The World’s Highest Virtue
You’ve heard it said “can’t we all just get along?” And in our world, the tolerant are prized.
Those who welcome all worldviews with open-arms and encourage all pursuits with approval are considered the tolerant ones. Love means accepting and approving, condoning and commending.
This is what our cultural prophets command and how our societal judges rule. This is the so-called gospel of tolerance. If you want to be on the right side of history, adjust accordingly.
Every belief, worldview, ideology, and truth believed is to be tolerated (see this helpful 2 minute clip). Those who practice such things are praised and are seen as the most virtuous in our world.
And the only heretics are those who believe that objective, unchanging truth exists. And no, that worldview is not tolerated.
Tolerance is indeed a one-way street. The only thing we shouldn’t tolerate, as it turns out, is biblical Christianity
Tolerance is Unloving
In the world, it appears that “we have become tolerant about divorce, the use of alcohol, delinquency, wickedness in high places, immorality, crime and godlessness.” This type of tolerance is unloving.
It would be unloving and sinful if Abraham Lincoln was tolerant of slavery, if Martin Luther King, Jr. was tolerant of racism, or if parents were tolerant of their teen’s drug abuse. Instead, we praise them because they did not tolerate a sinful belief or practice.
Intolerance is perhaps the greatest act of love because objective truth exists and our Creator God has defined reality. Jesus Christ, the God-man, was and is intolerant.
Just as a good doctor informs and warns his patient of his deathly condition, so, too, Jesus Christ informs us that “the truth will set you free,” from your sinfulness and a broken and busted worldview (John 8:32). He is the standard of truth itself (John 14:6). His word and power can break this death-bringing chokehold.
Every carless word, every thought, every motive, every action and desire, whether by commission or omission, will be judged and we will be held accountable for our entire life before God (Revelation 20:11-15, ESV).
And yet, God sent His only begotten Son into the world, Jesus Christ, to live righteously and suffer in the stead of ruined sinners, and rise from the dead on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 2 Corinthians 5:21, ESV).
The good news of the gospel is that because our sins are intolerable in the sight of the holy God, He has acted in sovereign grace to reconcile sinners to Himself through faith in His Son.
Truth in Love
Therefore, as Christians we must be those who speak the truth of the Scriptures. Paul commands us in Ephesians 4:15 to speak “the truth in love,” (ESV). We must defend the truth of the gospel with “gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15, ESV).
Brothers and sisters, it is unloving to not warn sinners of their sinfulness and their rebellion against their Creator. And as His ambassadors here on earth, we must not be passive and silent in approving and affirming sinful beliefs.
Love must swallow our fears. Truth must loosen our tongues. We must not wield truth like Peter and lop off an ear; instead, we respond to our neighbors with love and compassion.
And as Christians, we can lovingly disagree with opposing worldviews. We can hear different beliefs and we can listen to the other side.
But as Christians living in our Father’s world we know that there is only one truth, one way, one inspired revelation, one narrow path, one God and Father, and one Savior from our sins, the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is unloving to lie at the harm and eternal suffering of others. The love of Christ compels us to open our mouths in a world that closes theirs. As Billy Graham once pointed out, “The greatest need in the church today is for church members to live what they profess.”
Be not afraid, Jesus has promised to send us the “Spirit of truth” from the Father who will guide His people into all truth (John 15:26, 16:13, ESV).
We cannot affirm the transgender movement because God’s Word is clear: there are only two genders and to promote the opposite is disastrous to man and disobedient to God (Genesis 1:27; Mark 10:6).
We cannot affirm any form of sexual immorality outside the bounds of a marriage between one man and one woman because these mar mankind and miss the mark of God’s standard (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
We cannot tolerate the abuse of children in and outside of the womb for the same reason we cannot tolerate racism: because all people bear the image of God (Genesis 1:26).
The truth both wounds and mends; the gospel both shows us our sins and saves us from our sins.
I am eternally thankful that God was intolerant of my sinfulness and sent His Son to suffer in my stead for His glory.
O Christian pilgrims, we are indeed strangers and exiles in this world! Everyday we feel that we are meant for another world.
And here on earth we don’t need approval from the world, we have the eternal smile of God counted to us in Christ. And the right side of history, as it turns out, is found at the Father’s side (John 1:18).