What if Achan were here today?
Published 2:26 am Friday, March 24, 2006
Achan was the man who took the gold, the silver and the clothing during the conquest of Jericho in direct disobedience to the command of God (Joshua 7:21). The command was that the conquering soldiers could take nothing for themselves (Joshua 6:18).
The sin of Achan defiled the entire nation of Israel and caused them to be unable to stand before their enemies (Joshua 7:11-12). God required Joshua to seek out the guilty party and destroy him and his family before Israel could proceed in the conquest of Canaan (Joshua 7:15). Joshua went through the people searching for the guilty party. God led him to Achan. Achan was confronted, condemned, and destroyed (Joshua 7:18-19, 25).
We do not see any parallels in the New Testament of “an Achan in the camp” or a “Jonah in the boat,” in that a group of people suffer directly for the disobedience of an individual. The grace of God ministered through the Spirit of God by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ has changed things. Achan and Jonah were under law. Mercy was dispensed, but it was more the exception than the rule.
The message of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that He, through His death, burial, and resurrection, has satisfied the righteous judgment of God, and you and I more or less get a pass if we by faith repent of our sin and put ourselves under the blood of Jesus Christ.
If Achan were here today, his sin would still defile the body of Christ and cause great damage, but the method of dealing with an Achan is vastly different.
Jesus taught in the gospel of Matthew that before we judge another, we need to take a long look at ourselves. We cannot be passive and ignore the obvious offenses of others.
Jesus illustrates the process in Matthew, chapter 7, verses 2-5. Jesus likened the offense of another person as a speck in their eye. In other words, it was barely discernible, but for us as examiner, we had to get the plank or the log out of our own eye. Jesus said it is hypocritical to condemn others when we have unresolved offenses in our lives (Matthew 7:5).
We are mostly ineffective in helping other people see their blind spots because we are too proud and self-deceived to be honest about ourselves. A ministry of the Holy Spirit is to convict of sin. Another ministry of the Holy Spirit is to anoint and empower the message of the gospel, but in both cases, human instrumentality is crucial. God can do anything any way He wants to, but in this age, He has chosen, for the most part, to limit Himself to human vessels. If we do not step up, the work of Christ is hindered.
The Apostle Paul taught in the New Testament book of Galatians, chapter 6, verses 1-2, that we are to be proactive in restoring a fallen brother or sister in Christ. Most of us prefer the methods used with Achan: confront, condemn, and consign to the pit. Sadly, it seems the reputation of the body of Christ is more condemnation than restoration.
If Achan were here today in this age of grace, we could not excuse what he did. We would be compelled to prepare ourselves with humility, self-examination, confession, and repentance. Then, when we are prepared before God, we must gently approach the offender with the full motive of restoration, being very careful lest we also are tempted (Galatians 6:1). That approach under the anointing of the Holy Spirit can melt the hardest heart.
Achan is here today; that is, there are many who are caught up in sins of every kind. There is some biblical restoration going on, but for the most part, there is either the message of condemnation or the message of tolerance for every conceivable type of action and lifestyle.
God has not changed; His truth still stands. Jesus Christ died for sinners. The gospel changes lives.
The greatest love any person can have is to gently approach a person caught up in sin, whether they are a believer or not, and share with them openly and honestly where we see them standing before God.
In the Old Testament God said, “Kill Achan!” In the New Testament God says, “Love him, correct him, and restore him.”