Romans 14:1-3 “1Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. 2For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.”
Some say that as time goes by and we mature and age that our tolerance level increases, we mellow and become more tolerant. Others, speaking from an equal level of experience, would say that as we mature and age we become more set in our ways and less tolerant than we should. From my own experience I can verify that, especially when it comes to grandchildren, we generally have a tendency to be more tolerant with their antics and activities that we were with our own children. And so it goes in our daily lives.
But what about our spiritual conduct and our spiritual lives, how much tolerance should we have in matters pertaining to God’s word? One of the influences that has had the greatest impact on the Lord’s church today is capacity of our brethren for tolerance of practices and doctrines that God has not, would not and will not tolerate among his people. This tolerance of practices and doctrines of men has undermined and negated the authority of God’s word in the minds of thousands that were once faithful Christians. They have been captured by the wiles of Satan, lost their souls to these practices of denominations and the doctrines of men and will stand before God in judgment undone and lost.
So how do we keep ourselves from falling into this same trap? We escape by knowing and following the mind of God. We can know the mind of God only by knowing His revelation of His ways, His percepts, His commandments, His requirements. We must:
“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” II Timothy 2:15
We must know that which God has given us:
“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust”. II Peter 1:3-4
With any preacher, teacher, publication or document that we encounter or hear we must be like those who heard the Apostle Paul:
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Acts
In doing so we will learn what God will not tolerate in us or anyone else and what God expects us to tolerate or not tolerate among our brethren.
We will give just
a couple of examples of things God will not tolerate in this short study. When
“For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: 15Lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they go a whoring after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and one call thee, and thou eat of his sacrifice;” Exodus 34:14-15
When God defeated the prophets of Baal, Elijah knew what was required to remove this curse that God would not tolerate:
“And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.” I Kings
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Matthew 7:15
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.” Romans 16:17
and finally an admonition that we all should memorize:
“If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:” II John 1:10
But in doing all this can we become too intolerant, can we start to create lines of demarcation between us and others that goes beyond what God intended with these instructions? Yes, we can. We are also taught along with the disciples of Jesus the following:
“And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. 39But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name that can lightly speak evil of me.” Mark 9:38-40
Just because this person wasn’t of the 12, the inner circle of Jesus disciples that he had specially chosen, John wanted to forbid him from doing God’s work. Please don’t misunderstand, Jesus said that this person performed miracles in His name, he was working and teaching in complete harmony with our Saviour and God, he was accepted by God; he just wasn’t part of the group of disciples that were traveling with Christ. The Apostles Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit tells us:
“It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.” Romans
“Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.” I Corinthians
We could go on and talk about many things where men have bound laws and commandments where God has not, or refused to bind God’s laws and commandments as they should but our time does not permit. We could talk about communion cups, kitchens in the building where the church meets, the celebration of special holidays, dedication of babies, or a litany of other manmade doctrines. They all fall into the category described by Jesus that we are not to tolerate, lest our worship become vain, empty, of no value:
“BUT IN VAIN THEY DO WORSHIP ME, TEACHING for DOCTRINES THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN.” Matthew 15:9
It does not matter which side of the spectrum the commandments of men might fall, in the realm of what man calls “liberal” or in the realm of what man calls “conservative” the doctrines of men are condemned of God and God does not hear the worship of those who teach and practice them or accept them as His children. At the same time, we must be willing to tolerate the opinions of other men where they do not conflict with the will of God. We are not to use our opinions or the opinions of other men to generate strife, or contention among God’s children or to draw lines of fellowship where God has not.
Believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God: Mark -16
Repent of all of our past sins: Luke 13:3, 5
Confess the Name of Christ before men: Acts , Romans 10:9-10
Be baptized for the remission of our sins: Acts , I Peter 3:21
If a child of God but unfaithful then we need to follow the instruction to repent and pray given in James