Intolerable Tolerance

2 Corinthians 11:3-4

11 But I am afraid that just as the serpent deceived Eve by his treacheryyour minds may be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus different from the one we proclaimedor if you receive a different spirit than the one you received, or a different gospel than the one you acceptedyou put up with it well enough!

1 John 4:1

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

Matthew 24:4

“And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you.”
Ephesians 5:6

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”

One thing that tops the chart for me as something I detest is being lied to.  We can excuse deceptive behavior by calling it a white lie or giving it a righteous spin by saying it protects the one being deceived, but it is far more painful to discover the truth later on than to face the truth from the beginning.

Lies have a way of growing over time and the harm done to the deceived multiplies in intensity, as well.  Deception is evil, yet we can play a role in willingly allow it without noticing and the church can be one of the most affected.

We do not want to be judgmental, but we can be lulled into lies by believing the best in the name of grace – without discernment.  The religion of tolerance has slipped into the church and mouths are silenced by the theme of acceptance to all.  This might at first blush seem exclusive, until we see that there are absolutes in God’s Word.  Living in a relativistic world where anything goes allows evil to thrive silently.

God will grant us wisdom to recognize false doctrines if we ask Him.  Motivation to be purposeful in discernment concerning the newest revelation comes from a desire to maintain a pure devotion to Christ.  To “put up” with false beliefs is to accept them.  Over time the convictions we held can be replaced by whitewashed “enlightened” viewpoints if we aren’t careful to hold on firmly to the true Gospel.

We are not called to be pious, self righteous or judgmental, as we are reminded that we have blind spots, too.  But we are not called to compromise, either, in the name of grace.  Grace is undeserved favor, but it does not placate or permit someone to remain in sin.  Finding balance between abusing grace in the name of liberal freedom and strict adherence to fundamentalism that imposes expectations beyond the written word is challenging, but not impossible.

No one has perfect doctrine, but we all continue to grow in our understanding and relationship with God.  Some beliefs we have held onto need to be debunked if they do not line up with the Word of God and some need to be held onto tenaciously.  God is faithful to speak to us through His Holy Spirit and to guide us into all truth.  We have a choice whether we are going to allow ourselves to be deceived or be like the Bereans, searching out God’s truth.

The church needs to speak the truth with grace.  May we endeavor to do so passionately, but never let go of love in the process.  If the church becomes just like the world in the name of tolerance, we lose our effectiveness and souls, as well.

Lord, forgive us for our lackadaisical compromise.  We are so needful of You to open our eyes to see our own hypocrisy. Wake us up to zealously cling to Your Word and help us to not tolerate sin but to love the sinner.

Tolerance?

tolerance

2 Corinthians 11:3-4; 14-15
“But I am afraid that just as the serpent deceived Eve by his treachery, your minds may be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus different from the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit than the one you received, or a different Gospel than the one you accepted, you put up with it well enough. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is not surprising his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness, whose end will correspond to their actions.”

Today is marked by an atmosphere of tolerance. We are not politically or religiously correct if we dare to believe that there is truly one way. Now I am not speaking about different denominations, as people can have varying convictions, and there are certainly differing freedoms we can have in Christ, as well. But there is one faith that is truly acceptable by God, and that, the Christian faith.

Yes, today the knees are bowed to tolerance and the irony is that if you are a Christian or believe firmly in the One true God, you are deemed intolerant and not tolerated, either. Who originated this message? The chief deceiver from of old, and it has been widely accepted. But somewhere a simple voice of reason cuts through the madness if we listen. If we are attentive, we can hear wisdom’s call to earlier times where we are reminded of honest days in which people were not told their belief system had to be sanitized with the religious system of the day. In fact, our very nation was founded on the principle that the church should be separated from the state – not so the church could not affect the government, but so the government could not force a particular religion. But time marches on and intentions are forgotten.

Do we enjoy one ice cream flavor more than another? Intolerant. Do we prefer one subject in school more than another? Intolerant. I am speaking foolishly here, but it is acceptable to have preferences when it comes to seemingly unimportant things. But ought it not to be significantly more important to have preferences over eternally important matters? Do we believe that there can be an absolute truth? Intolerant and not relevant. Perhaps we do not understand the definition of tolerance. God help us.

So what do we do about all these other religions in the world? Many have been around for a long time – God exposed them in the Bible. We are told that we should accept all religions. Tolerating one’s belief system is one thing, but promoting or endorsing it is another thing. Having an absolute belief is labeled “judgmental” often in today’s society, too, like we cannot have a firm belief in one religion. Sad. Where is the wisdom in that? Abraham was the first to put aside the polytheistic faith of his predecessors. People probably thought he was judgmental, too, but Abraham was the beginning of the formation of the apple of God’s eye – Israel, and ultimately the salvation of all mankind. I’ll follow that God.

We must be discerning today and students of God’s Word on the watch for faulty beliefs that can take us captive. The enemy is cunning, but if we know God’s word we can refute lies and walk in truth. We need to embrace our faith and love this world – not judge it – only God is the Righteous Judge. But we must put forth God’s truth out there – Christ died for that and gave us this never-ending task to do. May our mouths not be shut because people are uncomfortable with truth, but may we share God’s truth in a way that shows people their need of this truly amazing grace that God has brought to all people. The world is counting on us – may the church wake up from her stupor and open her doors to shed God’s light.

Lord, the world is in turmoil and needs you more now than ever. So many faith alternatives beckon people away from you and to no real hope. Please have mercy on us and open people’s eyes to see You – the One true God. Help us to be faithful and true to You and Your Word, Lord. May we not lose our reward and forget that we are on a mission here – all for Your glory!