I John 2:1a says, “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin.” This verse reflects the role of the pastor. The beginning words of endearment set the tone, making it clear that this man loves the people that he’s writing to. This is the ground for pastoral counsel, and it reflects an ideal: Pastors teach the truth, honestly and in love. Pastors practice what they preach. People listen, respond in good faith, and don’t sin.
But of course we live in the real and not the ideal world. Pastors are imperfect people. Often our sermons are things that we aspire to, more than being perfect reflections of our character. Plus we make our share of mistakes. And even when we’re doing our best people won’t always take to heart what we say.
This is what makes it necessary to look at the role of Christ (which immediately follows in I John 2:1b): “But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense – Jesus Christ the Righteous One.” Sometimes leaders want to be heroes, so we make mistake of praying, “Help me to be Jesus to this person.” But we can’t do that. There’s only one Jesus, and only He can fill that role. And fortunately He is up to the task. He’s described in three ways (in I John 2:1-2)…
Hopefully the pastor will help the saints to live a more holy life. That’s something I strive and pray for. But whether that happens or not, the most important thing is that we have a savior, Jesus Christ, who is our high priest.
God bless you,
Andrew McHenry, Pastor
First Congregational Church
The blog of Andrew McHenry, Pastor of First Congregational Church of Emporia, Kansas.