Our culture says that tolerance is to be embraced... and intolerance is to be condemned. "Political correctness" emphasizes our society's "tolerance" viewpoints.
Aren't Christians also supposed to be tolerant? After all, Christians believe in their Savior Jesus. Jesus, we are taught, exemplified love during His life on earth! And everyone knows that God is love!
A good friend and I exchanged some messages concerning an e-mail exchange between an Arkansas man and the Webmaster at ABC Television concerning the television series "The Practice". (Readers may explore the e-mail exchange in detail at www.truthorfiction.com.)
My friend stated that religious "intolerance" disappointed and angered him. He said that Jesus loved both sinner and non-sinner, alike. After all, Jesus embraced people from all walks of life and continued to reach-out to all people, even those who wanted to kill Him. Jesus loved!
Is my friend's opinion correct? Unquestionably. Yes, it is... But does it go far enough? Deep enough? On the surface it is true... But does it stand up under scrutiny?
Truly, Jesus embodied love. Jesus was the supreme example of love. He died for us! He died for you -- and He died for me -- because of the sin in our lives. He loved us enough to willingly sacrifice His pure and perfect life for you -- for me.
Is love the same as tolerance? Was the loving Jesus tolerant? If Jesus was tolerant of sin, why did He preach: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near" (Matthew 4:17). A sinner's true repentance means that the sinner regrets and has remorse for what he or she has done (or not done), and most importantly has a change of heart to avoid the sin in the future (this is repentance).
Thankfully, Jesus truly loved the sinner and that includes you and me. (Do you know of many people who willingly gave up their life for another?) But Jesus did not love the sin. He healed physical deformities, but He also said, "Your sins are forgiven."
Matthew 9:2 "Some men brought to him a paralytic, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, 'Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven'." [and only then did Jesus heal the paralyzed man].
Luke 24:46-47 "He told them, 'This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in His name to all nations...'."
Acts 2:38 "Peter replied, 'Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins'."
Why did Jesus come into this world? Did His example demonstrate tolerance (acceptance) of the sins of others? No, He did not tolerate sin. He came into this world to take the sins of all people upon His head. He died as the perfect sacrifice for us and for our sins.
Praise be to God that three days later our Savior was raised from the dead! We are truly saved from our sins. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life!" (John 3:16 NIV)
Are we to love the sinner and accept his or her lifestyle out of that love? We are to love the sinner. Yes! We must NOT embrace the sin.
The Apostle Paul wrote in I Corinthians 6:18 "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body." Paul said "Flee!" Paul understood how enticing and compelling human sexuality is to each one of us male or female. "Flee from sexual immorality."
Additionally, Paul wrote in II Corinthians 6:14 "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?..." What does good have in common with evil? Nothing. N-O-T-H-I-N-G ! ! !
However, the Apostle Paul is not suggesting that we are to live in our own little, isolated world and have nothing to do with the non-Believers of the world. We were born into a sinful world and we are now the hands and feet and mouth of the Lord. We are to witness to non-Believers, people who do not believe that Christ Jesus is the Savior. We are to minister to all. And we are to serve all.
Under no circumstances are we to embrace the sin. Once we let down our guard and allow the temptation of sin to creep into our lives in our human attempt to befriend an "unsaved" person, we ourselves begin the slide down that slippery slope toward the grasping, scheming, cunning evil one. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 4:30 "And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption."
As Believers in Christ Jesus we are to emulate His example. Through the power of prayer and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we have God's power to help spread the Gospel of the good news of Jesus Christ.
Do you believe in Jesus? Have you ever asked Jesus into your life? God's Word the Holy Bible, which has withstood attack for the past 2,000 years, says in John 14:6 (NIV) "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'" Where will you spend eternity? I pray that your answer is "in Heaven with other Believers in Christ Jesus!" Amen.
If you are unsure of your eternal destination, please write me at Chuck Tremain or call toll-free 1-888-NEED-HIM (if you prefer all numbers: 1-888-633-3446). May the Lord soften your heart as you seek an eternal relationship with Him! Amen.
© 2004-2018 by C. Tremain, all rights reserved.