Let us be on our guard against false doctrine. Unsound faith will never be the mother of really sound practice, and in these latter days, departures from the faith abound. See then that your loins be girded about with truth, and be very jealous of receiving anything which cannot be proved by the Bible.
Do not think for a moment that false doctrine will meet you face to face, saying, “I am false doctrine, and I want to come into your heart.” Satan does not go to work in that way. He dresses up false doctrine like Jezebel — he paints her face and attires her hair, and tries to make her like truth. Do not think that those who preach error will never preach anything that is true. Error would do little harm if that was the case. No! Error will come before you mingled with much that is sound and scriptural.
~ J.C. Ryle
Never get fooled that tolerance is the only thing to have when dealing with others, especially those who hate you and your faith in Christ. You also need prudence. One also needs to be alert. Most of all, your tolerance must be as per God’s will which includes prudence and vigilance and not as per man’s opinions. Blind tolerance is nothing less than foolishness. To be wise in your tolerance, you need to read the Bible for this and not just a few verses, you need to take the whole Bible into perspective.
Some people are overzealous about; Judge not, that you be not judged (Matthew 7:1). These behave that this is the only verse they ought to follow. I’ve already written an article about this (click here to view it) in order to let such people get the right idea of ‘judge not’, so I won’t elaborate too much on this.
The Bible tells us to be vigilant:
Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)
Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children (Deuteronomy 4:9).
It also reminds us to be prudent:
The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. (Proverbs 22:3)
But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him. Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all and ordered them not to make him known. (Matthew 12:14-16)
Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you. (Matthew 7:6)
We also need to discern:
Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.(Proverbs 14:7)
He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the Lord.(Proverbs 17:15)
There are things we are not to tolerate:
But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. (Revelation 2:20)
I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. (Romans 16:17)
Our tolerance towards others must not mean that we compromise on vigilance, prudence nor discernment. We are not called to tolerate each and everything. One needs to have a balanced view of the Bible in all things.
Some might say, ‘we are to turn the other cheek’ and to them I say ‘do not put the Lord your God to the test’. If you are to choose between life and Christ, its best to take Christ for yourself. But don’t deliberately put yourself or your loved ones in a situation where doesn’t know how to deal with danger. Not every time this is case of getting tempted to leave Christ. And not everyone out in the world is a criminal. But some are indeed evil! So we must go by the facts and not ignore them. If a leopard has attacked many cattle, don’t assume it’ll be tame towards you because it never killed a human before. You don’t give it to act first to make a decision but instead you first make sure you keep a safe distance from the wild cat or be out of sight.
In the same way, if you know that there are people with a history of violence, you don’t try to play ‘nice’. Instead you keep a safe distance from them. I’m not talking about only terrorists. This is about thugs and murderers too. Also, warn your children and loved ones to know whom to get near and whom to keep away from.
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22: 6)
Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare. (Proverbs 22:24-25)
Whoever plans to do evil will be called a schemer. The devising of folly is sin, and the scoffer is an abomination to mankind. (Proverbs 24: 8-9)
Never get too happy when you see evil doers go down in life. Such rejoicing must be avoided. Be sober because it’s the Lord God fighting them. And the Lord can use angels, animals and even humans to do his work of justice.
Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him. (Proverbs 24: 17-18)
You might find my opinion a bit odd, but at times when I came know of so and so sinners, even terrorists who died when being confronted by workers of justice, I felt bad that such souls have not accepted the Gospel and not repented and so are not going to heaven. For a few seconds I tried to imagine that if they accepted the Lord Jesus much earlier in life, how much damage and death to others could have been avoided in the first place.
Then reality set in, I viewed the new reports again and I realized there were innocent people, even innocent kids who got killed by these evil doers. So Divine justice already had to tackle the murderers on earth itself before giving them their due punishment in hell. So if even if you hear of such workers of iniquity getting harmed or killed, do not rejoice but rather pray for the victims of their crimes and also for the victims families. Don’t pray for the wicked who have died in battle, since there is no hope for them.
Fret not yourself because of evildoers, and be not envious of the wicked, for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out. (Proverbs 24: 19-20)
Verses for reflection:
To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: ‘The words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand, who walks among the seven golden lampstands. “‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent. Yet this you have: you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.’ (Revelation 2: 1-7)
There are many things written against how depraved and evil the Babylonian system is. Indeed its correctly mentioned as sinful and blasphemous in its nature and workings. However, I also see how many are wondering how to defeat Babylon and seem scared due to that. My answer to that is to be brave and look at what the Holy Scriptures says about her downfall by the Beast on which she rides. Let’s first read a description about her by John in the Book of Revelation:
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgement of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk.” And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.” And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. (Revelation 17:1-6)
What we must utterly dislike about Babylon is that she is “the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus”. That shows her murderous nature towards believers in the Lord God. So, such a behavior ought to be punished greatly.
Indeed God has spoken judgement against Babylon and also wants his people out of her ways. The following verses confirm this:
Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Pay her back as she herself has paid back others, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed. (Revelation 18: 4-6)
And the angel said to me, “The waters that you saw, where the prostitute is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages. And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire, for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. (Revelation 17:15-17)
Because of the sins of Babylon, the Lord God destined it to be that the very Beast on which Babylon rides will become the instrument of her destruction. Don’t think that the Beast is doing anyone any favor. In a bid to be in control and assert its own dominance over the world the Beast along with the ten horns will ensure that the Babylonian system is taken down by brutal violence. So the evil ambitions of the Beast will be used by God to destroy Babylon in the process.
A thing to take note; Babylon though spoken of as a wicked woman is not actually one single person. The Bible makes it specific that Babylon is a city that has remarkable influence over world leaders. The following verses confirm this:
- And the woman that you saw is the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth. (Revelation 17:18)
- Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying,“So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and will be found no more (Revelation 18:21)
Someone might ask what about Matthew 12:26 which says “And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?” in the context of the Beast destroying Babylon?
A simple answer to that would be Babylon is not Satan though she is profoundly wicked which warrants God’s judgment against her. Besides Revelation 17:17 says; for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.
To make it more clear, God can use anyone to fulfill his purposes. That includes using those who are evil to bring God’s judgement upon the wicked. You might like to call them as unwitting accomplices of God. And this is consistent with the Bible. Here are two examples from the Holy Scriptures:
- Sennacherib the king of Assyria, was killed by his owns sons as a result of God’s judgement on him due to his blasphemy against God. (Read 2 Chronicles 32:1-22)
- Ahab the king of Israel who was very wicked and who was also the husband of the evil and idolatrous queen Jezebel, was killed by the a soldier of the king of Syria in a battle with the Syrians. This was due to God’s judgement upon Ahab prophesied by the prophet Micaiah. Now take note the king of Syria didn’t worship the Lord God yet God used him to execute his judgement. (Read 1 Kings 22:1-38)
To conclude, it’s true that God will use anyone (including sinners) to work good for those who love him. He is so great that he will use even the Beast to punish Babylon for her sins against those who believe in the Lord God. This shows a new dimension to Romans 8:28 which one might have not noticed earlier.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.(Romans 8:28)