“According to D. A. Carson, “tolerance” has changed from accepting that lots of people have different views, some of which are wrong, to agreeing that all views are equally true. What difference does this make? A diametric difference!” (Taken from Milt Reynolds “Thinking Out Loud” Nov. 16, 2013.) Mutual respect between people who have different beliefs seems to be a strange and largely unacceptable concept in today’s world. “How can you be gracious to someone who believes differently than you?” Well, for starters that’s what God has called us to do. All people matter to God and they should have value to us, regardless of their beliefs or views. However, that doesn’t mean that all beliefs are true. There is objective truth and it is found in the Word of God. Sin is sin, no matter how you pretty up the language. An affair is adultery and adult entertainment is pornography. A little white lie is told by a liar, and a person who takes a few things he feels his employer owes him is a thief. Sadly, many Christians have slipped into the world’s mentality. This happens as our lives are plagued on every side with tolerance for all kinds of sin. It isn’t culturally or politically correct to hold Christian values and beliefs. Yet, God has called us to a higher standard.
Scriptures – 1 Jn 1:8; Rm 3:10, 6:23; Re 22:12; Lk 20:47; Jn 19:11; 1 Co 6:18; Rm 6:1-2; Ja 4:6-7; 1 Co 10:13; 1 Jn 1:8-9
So do you think we should continue sinning so that God will give us more and more grace? Of course not! Our old sinful life ended. It’s dead. So how can we continue living in sin? (Ro 6:1-2) The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. (1 Co 10:3)
“There is no one righteous, not even one;…” (Ro 3:10) When we receive the gift of grace through Jesus Christ, we are forgiven of our sins. However, sin will always be a problem. There will always be temptations. Perhaps one of the greatest temptations in our culture is to grow soft on the issue of sin. “It’s my life and I’ll do as I want.” That’s the world’s philosophy and Christians are in a constant battle to keep from buying in. Christians often cite the scripture, “Judge not, lest you be judged.” However, that doesn’t mean that anything goes or that we look on sin as being ok. We aren’t to go around calling out sin in the lives of others, but that doesn’t mean that we are to affirm it. We must examine our lives daily and strive to live a life that is pleasing to God, and remember we have been called to a higher standard. Paul states in Romans 6:1-2, “So do you think we should continue sinning so that God will give us more and more grace? Of course not! Our old sinful life ended. It’s dead. So how can we continue living in sin?” We have a forgiving God, but asking for forgiveness while continuing to sin without remorse or true repentance (which means turning away from sin) falls short. God didn’t say it wouldn’t be a struggle. It will! Although you have been changed spiritually when you received salvation, your body is still earthly and requires constant guidance from above. God will give you all that you need to get you through the temptations that come into your life. Staying close to him is the key to maintaining the power to overcome. IT matters!
How difficult is it to maintain your Christian values in your work setting? with friends? with family? Have you been criticized or deemed intolerant for your beliefs? How do you value a person when you disagree with their beliefs or lifestyle? Do you believe God’s rules are outdated? Explain. How have God’s rules saved you from pain and misery?
In what areas of your life are you altering your Christian values to fit into culture? Take a good look at your life and determine if and how you are allowing sin to creep into your life. Pray for God’s strength to reclaim his word and truth in your life. Stay close to God; read your Bible daily, pray, and share worship and fellowship with other believers.
Most Holy God, I fall far short of your standard and I know I will as long as I live in this earthly body, but Lord, give me courage to live my faith in this hostile world that sees godliness as intolerant. I know that your word is truth and I stand on your truth. Be my rock and fortress. Help others to see Christ’s love in me. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.