to correct these children of God. 2 Timothy 4: 2-5 “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage – with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people 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. 4 They will turn their ears away from the Truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, and discharge all the duties of your ministry.” We need to be prepared to speak the needed word, whether of correction, of rebuke or of encouragement. We cannot sit back and ignore our brothers and sisters as they fall prey to a false gospel. It is our responsibility as faithful witnesses to do the difficult thing and speak out for our Lord.
The doctrine of bound conscience places man’s opinion above God’s Word. Many children of God that are not strong in the Spirit, will follow this false gospel, thereby putting their salvation at risk. Bound conscience minimizes and justifies those sins one truly believes are no longer wrong. This false gospel will eventually cause sin to be disregarded altogether. If man is left to his own devices and disregards God’s will, we will fall into the abyss of sin. 2 Timothy 2: 25-26 “Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” We must speak out against this false doctrine of bound conscience. Any and all Scripture is at risk to be disregarded by those that place their own earthly desires above God’s will. If we fail to stand up for our Lord, will we bear the responsibility for all our brothers and sisters that embrace this false gospel and fall away from God?