Tolerance, Charity, Compassion, Forbearance Part 3

VI. The law of Christ which governs thought and conduct in His kingdom, the church, establishes the supreme order of what should be tolerated for community fellowship. A. An ungodly world may or may not agree with these principles. 1. 1CO 5:1 is an example of a moral infraction which even the heathen rejected. 2. The world will generally separate from murderers. 1PE 4:15. 3. But an unbiblical culture will permit, condone, even celebrate things like fornication, adultery, sodomy, abortion: things which God condemns in the church. This list grows and widens with increasing rapidity as men turn from God’s revelation in His word and in nature. ROM 1:28-33. B. We are stuck with living in a world which tolerates what God will not. 1CO 5:9-11. Tolerance, Charity, Compassion, Forbearance 4-23-23 Page 3 1. We may responsibly use the fashion of this world where doing so does not violate the law of God nor give the enemies of God occasion to speak reproachfully. 1CO 7:29-31; LUK 16:9 c/w 1CO 11:20-22; 1TI 5:14; 1PE 2:15-16. 2. We may not conform to the world where Scripture tells us otherwise. EXO 23:2; ROM 12:2; 2CO 6:14-17; MAT 6:5-7. 3. Faithful saints have always been constituted a parallel society in the world and in some seasons they will not be well-tolerated because of this. Often, it is not what one does that incurs the wrath of the ungodly but what one will not do: conform and comply. DAN 6:10. 4. There are seasons when those who fear God need to be more concerned with saving themselves from an evil culture than saving the culture. ZEC 2:7; ACT 2:40. 5. Doing what is good and right regardless of its unpopularity is always the best course since it pleases God and provides contrast to a dark world. MAT 5:14-16; PHIL 2:14-15. C. Unlike the Law of Moses which empowered the church to execute temporal punishment for behavior which God did not tolerate, the Law of Christ only empowers the church to separate offenders from its membership and turn them over to Satan, or to the world for appropriate carnal punishments. 1CO 5:5; 1TI 1:19-20. 1. The Law of Moses tolerated bigamy, etc. DEU 21:15. 2. The Law of Moses tolerated easy divorce and remarriage. DEU 24:1-2. 3. The Law of Christ tolerates neither of these. MAT 19:3-9. 4. Neither the Law of Moses nor the Law of Christ nor the Law of Nature tolerate perverse sexual relationships like sodomy. LEV 18:22; 1CO 6:9; ROM 1:26-27. a. This “threefold cord” (ECC 4:12) is very binding on mankind. Even in the absence of the written revelation, the creation itself will judge such tolerance. Nature teaches and judges those who reject its message. 1CO 11:14; JUDE 1:10; ROM 1:27. b. This agreement of principle in both written and natural revelation is a key to sorting out what society should and should not tolerate. c. Civilizations self-destruct where such perversions are tolerated, then celebrated, then codified. d. “Cicero (Tuscul. Ques. iv. 34) says, that ‘Dicearchus had accused Plato of it, and probably not unjustly. He also says (Tuscul. Q. iv. 33), that the practice was common among the Greeks, and that their poets and great men, and even their learned men and philosophers, not only practiced, but gloried in it. And he adds, that it was the custom, not of particular cities only, but of Greece in general. (Tuscul. Ques. v. 20.) Xenophon says, that “the unnatural love... is so common, that in many places it is established by the public laws... “The meaning of this doubtless is, that the effect of such base and unnatural passions was, to enfeeble the body, to produce premature old age, disease, decay, and an early death. That this is the effect of the indulgence of licentious passions, is amply proved by the history of man. The despots who practice polygamy, and keep harems in the East, are commonly superannuated at forty years of age; and it is well known, even in Christian countries, that the effect of licentious indulgence is to break down and destroy the constitution. How much more might this be expected to follow the practice of the vice specified in the verse under examination! God has Tolerance, Charity, Compassion, Forbearance 4-23-23 Page 4 marked the indulgence of licentious passions with his frown. Since the time of the Romans and the Greeks, as if there had not been sufficient restraints before, he has originated a new disease, which is one of the most loathsome and distressing which has ever afflicted man, and which has swept off millions of victims. But the effect on the body was not all. It tended to debase the mind; to sink man below the level of the brute; to destroy the sensibility; and to ‘sear the conscience as with a hot iron.’ The last remnant of reason and conscience, it would seem, must be extinguished in those who would indulge in this unnatural and degrading vice...” (Albert Barnes Commentary re: ROM 1:27) e. “How early these were in full career, in the history of the world, the case of Sodom affectingly shows; and because of such abominations, centuries after that, the land of Canaan ‘spued out’ its old inhabitants. Long before this chapter was penned, the Lesbians and others throughout refined Greece had been luxuriating in such debasements; and as for the Romans, Tacitus, speaking of the emperor Tiberius, tells us that new words had then to be coined to express the newly invented stimulants to jaded passion. No wonder that, thus sick and dying as was this poor humanity of ours under the highest earthly culture, its many-voiced cry for the balm in Gilead, and the Physician there, ‘Come over and help us,’ pierced the hearts of the missionaries of the Cross, and made them ‘not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ!’” (Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary, re: ROM 1:27) f. Unnatural lusts are called confusion in LEV 18:23; 20:12 and “...God is not the author of confusion...” (1CO 14:33). Therefore such unnatural lusts cannot be designed nor condoned by God in men. g. Ignoring or defying nature is not a solution to life’s trials, turmoils or impulses. The solution is Jesus Christ Who is able to cure and correct the mind which Satan has exploited. MAR 5:15 c/w COL 1:21-22; ISA 26:3. h. Paul’s words to Corinth guide us to a godly blend of compassion and conviction towards sinners: his identifying with sinners was with an eye to human weakness under the bondage of a lie from which Christ sets men free, not by affirming the sinner’s sin. 1CO 6:9-11. i. Paul’s accommodation of all men affirmed rather the subjugation of the body, not surrender to its lusts. 1CO 9:22-27. j. Paul knew that he was as susceptible to ungodly lusts as any man. ROM 7:8, 18-21. k. Paul warned believers about giving in to the vanity of their mind and so be given over to ungodly lusts. EPH 4:17-20. D. “Tolerance applies only to persons, but never to truth. Intolerance applies only to truth, but never to persons. Tolerance applies to the erring; intolerance to the error.” (Fulton J. Sheen) E. “The truth cannot be hateful however, except in the eyes of those who hate the truth.” (Michael Hoffman) F. It is not hateful to hate sin. It is not hateful to declare hope and deliverance for sinners. It is, however, hateful to subsidize, solidify, approve, affirm, celebrate, or codify sinful behavior which is manifestly an offense to God and nature. Tolerance, Charity, Compassion, Forbearance 4-23-23 Page 5

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