Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Mercy of Christ Means Opposition to All False Teachers

In addition to what I write on this website, I work in informal cults ministry. I won't list here whom I consider to be a cult. My inspiration to perform that ministry is twofold: first, I hate that false and destructive doctrines are promulgated in the name of Christ; and second, I sorrow that people have been brought into spiritual bondage by the false use of the name of Jesus. thus, there are both a righteous wrath side and a compassion side.

And I believe that dual inspiration is biblical.

In II John 1:10-11, that Apostle warned us, "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works."

Even more telling is the comment of Jude, the brother of Jesus (Jude 1:3), "Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints." What I find especially striking is that he tells us that it was not his original intention to talk about false teachers. However, some situation required that he shift gears and address this subject.

Then I have this warning, not to the false teachers, but rather to me: "If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, in order to save his life, that wicked person shall die for his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand" (Ezekiel 3:18). God is serious about this! If I sit passively by, and say nothing to the cults about the eternal consequences of their false teachings, then I am a murderer, with their blood on my hands. He doesn't hold me responsible for their reaction, but He does for giving warning.

As one might guess, my compassion is hardly received as such. The consistent reaction is a tearful protest: How dare you say that my chosen theology is false! And then someone will always quote, "Judge not, that you be not judged" (Matthew 7:1), as if it trumps everything else in Scripture. They never go on to cite the next verse: "For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you." Jesus's emphasis isn't verse 1, but verse 2. Compare His words to what He says in John 7:24: "Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment." He never intended an absolute ban on judgment, but rather on manmade judgment. We are only to pronounce and apply His judgments from Scripture.

Jude also describes the other motivation (Jude 1:22-23): "Have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh."
God gives us an invitation to come to Him, not to be brought under bondage, but to free us from our bondages: " Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to Me; hear, that your soul may live" (Isaiah 55:1-3). And Jesus gave the same invitation: "Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). Anyone who brings a convert into bondage, makes him heavy-laden, is no servant of Christ, but rather an enemy: "Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me scatters" (Matthew 12:30. Such a person must expect only opposition from me, no matter what crocodile tears he may shed about judgment!

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