GOD’S FIRST RESPONDERS
There are those whose sins have so overcome them that they are as one who thought only to play with fire, yet are now engulfed in flames. God calls us to “rescue” such sinners. Not gently, but boldly “snatching them from the flames.” Our manner is to be guided by the severity of the sin and its imminent outcome. In contrast to the “shameless shepherds” (Jude 12), who only care for themselves, we are to risk our lives to rescue sinners caught in a self-inflicted conflagration. For rescuers often get burned themselves. Yet, we act as the hands of Christ, depending on His gospel and power to rescue.
Then there are those who need our mercy and compassion. Their sins hang on them like filthy clothes. Let us remember what Jesus commanded those who witnessed His raising of Lazarus from the dead, “Take off his grave clothes and let him go” (John 11:44). Such a one may be born again, but still needs help removing the old fleshly garment of sin, which is the old nature. We are to mercifully teach them to put off the old nature and to put on the new.
We are to be as God’s first responders, sometimes as God’s fireman, rescuing sinners from sin’s flames, and other times as God’s paramedics, helping cut away their still smoking clothes.