Someone recently asked me if Romans 11:29, which teaches that God’s gift and call to Israel is “irrevocable”, can be applied to ministers who fall into sin. Are they still called?
First of all, in context, yes, it is referring to Israel. Paul is making the case that God cannot reject Israel because “God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable.” (Romans 11:29) Israel is still called, despite her present rejection.
However, I think it can be applied to a person. Paul is stating a principle and applying it to Israel. But the principle is true in other circumstances, as well. If someone rejects God, they can still have an anointing. Spiritists are often really communicating to the spirit world, but it is the dark side, if you will. We have seen ministers moving in the power of the Holy Spirit, real power and real Holy Spirit, who are then discovered to be living in adultery.
How can that be?
While sin can disqualify you for ministry; the gift of God will not disappear. Paul speaks about the potential for disqualification when individuals do not crucify carnal desires.
No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Cor. 9:27)
I don’t think he is saying that a single sin will necessarily disqualify someone. Rather, if you live a crucified life, you are unlikely to cheat on your wife, become a drug addict or live in bitterness. You are far less likely to do something that would disqualify you if you crucifiy your flesh daily. For instance, the man who can control what he eats, is far less likely to commit adultery. I am not talking about legalism—where guilt and pressure from others, yourself and a false image of God, condemn you into living a certain way—but rather simply taking reasonable control over your carnal desires.
Why does the gift stay?
God’s gift in a man or woman is for a specific purpose and people. What if He took away our gift when we sinned? You are getting ready to preach and you have an impure thought. Boom—no anointing for you! What if it was like that? Then God would never be able to accomplish His purposes through man. We all sin. Every day. If not in action, in thoughts and if not sins of commission (things we do), then sins of omission (things we don’t do).
Samson is a great example because we could see his gift clearly. He was strong, supernaturally strong. But he was living in sin. God continued to use him because he was God’s judge over the people. He was their leader and protector.
But what we see in Samson is a lesson. Prolonged, unrepentant, blatant sin will be judged eventually. We can see that in many famous pastors and evangelists. What I love about Samson’s story is how patient God was: not only because Samson was God’s plan for Israel, but also because God loved Samson. But “God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.” (Gal. 6:9) Samson’s sin caught up with him. But even then, his gift was not taken away. Samson’s hair grew back and his strength returned.
Your gift does not justify your sin
If you are living in chronic sin, do not use the fact that you are still anointed to justify your sin. “God must not care that I am looking at pornography. I am still anointed when I preach. People are still healed when I pray.” That is God’s mercy on the people. He uses your gift to bless the people. But like Samson, there is coming a day of reckoning.
A better test is how is your devotional life? Do you have intamcy of Yeshua?
I used to go to a dynamic church when I was in Bible school on Long Island. Our pastor was a powerful apostolic preacher. Then one day he went on a prayer retreat and took a girl with him. He was caught and confronted by the elders. Strangely, his wife’s first words were, “He is still anointed.” Her main concern was he (and she) could lose his position in the church. She used Romans 11:29—the gift of God to him was irrevocable, even if he did cheat.
If you are in such a position, get help. Turn to leaders you can trust and confess your sin. Then get the needed accountability, treatment or whatever is necessary; just don’t continue. It is far better to humble yourself before men in private, than for God to humble you in public. There is no shame in asking for help.
Anointing and Blessing
There is a difference between merely having God’s anointing on your life and having His blessing on your life. Anyone can be anointed. It is just a gift. Samson is someone who had the gift but not the blessing. Abraham, who was an imperfect man, but sought God and became His friend, was blessed. No matter what Abraham did, he was blessed.
When one’s ways are pleasing to Adonai,
he makes even his enemies be at peace with him. (Proverbs 16:7)
The blessing of Adonai brings wealth and He adds no trouble with it. (Proverbs 10:22)
A faithful man will have many blessings, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished. (Proverb 28:20)
David was not without sin. Yet, because he had a repentant disposition and a heart after God, he obtained God’s blessing.
You granted [the king] his heart’s desire,
and You did not withhold the request of his lips. Selah
For You met him with the best blessings.
You set on his head a crown of pure gold.
For You bestow on him eternal blessings,
gladden him with joy in Your presence. (Ps. 24:3-4, 7)
So, yes, God will anoint a person in sin and the gift is irrevocable because of God’s great love for the people to whom he or she is called to minister. But it doesn’t mean that God is pleased. Eventually, the sin will catch up. Let us all be on our guard and be willing to humble ourselves before men, so we don’t have to humble ourselves before a holy God.