We are living in days when absolute truth is being attacked by relativism. What is true for you is not necessarily true for me. I am free to do whatever I want to do and express myself in any way I so desire and at the same time hold to the title ‘Christian’. Self-indulging and Cross-denying are high on the agenda. The moment you speak up about it then the price has to be paid. If you say enough is enough and we need to return to the Cross in surrender is the time you are crucified yourself. There is a teaching that has creeped into the church through debate, voting, division and pain that holds on to Jesus but with conditions and that is the freedom that I paint for myself. We are in days of Thyatira, wonderful churches and lots of activity. However …
“Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. 21 I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. 22 So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways. 23 I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds.” (Revelation 2 v 20-23)
Thyatira were not committing sin but they were tolerating another teaching which had crept into the church. Jesus gave this teacher and so-called prophet a nickname, Jezebel. In my own life I have heard people cruelly and ignorantly use this nickname for women who teach and preach in the church. They use it incorrectly as well as being just wrong. The use of this name here takes us back to the Old Testament just as the use of Balaam within the church of Pergamum. She was the wife of the wicked King Ahab. She was the seduction of Israel introducing a rival god, Baal. The church were not speaking up against a sexual freedom and idolatrous food festivals that were marring its reputation. They tolerated it. They didn’t like it nor did they agree with it but they didn’t speak up against it. As a result its members were being misled under the guise of the will and purpose of God.
Tolerating sin is not the same as spending time privately pleading for the person to come to their senses. Neither is tolerating sin the same as giving them time to repent as Jesus was saying before He brought destruction on them.
Any watering down of Jesus the only way, the Cross the only means and surrender the only response either by teaching or behaviour will not lead to life but death. One day a man who had walked from his position at the foot of the Cross called me and asked if he was going to hell. I looked at what had become of him and told him he was already in hell but he could get out if he would repent. The bed of intercourse/freedom/idolatry/relativism will become a bed of suffering not for the one but for others who are misled by this.
Why? Because “appearances don’t impress me” (Msg). The surrendered life which has become cruciform is the only way. Anything else is less than what Jesus accomplished for us.