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Tolerance and Intolerance

DSC00925Is tolerance of wrongs a sin? Could intolerance be even worse?

In asking such questions, it seems to make sense to wonder why some of us believe that God cannot tolerate sin?

Am guessing we might say something like, “Don’t all followers of the Bible believe that? Could anything be more obvious? Isn’t God too holy to look the other way when we do wrong?”

So let’s look at the issue through two lenses: the story of the Bible, and the meaning of words. Let’s take the second first.

A fascinating website called visualthesaurus.com shows the different realms of meanings that words have. In its universe of the English word “tolerate” this site lists the following groups and word constellations: (1) allow and permit; (2) suffer, endure, abide, bear, brook, digest, put up, stand, stomach, support; (3) recognize, respect and honor the rights of others.

Then there’s the story of the Bible. Where does it indicate that God cannot tolerate sin? Or maybe we should ask the question, how does the Bible show that God either does or doesn’t tolerate sin? Did the Lord even require a change of heart and mind from Adam and Eve before clothing them with animal skins and mercy?

If you’re one who has a deep conviction that God is too holy to tolerate sin, I’d be interested to hear how you would explain your belief. Seems like it would be healthy for us to explain in what sense we believe God cannot and has not tolerated our wrongs.

P.S. As I’ve tried to correct in the comment below, I don’t mean that I’m only interested in hearing from those who believe that God does not tolerate sin. I think this is a subject that needs clarification from all sides…


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88 Responses to “Tolerance and Intolerance”

  1. raven49 says:

    Is it still “tolerance” if you plan to punish later?

  2. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends –

    According to your post, Mart, I should not offer a comment. I would still like to say a brief word about tolerance (intolerance being answered by its negative prefix). I will then be quiet.

    Tolerance is always about measure: the fineness of surface or size in materials or of the openness of opinion and belief in the non-material. Sometimes tolerance for a drug or treatment is the difference between life and death. Chemotherapy and radiation treatments can kill as well as heal, so tolerance level is crucial. We do not always relate such tolerance to our God, though God is always present in healing of any kind.

    Tolerance, in human behavior, it seems to me is inversely proportional to bigotry. The more there is tolerance, the less bigotry; the more there is bigotry, the less tolerance. These are human measures of human behavior. Sadly, we humans seldom slow down enough to reach out for God’s understanding of persons and situations. Have we not all walked beside some persons who have not a clue of God’s view of anything – the self included? Have we not all been clueless? Do we not continue to discover places in our own lives that have been shaded from the light of God’s countenance? (Genesis 1:31)


  3. pilgrimbill10 says:

    My understanding is that tolerance of sin is not acceptable for Christians-but lovingly advise the person in a New Testament way. PB10

  4. cbrown says:

    Long suffering

  5. Bill says:

    Good Morning All!

    This is a bold topic to broach, Mart. It is a direct — and, possibly, controversial — question, the likes of which you don’t often ask.

    I’d like to take a crack at answering. I promise not to “yak” too much. I also promise to make sure everyone knows what I’m about to type is merely my opinion, nothing more. I am not an authority of any kind on any subject. Read at your own risk.

    That stated, here’s what I think:

    1. As everyone knows, the Bible is divided into two chunks — the Old Testament and the New Testament. Pre-Jesus and Post-Jesus, if you will.

    2. Before Jesus walked the earth, God did, indeed, seem to not tolerate sin. Why else would he instruct his people to wipe out entire villages? Why else would he wipe Sodom off the map? Why else would he destroy the entire world, saving only Noah and two of every animal? If God did not despise the sin in the world, he would have let villages exist, Sodom to live on, and the world to continue populating with sinful beings. I believe the theme of the Old Testament is justice, perhaps even judgment. It was a clear example of God not tolerating sin.

    3. Jesus entering the world changed everything. Literally. And forever. I believe the theme of the New Testament is love. “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8) I believe this wholeheartedly, and completely.

    I’ve become sort of a joke around here because of my incessant comments regarding love. People are very quick to remind me and others of God’s holiness and intolerance for sin. Yet, they are very slow to grasp this:

    “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:14-19, ESV)

    “Rooted and grounded in love”?

    “…the breadth and length and height and depth…that you may be filled with all the fulness of God.”?

    I could write a book about Christ’s love and what it means because I do not for a second believe Christians fully grasp what Jesus did on the cross. I believe they think Jesus forgave their sins and that it’s now their job to continue God’s work from the Old Testament — judgment and justice. In short, not tolerating sin of any kind — except their own, which they cannot seem to see. (And, yes, I number myself among them.)

    What if God’s perfect love IS holiness? What if sin is lessened or eliminated by the kind of love Jesus embodied? What if sin exists, but its punishment does not because Jesus paid the price and, therefore, we have caused (and continue to cause) untold damage in people’s lives by continually pointing out sin and warning them that God will punish them for it?

    We claim Christ’s salvation. But we live as if he had not come at all, that we’re still living in Old Testament times.

    Love, my friends. Love covers a multitude of sins.

    To me, that means God “tolerates” sin because his son has already paid the penalty for it, and has covered it with his blood. Love replaced judgement and justice. Love provides us with the reason to live, the path before our feet, and the light to guide the way. It directs people who need love to us, and offers us an opportunity to heal them inside, to remove their burdens, to enable them to live life more abundantly.

    And, with that, I will cease yakking.

    Thank you for reading this. I apologize if it is too long.

    Love to All,


  6. Mart De Haan says:

    Maru, I didn’t realize in the way I did the set up that I was, in effect, saying that I only wanted some to be involved in the conversation. That was not my intent. I think this subject is important for us all to dive in.

  7. AmazedbyHis grace says:

    Let’s view this with the gay tolerance in the world. If we agree with the Lord that this is an immoral sin and that one must deny their sexual desires and choose the path to life, we set the wedge between the gay person/group and yourself.
    If we are in agreement of them living in what God has deemed as sin, then we have thrown them and ourselves to the flames. The world tolerates anything except Christians.
    We can only show our love through Christ, which doesn’t mean preaching 24/7. It means turning this person over to Christ in prayer, focusing on Him and He healing your sinful ways and waiting for the Lord to direct you to help this person.
    If you are reading this and are caught in any type of stronghold, people will change God’s word to fit their sin. You can’t try and change yourself, sin is too powerful. You must go to and depend on God’s direct words, listen and apply until you have victory in and through Christ.

  8. SFDBWV says:

    Revelation 20:9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

    There is no sign of tolerance anywhere in this message from God in the Last Book of the Bible.

    What do the NT authors say about tolerating sin? Matthew 10:14, 15 Matthew 11:21, 22 Matthew 11:24

    What does Peter say about false teachers in 2 Peter2: 1-22, is there any indication of tolerance in his teaching? No not any!

    You know I can take the Scripture and chew this subject to pieces, but I haven’t the time. The very *fact* that God demanded a human sacrifice in the form of Himself in the Name of Jesus of Nazareth speaks to whether He tolerates sin.

    The very fact that He accepts the Blood of Jesus as a *covering* of our sins speaks that He doesn’t tolerate sin but accepts the sacrifice of Jesus as a way of *covering* up the sin not tolerating it.

    Get real, you can not use semantics to change vomit into a meal.


  9. cbrown says:

    With God all things are possible.”God sent Jesus into the world not to judge the world but that the world should be saved through Him”.John 3:17

  10. ChrisB says:

    I’ll admit, I’m getting confused. If the Bible states clearly that something is a sin are we not to teach it? Is teaching God’s Word in direct conflict with tolerance if it opposes a lifestyle? Is tolerance the same as condoning? I’m being serious, not sarcastic. I do not believe in abusing, harassing, penalizing, shunning, anyone. But to show our love or God’s love, does it mean we are to accept all sin, without question. Do we quit teaching that adultery, lying, stealing, drunkenness is a sin because it targets a specific lifestyle? I abhor hatred behavior but I was taught we should hate sin (not the sinner). I hate with every fiber of my being, “gay bashing” but I don’t like being called “a hater” if I don’t believe in that lifestyle. Mart, I so love your posts, comments and books. They have been such a blessing and inspiration to me because I think “common sense” should have a place in our faith. But, I don’t know exactly what message is being stated here. Maybe it is just way over my head and if so, forgive me for jumping in.

  11. oneg2dblu says:

    I can’t tolerate intolerance from others when they think I’m intolrant of them, so they can’t tolerate me either.

    I hope that clears up the difference between tolernace and intolrance, it is all found in one’s perspective and actions.

    Now, we only have God’s word to define His perspective, but it seems we all don’t read and understand His word the same way.

    Some can tolerate hearing the warnings about sin take them to heart and actually change their behavior, and others can’t stand to even hear them because they refuse to change, or believe they do not have to, and those two opposing veiws and their resulting behaviors will never be solved here, by us.

    I think the entire problem is found in this one statement, a famous movie quote, “You can’t Handle (tolerate) the truth!”

    So, we have some among us who feel they are following Christ in their sins, and some who sincerely feel that their perfered sin is not a sin at all for them, but instead a blessed gift.

    Where your truth lies, so does your tolerance, and intolerance.

    One side says God can’t see any sins they are all already covered, and the other side says, Christ who is God, teaches us are to hate the sin and love the siinner.

    So, if you really love the sinner, then what about the sin? Do we now tolerate their sin as well?

    Do we say to ourselves I’ll pretend it does not exist and cover it with my love?

    Or, do we cling to God’s word and actually heed all the warnings about sin, share them with those we love, because knowing the truth and sharing it, is the most loving thing you can do. In my perspective/opinion…Gary

  12. Bill says:

    @Steve, although I understand what you’re saying, I’m not sure it addresses Mart’s questions.

    Or, it’s possible Mart’s use of the word “tolerate” carries too many connotations that could be misunderstood.

    I’m not sure God “tolerates” sin. But I AM sure the penalty for sin has been bought and paid for. So, although God certainly doesn’t like sin (because in him there is no darkness), Jesus has already paid the price for it. The sin is gone.

    Now what?

    What is sin once the penalty for it has been paid?

    That’s the real question. So I’ll state it again.

    What is sin once the penalty for it has been paid?

    Either Jesus paid the penalty for sin, or he didn’t. If he didn’t, then he died in vain and we’re all screwed. If he did, then what is sin without the penalty for it?

    @ChrisB, I don’t think we should stop teaching anything the Bible says to teach.

    HOWEVER, I don’t think we’re viewing the world, post-Jesus, correctly. I don’t believe now that Jesus has paid the penalty for sin we are preaching and teaching it for the same reasons why might have in a world pre-Jesus.

    I believe the sins spoken of in the Bible do us (and society) harm. So, to not do them is for our benefit. God has given us a way to live that makes sense (“common sense,” as you put it). If we don’t live that way, we suffer consequences, whatever they may be.

    So, do we “tolerate” sin?

    Of course we do. Why? Because God, through his son Jesus, has paid the penalty for sin. I do not believe it is biblical for us to constantly tell others they’re sinning. That’s like denying Christ died for us.

    If Christ paid the price for sin, then I don’t see the point of being “intolerant” toward sin. God “tolerated” us to the point of allowing Jesus to die a slow, painful, bloody death. “It is finished,” the scriptures say. Who the heck are we to say that it is not?

  13. narrowpathseeker says:

    As a mother I did my best to protect my children and that meant they had some rules to follow. The smaller children were not allowed near the road. If one “escaped” the protective fencing and ran into the road, they were punished severely, because the results of their disobedience could be tragic. I punished as to correct because I loved them very much.

    If I had a babysitter that told them it was ok to run in the road and that I was just an intolerant parent lacking love, I think I would have been very angry at best. Had that child then argued with me that there was nothing wrong with running in the road and did so and was killed, my wrath would have been over the top.. BUT, towards WHO?

  14. poohpity says:

    Bill, I think you hit the nail on the head when you stated, “In short, not tolerating sin of any kind — except their own, which they cannot seem to see.” People who have received Christ seem to think that they never sin again and are sinless(without sin). If they think they sin less than they did before then it is their mission to be the sin police in other peoples life but the hypocrisy is they seem to leave it unchecked in their own.

    I do not however see the difference in the OT and NT since the OT seems to be what Jesus taught from to point to Himself. Of course God is tolerable of sin or we all would be eternally dead and physically dead. I look at it like this I really do not like my children to do things that will cause them harm or to harm others and I have instructed them at what that looks like (law). I want them to be close to me but when they have caused harm to them self or others they feel guilty then they do not want to be around me but when they come to me and talk about it they find it was only because I wanted the best for them but my love has not changed towards them in any way. It was their guilt that caused the separation.

    The law which pointed out that harm has never changed. God will never say something is right when it is wrong or wrong when it is right. I have now the freedom to stop concentrating on how badly I mess up all the time to look at the greatest love ever shown to mankind and tell others about that and the freedom to show that to others. To me that means God will be tolerant of sin until I no longer live in the flesh, so tolerant in fact that knowing I will still have sin in my life took the punishment away so I no longer focus on that guilt but now can focus on doing wonderful things for others and have a personal relationship with the Creator of the universe.

    Our minds can only think of one thing at a time with that in mind if I am watching every move I make to try and do the impossible which is to be sinless then where is my focus, on me. Thinking of God and His unmerited grace and mercy it will come out in my actions. I want people to tolerate me in my imperfection so I will tolerate them too! There was only One who was sinless and it is impossible for anyone else so is God tolerate of sin or of us.

  15. bubbles says:

    If you examine David’s life, the man after God’s own heart, God did not strike him dead when he had Uriah killed in war, or when he sinned with Bathsheba.

    I Kings 15:5 mentions this sin.

    Thank God for his longsuffering and mercy. God knows that our maturation in the faith is a process. A long process. Phil 1:6.

    All people have certain areas of sin in which we struggle. One may have problems with one thing, and one another. Sin is sin in God’s eyes. He loves us in spite of our sin. Just to think that a Holy God wants us to commune with Him. He listens to us, He cares for us. Amazing.

    Mart, you wrote a “Been Thinking” article many years ago about prayer. That has helped me more than any thing I have read. I keep that in my Bible and still read it from time to time.

    A chapel message many years ago spoke of believers as a diamond in the rough, and how circumstances, study, people “chip away” at the rough areas to reveal a beautiful diamond.

    Korah, Ananias, Sapphira, Mrs. Lot were struck dead. Very scary. Perhaps others. But we also see the results of sin. . David, Miriam, and so on. The Bible is full of stories about the effects of sin in one’s life. Think of Jacob and his dysfunctional family. But at the end of his life, the prophecy that he spoke leaning upon his staff before he died. He was a changed man. He is an example of how God worked in his life.

    Then we read how Isaiah saw the Lord sitting upon a throune high and lifted up. This was the year that Uzziah died. Uzziah disobeyed God. Isaiah saw the Lord, and said, “Woe is me! I am undone.” Isaiah saw the Lord, and His holiness and saw his own sinfulness.

    I think we are in a sinful world, surrounded by sin, and see and hear sin so much we are calloused to it in some ways, and we forget how Holy God is. We need to keep a view of God’s holiness.

  16. bubbles says:

    “throne” not “throune” One thing I cannot tolerate in myself is typographical errors.

  17. ChrisB says:

    @Bill, thank you for your reply.

    Regrettably, since this is such an important and sensitive subject, I can see where it may cause some to “spiritually disconnect”. I think (in the world)you are darned if you do and darned if you don’t. No matter what view you take, you will offend someone. I just hope I am not so anxious to NOT offend (the world) that I offend Christ. God knows my heart, He knows I do not mean to offend but I no doubt will, unless I refuse to discuss any subject, ever. So I pray that my Father in heaven will lead me and keep me from despairing to the point that I fear to believe anything, if that is possible.

  18. swwagner says:

    To quote some of the lines of an old hymn:
    “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep me…” Even in my ignorance and my sin, God cares for me. He is the author and finisher of our faith. He is the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End! We need to sit still and “Know that He is God”! His ways are above our ways and when we can’t figure things out, we rest in Him in “child like faith”…knowing that He will guide our growth and understanding. His burden is light…yet, we take on all of these burdens and arguments. I am very tired of thinking and of being agitated about disagreements. He is the GREAT I AM…right now, that is enough for me.

  19. oneg2dblu says:

    Let me see if I am understand what Bill and pooh are promoting, or saying here…

    Forgive me if I use my own words which always seem to offend, but, are “they” now saying that “we’ as being forgiven our sins through Christ unlike the rest of the sinning world are now to tolerate all others, and all sin?

    Please show me the verses that say we should support/tolerate sin.

    What a grand deception has perverted the minds of men today, where only those who clearly still love their sins while living in this sin filled world, and would continue to ignore God’s word and embrace and tolerate all the world’s sin as well.

    This is exactly where wrong doctrinal beliefs continue to corrupt the very thinking of those who will follow them.

    I must excuse myself from this corrupted line of thinking about tolerating sin, it makes me utterly shutter, or should I say, “Thank Heaven, it Scares the Hell out of me!”

    I Praise God that through His living word, as I understand it because sin still does scare me because holding on to that premise alone helps me to produce any sense of right vs. wrong living.

    I’ll await the next topic, thank you very much, rather than continue to upset others here who embrace sin as harmless to them, or apparently to all others.

    Steve, I’m knocking the dust off my feet on this one. :)

  20. SFDBWV says:

    1Corinthians 6:9, 10

    Ephesians 5:3, 4, 5

    Romans 1:18

    Romans 1:24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32
    Romans 2:1, 2, 3

    I will let God’s word speak.


  21. bubbles says:

    I do not support things that promote sin.

    But it is not for me to go around and point out sin in others’ lives. That is between them and God.

    I should be examining my own heart and life, and not be busy looking at others.

  22. narrowpathseeker says:

    Steve, I think the scriptures you provided are pretty clear and they made me tremble. I would think they would make us all tremble to some degree. I finished reading them and it began to thunder loudly with very heavy rain here! Strange though, I haven’t seen any lightning!

    PS I replied to you about my trip on the previous topic. I am glad that your cousin enjoyed her trip.


  23. remarutho says:

    Good Afternoon BTA Friends –

    Someone said, “This cannot be debated.” That is so true!

    Mart, you wrote:
    “Seems like it would be healthy for us to explain in what sense we believe God cannot and has not tolerated our wrongs.”

    Not wishing to be contrary, yet it seems to me God has tolerated our wrongs. He tolerated Ahab and Jezebel, Nebuchadnezzar and a whole series of vile, corrupt Roman Caesars. After eons of disappointment with humankind, he sent at just the right moment the answer to the problem of wrong-doing.

    Romans 5:8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 18
    Romans 8:1, 2, 3, 4
    1 Corinthians 15:1, 2, 3, 4
    Revelation 1:5

    My proof-texting list is short. It could be numbingly long. Same goes for the proof-texting for the premise that “God cannot and has not tolerated our wrongs.” That whole enterprise is a wash as far as persuasion goes.

    Since our planet is not orbiting the sun as a mass of radioactive debris, I believe the Lord still looks to our redemption and our fellowship with Father, Son and Holy Spirit – both now and in the world to come. God has never indicated he does not want to bless us and keep us and make his face shine upon us and be gracious to us. God continues to lift up his countenance upon us and grant us peace.


  24. foreverblessed says:

    I would like to give an example of my own life, it is the same story I wrote a few topics ago, that God gave me the verse adulterous sisters, and He meant it for me: I would not share my deepest heart matters with Him first, but I would go to my husband, or other christian. God was not my first soulmate. Spiritual adultery.
    Now I had been a christian for a long time, but God tolerated that sin in me, He waited till it was the time for me to work at this.

    How on earth could we grow as a christian if God did not tolerate sin in us? It would be impossible for us.
    The process of purification is slow, step by step.

    I firmly believe that God wants His love to grow strong in us, strong enough before we could face some of our deeper problems.

    Maybe the word forbearing is a better name than tolerance.
    God is forbearing with us.

  25. Mart De Haan says:

    Disagreements like this probably frustrate all involved.

    Some of us say if God didn’t tolerate our sin– in the sense of allowing it, patiently permitting it, compassionately bearing it, kindly enduring it, or even respecting the right he has given us to do wrong) none of us would be here.

    Some of us, however, say that God doesn’t tolerate our sin in the sense that– (help me to complete this)…He doesn’t tolerate our sin–in the sense that he does not…

  26. swwagner says:

    God does not change in that He does expect us to “be Holy as He is Holy”. God does not change the way of salvation…only through the Blood of Jesus are we justified. God does not change His character. His love for us is stubborn. God is not changed by our disbelieve or our misunderstanding or our blasphemy. God is always in control…He will have the final say.

  27. remarutho says:

    Good Evening All —

    Well, Mart, am thinking you have a fairly specific idea of God’s intolerance for sin. God’s Presence, in Christ and in the Holy Spirit, certainly scatters evil.

    It seems to me Christ’s coming into the world is an absolute sin-breaker. John writes: “What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:3, 4, 5)

    Paul speaks of the working of the Spirit in the church: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:17, 18)

    Jesus teaches us to pray: “Deliver us from the evil one.” God does. God does not tolerate our sin in that he removes it — he comes after us to deliver us from it. God does not leave us alone to die in our sin.


  28. poohpity says:

    God doesn’t tolerate our sin in the sense that it will be forgiven unless there is an admission and there must be an atonement or sacrifice for that sin.

    He doesn’t tolerate our sin–in the sense that he does not allow consequences to happen.

  29. narrowpathseeker says:

    I believe that the Holy Bible is the Word of God. If it isn’t then why are we even discussing it? If it is, then His Word clearly states that there are consequences to sin. What He tolerates or doesn’t tolerate we will all find out soon enough…meantime I will spend a lot of time examining myself, getting on my knees confessing, asking for forgiveness and for help to rise above my flesh. The one thing I won’t be doing is denying my sins are really sins.

    1st Corinthians 11:26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

    27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

    28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

    29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

    30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

    31 For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

    32 But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

    Matthew 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

    42 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:

    43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.

    44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?

    45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

    46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

  30. AmazedbyHis grace says:

    We’re also warned against foolish arguments. The answer here is found in many bible verses a well as examples of discipline/deaths for disobedience. The key word is those who “practice.” Romans2:2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things.
    Through Christ, repentance from all sin must be in our daily walk. When we are solely focusing on the Lord and we turn our practicing sinners over to Him, we need to pray for the Holy Spirit to intervene. This will keep you busy minded and focused on God’s tolerance. If they question their conduct to us, we must be ready to lovingly show them without prejudice, the only way.

  31. Mart De Haan says:

    Here’s what I am trying to say.

    If we are going to say that God does not tolerate sin, then we need to be careful to qualify such a statement.

    For example, seems like we need to say something like–God does not tolerate sin in his own character. When he allowed sin’s entrance into the world, he did not tolerate its infecting presence without consequences. He did not tolerate sins entrance into human experience without having a plan to pay for that sin with the death of His own Son. He tolerates our sin so that he can patiently call us to something better. He won’t tolerate sin to ruin a promised new heaven and earth etc.

    But to say that God does not tolerate sin in us violates the meaning of the English language, the revelation of the Bible, the truth about God and the truth about ourselves.

    To say that God does not tolerate sin misses the whole point of how patient, compassionate, and merciful God has been toward wretched sinners like ourselves.

    That God loves us enough to call us from our sin to something better expresses the same love that prompts God to endure, bear with, and tolerate our own ongoing, countless wrongs.

    Try to imagine what outsiders (or more than a few insiders) must think when they hear sinners like us say that God will not tolerate sin. They must look at us in amazement… and rest assured that they don’t need to believe anything else we say… or just look at us in wonder and say “who in the world do these people think they are?”

  32. SFDBWV says:

    First of all Mart you should concern yourself with how God looks at us instead of how people of the world do. And to say that I violate the meaning of the English language is a grab at a straw. And to say if I don’t agree with you that I violate the revelation of the Bible, the truth about God and ourselves places you in quite a lofty perch to look down on me in judgment.

    Semantics or word play in order to be more right than another is a sad argument.

    If we *believe* we have a free will and that God has no control of that then God has a problem, in the creation of the angels as well as in the creation of man.

    Both rebelled against God almost as soon as they existed.

    Like a thorn in the flesh God suffers sin in His creation He suffered for all of mankind on the cross, not for sin, but for the redemption of mankind.

    God tolerates mankind because of love and gives mankind time and a way for sin to be covered and under the blood. Sin isn’t tolerated it is forgiven men when men ask for it repent and attempt to stop doing it.

    The first person that any sin hurts is God, what you call tolerance is actually *longsuffering* until *His* plan is completed.

    When His plan is completed see what happens then to sin/death/hell it is cast away into a place far removed from the comfort of existing with Him.

    What do you believe happens at death Mart? Do you think your soul sleeps in unconsciousness or does it go to a paradise or place of torment awaiting the resurrection?
    Are your sins in life tolerated after your death or punished if not *covered* by the blood of Christ?


  33. Mart De Haan says:

    Steve, aren’t the explanations, qualifications and varying perspectives that you are now offering so much different than saying in a way that can be so easily misunderstood and misused–“God does not tolerate sin.”

    As there is a time to live, and a time to die; a time to love and a time to hate; so there is a time for tolerance and a time for intolerance.

    Yet we only know see the difference in light of the love and ways of God.

  34. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    My experience inside and outside the church is that rejection always gives pain — emotional and spiritual pain — and in some awful instances physical pain.

    God does not reject you or your loved one! At the very same time, to surrender to the Creator of the universe through Jesus, his only Son, is to step through the hedge of fire and submit joyfully to transformation.

    Mart, you ask: “who in the world do these people think they are?” You and I must answer as best we can. Who does the Bible say we are? This challenge takes its place among all the rest of the sadly marred images of God in the array of human failings.

    Each and every soul who cries out to God is taking a new step in the journey of restoration of the image of God, if (s)he stays with the promise. Things, thoughts, behaviors, choices that have been acceptable are no longer welcome.

    Our gender-ambiguous brother/sister must choose: sex change by surgery and hormones, a life of celibacy, or to live out the homosexual lifestyle. No loved one or mentor or adviser can choose for that one. There is also the choice to turn away from God and face eternity alone. I pray for us all choose Jesus and transformation. gay and straight, addict and non-addict, rich or poor, beggar-man or thief…


  35. remarutho says:

    Slip of the key-board! Maru

  36. tracey5tgbtg says:

    But He was pierced for our transgressions,
    He was crushed for our iniquities;
    the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him,
    and by His wounds we are healed.

    We all, like sheep have gone astray.
    Each of us has turned to his own way;
    and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

    He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet He did not open His mouth;
    He was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before her shearers is silent,
    so He did not open His mouth.

    By oppression and judgement He was taken away.
    And who can speak of His descendants?
    For He was cut off from the land of the living;

    For the transgression of my people He was stricken.

    He was assigned a grave with the wicked and with the rich in His death,
    though He had done no violence.
    Nor was any deceit in His mouth.

    Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer,
    and though the Lord makes His life a guilt offering,
    He will see his offspring and prolong His days,
    and the will of the Lord will prosper in His hand.

    After the suffering of His soul, He will see the light of life and be satisfied;
    by His knowledge my righteous servant will justify many,
    and He will bear their iniquities.

    Therefore I will give Him a portion among the great, and He will divide the spoils with the strong, because He poured out His life unto death,
    and was numbered with the transgressors.

    For He bore the sins of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

  37. foreverblessed says:

    Come on Steve, ofcourse Mart is believing the same as you do, that at the end of times sin will be thrown in hell, and all sinners who do not repent.
    In heaven there is no sin, God does not tolerate it there, (only some times when Satan entered before His throne and complained about Job, Job 1:6, but maybe that was not even in heaven but at the place where the angels presented)
    That is what Mart is saying,
    But I really do get now what Mart is saying, if we say that God does not tolerate sin, and outsiders look at us christians (and see us sinning, in all our controversies, arguing, and many other sins) what do they think?

    It is not that we say sin is OK, but the process of being made pure and blameless in God’s sight takes some time, and often there is a setback in a particular failure we had. God knows that, thankfully.
    But is our heart is focussed on Jesus in faith, as many have said, and we do what He commands us, then we are on our way, then we are in His will.

  38. foreverblessed says:

    All you guys have responded while I was typing, thanks all.

    I would like to say some more on the fact that God could not tolerate sin:
    If He couldn’t then Jesus could not have taken up our sins at the Cross, He would have been too Holy to accept it, Jesus could not have taken up all our sins and all the sins of the world, He could not have become sin at all. But yet He didn’t, and He died to it.
    And as the bible says: We died with Him on the cross, that is: our old self dies with Him, we are dead to sin, so how can we live in it (knowingly and willingly live in sin)?
    That is what I was trying to say in this topic, the process of purification going on in us, as there are still many sins in us we are not aware of. God tolerates them till the time is right.

  39. pegramsdell says:

    I think If we do not daily change to become more like Him, then we deny His power. He gives us The Holy Spirit to lead and guide us…(to what)? To Him. To overcome sin. To be perfect. In our weakness He is strong. To be (being) perfect everyday. We all sin and fall, but He wants us to try harder.

    To give in to sin and our own desires, and say that everyone must accept it and tolerate it, is to deny God and His perfect plan for our lives. He says we are more than overcomers. (So let’s overcome already). He loves the world so much He gave himself for it, we must too. What are we giving up? If we are dying daily to sin, then when people look at us, they may say: “Hey maybe I need Jesus.”

  40. Bill says:


    The comments here astound me.

    Some of you are attacking Mart like he hasn’t a clue what he’s saying, or that he hasn’t carefully and painstakingly chosen every word so as not to offend; but because of his deep need to share something on his heart, he has put himself out there anyway.

    I have never seen Mart this open with his thoughts. Never. That tells me we should still our itchy fingers and open our eyes (and hearts) to what he’s saying.

    And what he’s saying is profound to the point of tears. This was brilliantly put (in his post of June 12, 2013 at 4:05 am):

    *** But to say that God does not tolerate sin in us violates the meaning of the English language, the revelation of the Bible, the truth about God and the truth about ourselves.

    To say that God does not tolerate sin misses the whole point of how patient, compassionate, and merciful God has been toward wretched sinners like ourselves.

    That God loves us enough to call us from our sin to something better expresses the same love that prompts God to endure, bear with, and tolerate our own ongoing, countless wrongs.

    Try to imagine what outsiders (or more than a few insiders) must think when they hear sinners like us say that God will not tolerate sin. They must look at us in amazement… and rest assured that they don’t need to believe anything else we say… or just look at us in wonder and say “who in the world do these people think they are?” ***

    We can throw scripture at each other all day long. Why not? Every Christian does. The more Fundamental, the more the scriptures fly. Yet, we totally forget that “the letter kills, but the spirit gives life.”

    Use whatever English word you want (“tolerate” or “forebear” or “long-suffering”). But it boils down to this:

    1. If God did not “tolerate” sin, we’d all be dead

    2. The more we talk about God not tolerating sin, and the more we point our bony, self-righteous fingers in the sad, needy faces of the world, the more we are despised — and God right along with it

    I’ve been back for 2-3 posts. And already I’m sick of the constant arguing, sarcasm, anger, and profound lack of brotherhood.

    Why do you ignore the obvious? Why is the word “love” so hard for you to understand, and accept.


    I posed this question awhile ago (and it was ignored):

    “What is sin once the penalty for it has been paid?”

    If Jesus paid the price for our sins, and they are no more — blotted out, removed, hidden, covered (whatever you want to say about it) — then WHY DO WE KEEP CARRYING OUR BURDENS? And WHY DO WE CONTINUE TO BURDEN OTHERS?

    These threads always fall into two categories:

    1. The Fundamentalists who insist on enforcing the letter,

    2. The people of Grace and Love who insist on living in the spirit

    Each side distrusts and is riled by the other.

    And the beat goes on.

    And the world watches…and disbelieves.

    And those who need our help are lost forever.

    At the end of the day, do you honestly think God is going to ask you, “So, were you able to push your opinion of the scriptures on as many people as possible?” ?

    Or, is he going to say, “Did you feed my lambs?” ?

    We either LIVE the word of God, or we use it as large, heavy stick to beat people with it. One or the other.

    I know what I’ve chosen.

    I am a sinner, saved by Grace. I sin each and every day. I’m likely sinning right now typing these words.

    But I know this: Jesus paid the price for my sins. There is nothing I can do to change that. I cannot be separated from him. I am his.

    Therefore, my song to the world is not about sin. It’s about love and grace and the freedom to live life as God intended us to live — in brotherhood, reaching out with helping hands, and hugging people into the kingdom.

    I am so ashamed of us. Deeply ashamed. What must the world think of us?

  41. foreverblessed says:

    Bill, thanks a lot!
    “Therefore, my song to the world is not about sin. It’s about love and grace and the freedom to live life as God intended us to live — in brotherhood, reaching out with helping hands, and hugging people into the kingdom. ”
    Keep on hugging!

  42. foreverblessed says:

    And keep on singing:
    Praising God, Glorifying Him, making Him great, the most Loving the most Pure, and the most Blameless, the One who is Exalted above the Heavens, Praise Him,
    for His love for us,
    The One who came down to release those that are bound,
    “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,” Isaiah 61:1

  43. robbieuk says:


    Your last comment moved me to tears. I have been following the last few blog’s, from Marts deeply moving “A personal word” that was from his heart and spoke so well about our intolerance to people who do not conform to our image of life. Mart has moved on to Gods tolerance of us in this topic.
    Bill you said so well, love is what it is all about. When you quoted “did you feed my lambs” the Holy Spirit just leapt inside me and I started praying in tongues and burst into tears.. yes that is it, that is what the reason for our being saved and a disciple of Christ is all about, not trying to change peoples opinions by quoting scripture.
    I have suffered and been so confused in the past as I have sat in service after service and prayer meetings where Christians wave their hands in horror and pray bigoted prayers about people like me. Sometimes I hit back in anger but God has been graceful with me, so now I keep quiet and pray. I can only worry about me and give my problems to God to change. I cannot change others by anything I say outside of Gods love and through His Spirit. But I can pray and God can change another’s heart.
    I now have the confidence to live as a son of the living God because I know that He loves me and nothing in heaven or earth can change that because His word says so and God’s word never changes and is truth.
    May God bless you Bill and everyone on here.

  44. SFDBWV says:

    Bill I truly respect you and never think I don’t even if we may butt heads now and then I still respect you and your thoughts.

    Yes Mart is being open but still carefully picking what he chooses to answer and not, and as for attacking re read what he says to any and all that disagree with him in his June 12 2013 4:5 am posting.

    That any who disagrees with his position “violates the English language, the revelation of the Bible, the truth about God, and the truth about ourselves.” Is that how you see things concerning this subject?

    Nowhere in any of my statements have I said that our sins are not covered by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.

    What I have said is that because God does not tolerate sin he demanded a human sacrifice in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, so that He Jesus would *suffer* for our sins.


    Sin is suffered until the end of God’s plans by Jesus, not tolerated, suffered.

    Somehow I have become the voice of opposition to the idea that we can overlook sin in ourselves and in others, that we can validate sin by saying God tolerates it.

    I don’t know why you Bill would question my understanding of the word love. However I have said constantly what God tolerates is mankind because of *love* and because of love made a way for all to be restored to Him. Mankind is broken and as a result God sees that brokenness and not his sin. Sin is not tolerated it is forgotten because of Christ.

    However this gift is conditional, you have to accept Jesus of Nazareth as Lord, repent of your sins and ask forgiveness.

    Yes Mart I understand that what we say can be misunderstood and misinterpreted, but I have been honest and open with everything I have said I take nothing back nor will I retreat from my understanding as of today regarding this conversation.

    I would never accuse you of violating the English language or of the revelation of the Bible, or the truth of God or of ourselves, but you have me.

    In a place intended for debate and various ideas it seems there is no room for disagreement or varied views without some degree of insults.

    I for one hope that those looking in will see there is tension and room for discovery not see arguing but discussion. I hope those who look in will wonder for themselves and seek the truth from the Bible for themselves not take what I have said or any of us as the final word.

    More importantly I hope they see their own sins as being sins and seek forgiveness from God through Jesus of Nazareth and not believe that God will overlook their sin condition and go on with a tolerant lifestyle of sin.


  45. fadingman says:

    I think God tolerates (i.e. bears with) our sin, otherwise none of us would be here. I don’t see any verse in the Bible that says He doesn’t tolerate it – only that He can’t look on it (Habakkuk 1:13).

    The reason He tolerates sin in us is not because he thinks it not that big a deal, but because He wants all to come to repentance. It is a matter of grace for us living in this time of grace.

    God’s tolerance for sin is not acceptance of our sin. Ever since the Fall, He has works to rescue us from our sin. He is never content to allow us to keep on doing our own thing.

    God’s tolerance should be our model for tolerance. We need to forgive and seek restoration in our relationships with others, especially since each of us has repeatedly offended others also.


  46. swwagner says:

    Does God not have balance?

    The whole universe is a testament to the careful planning of the Creator so that our planet is exactly positioned for mankind to thrive…not too much light and heat…not too much dark and cold.

    It is true that God hates sin…and also true that God loves sinners.

    Too much heavy handed scripture yelling drives sinners away…and too much flowery love deceives sinners into false security.

    Jesus himself showed different approaches to people and sin. He drove the moneychangers out of the temple with anger and a whip. I hope that at least one person changed their life because of His righteous anger but I don’t know that the Bible tells us.

    Jesus also gently entered into the everyday life of the woman at the well with conversation and eventually introduced scripture (Himself). We do know that her life was changed. She changed so much that she was able to bring other people in the town to meet Jesus.

    Since Jesus did not sin, doesn’t that mean that both of these actions on His part were “okay”? Perhaps depending on the situation and the people involved?

    God turned his back on Jesus for a moment as He bore the sins of mankind (judgment and intolerance). God also accepted Jesus’ blood on the alter of heaven as an atonement for that same sin (mercy, love, tolerance).

    I am glad that I heard the gospel even though it was an insult to me at first and made me angry. But, I am also so glad that God gently persisted and didn’t abandon me on my first rejection of His word.

    Another thought: I struggle with food and over eating (gluttony)…does that mean I am not saved? I have not given up striving for the correct place of food in my life (I am 60 years old) but I also know that I probably will not have full victory until I leave this physical life.

  47. narrowpathseeker says:

    Mart, I apologize for my part in engaging in this angry controversy. I have had very high regard for you from the first time I read one of your BTA tracts enclosed in the ODB booklets several years ago. Please forgive me for misunderstanding the last few topics.

    Bill, I TOO am deeply ashamed of us! I have thought many times about what the world must think of the arrogance, anger, subtle as well as blatant insults, and such that arise in almost every topic. Instead of exercising self control, peace making, or refraining from participation, I have often jumped right into the fire.

    I have to say though that there are a handful here that walk through these controversies quite graciously on the narrow path almost always….one of them would be Foreverblessed. Thank you Forever. I know there are others, but names escape me right now.

    Steve, I am always in your corner! I share your thoughts and feelings so often I sometimes think you must be biologically related somehow!! In responding to you on the last topic about my trip, I forgot to tell you to tell Matt that I was the FATTEST person I saw in Switzerland!! I lost a few pounds before the trip but I am still about 40 pounds overweight(I’ve shrunk about 3 inches over the years) and although I saw a handful ALMOST as fat as I am, there was NO ONE fatter!! That was a bitter/sweet experience!! Sweet because I no longer pacify myself by comparing myself to others in the US who are fatter than me and excusing myself from the need to do something about it. Chin up Steve!! Love Pearl

  48. narrowpathseeker says:

    Swwagner, EXCELLENT post!! Balance!! I think you are directly on target! Thank you!


    PS…I think the majority of us in the US struggle with food!! I know I do!!

  49. kingdomkid7 says:

    What a family we are! Thank you Mart for the forum and for opening up your heart. When conversations like this come up, I have to fight the urge to run away. We may never see eye to eye on this, but we really must do a better job of learning how to disagree. Including myself! I like the idea of balance. As an uncomplicated person, I draw analogies to things that I do understand to try to understand the things that are not so clear. So here is my analogy: My daughter wanted me to buy her a trinket at the 7-11 when she was 5 years old. I told her no, because she really didn’t need any new trinkets. She had plenty. When we got home, I discovered that she had taken the trinket — stolen it! We got back in the car and went to the 7-11 where she faced the owner, apologized for stealing and gave back the trinket. Of course, she was in tears from the embarrassment. So did I tolerate that sin? I would say yes and no: only long enough for her to gain an understanding that what she had done was wrong and to give her time to make things right. She couldn’t have gotten to the 7-11 without a ride from me, so I had a role to play. i probably didn’t feel like driving back, but I knew she needed to learn the lesson. She was really sorry, was glad that the owner forgave her and became a very trustworthy child — even throughout the teen years. So, by my imperfect analogy I would say yes God tolerates our sin — He loved us enough to die for us and He forgives us — but we can’t park our cars on Sin Street. We have to face our sins, then “go and sin no more.” He helps us to do THAT, because we all need a lot of help.

  50. poohpity says:

    Jesus have mercy on me a sinner. Luke 18:10-12 NLT or Luke 18:13-14 NLT

  51. kingdomkid7 says:

    2 Timothy 3:1-5

  52. narrowpathseeker says:

    Kingdomkid7 I had a similar experience with my daughter at about the same age!! I have to somewhat disagree with you though as to your analogy being “not perfect”. It is a GREAT ANALOGY!! ;-) thank you.

  53. kingdomkid7 says:

    Thanks, Pearl!! I wasn’t too sure about that analogy. Funny how our girls did similar things!

  54. poohpity says:

    I just read your comment kingdom and my older son did the same thing and I responded as you did. The younger took my debit card and got candy from a little store while I had him at work with me and after work I took him to the police station and told them he took my card without asking with a wink and the policeman told him I will not put you in jail this time but do not take mom’s card again. It seems a quick response really helps down the line because neither have stolen anything.

  55. poohpity says:

    But that does not mean there aren’t other areas they struggle in and I tolerate them. I guess the struggles come with those who we do not love, so maybe that is why Jesus called us to love as He has loved us because we seem to give allowances to those we love and still love them anyway.

  56. kingdomkid7 says:

    Amen, Pooh!!

  57. royalpalm says:

    Hello, Mart and friends,
    After reading the various posts, I am sorry to disagree with a lot of friends here, but my love for the Lord and my understanding of His word makes me conclude this:

    God does not tolerate sin. That is the reason why He gave the severest penalty for sin: DEATH –1) spiritual death (separation from God), 2) physical death, and 3)eternal death after the judgment, in the Lake of Fire.

    His mercy and love provided atonement for sin through the blood of the lamb and through the blood of Jesus but His holy and righteous character did not lessen in the New Testament nor in the present time – He still demands death as the payment for sin.

    For me to say that God tolerates sin is to mock the death of His Son who paid the ultimate price to rescue us from the penalty of sin and the power of sin. He rescued us so we can be part of His family, partakers of His Holy character, conformed to His image, prepared to live with Him forever.

    What is God’s love? Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” It is not tolerance of sin – it is God’s Son paying for sin.

    2Peter 3 talks of God’s judgment and gives us the reason why God delays His punishment: 2Peter 3:9” The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. “ Perhaps this is what some call tolerance of sin but it is His kindness-delaying His judgement to give us time to repent.

    It is my sinfulness and the knowledge that God hates my sin that make me turn to Him again and again for forgiveness and to thank Jesus for what He has done for me. It is also my motivation to lead a life that is holy and righteous in His sight. His words demands that I live a life that honors Him and not follow the desires of my heart. I praise Him that He has given the Holy Spirit to help me overcome the world and His continued grace and mercy and forgiveness to sustain me when I do wrong.

    Leviticus 11:44 “I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.”

    Leviticus 20:26 “You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.”

    Hebrews 12:14 “ Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”

  58. royalpalm says:

    What is our responsibility to others? Being part of God’s family is a privilege and a calling. He wants us to represent Him in the world and as such reflect His character. We are not to isolate ourselves in self righteousness but to love those who have wandered away and share them our knowledge of God’s hatred of sin and teach them of His love demonstrated in His Son, our Lord and Saviour.

    As 2Peter 3:9 stated, God is not willing that anyone should perish. We are commanded to tell others about the Lord. We are accountable for our actions and they are accountable for their decisions.
    1 Peter 2:9
    But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

    Ezek. 3:18, 19” When 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, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand. 19 Yet, if you warn the wicked, and he does not turn from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered your soul.

  59. swwagner says:

    Perhaps the rub comes in knowing that while we are covered by the blood of Christ, we still struggle (under the blood) with the here and now, which is full of sin. If we belong to Him, we do not like or want the sin anymore that God does and are “groaning to be delivered” with all creation. Maybe if we are more forthcoming in our prayers and conversations about our personal struggles we become more humble and are able to help others to hear the truth???

    We know that God is not ignorant of our sins even though we are (as Christians) justified through Christ. To me, “justified in Christ” means that we have been made a new creation, as though we were not born sinners in the first place.

  60. Loomis says:

    Tolerance as a word is not found in the Bible so we are talking about an idea. God is patient with us and full of Grace. Mankind has a long dark track record filled with bad intent. Yet there is another line of faith, hope and love where marvelous things have been done.
    We live in a time where there is a great pull for conformity and control of thought and speech. There is a intolerance for anything outside current political correctness.
    Peter writes in 2 Pe. 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
    Is God tolerant? Yes, but does God have a clear revelation of right and wrong? Yes, and that differs from today’s view on tolerance.

  61. poohpity says:

    Yes Ezekiel was given a job to warn Israel that if they turned back to God they would not suffer by being taken captive to Babylon. The strange thing is that God already knew they would not listen but Ezekiel did his job to warn of what was going to happen. The consequences of not listening was their capture. It seems the most significant thing with Ezekiel was God telling to first let His (God’s) Word sink down deep inside of him before he told others what God had said. (Ezekiel 3:10-11 NLT) That alone seems to be the problem most are not grounded in God’s Word and say they know Him when they use God’s Word as a self serving weapon to prove their point while missing God’s point. As Mart said, who do we think you are? when we know who we are compared to God and there is no comparison then we may see that we are quieted and may become more tolerant of others that does not mean sin is OK. That means I struggle with sin myself in an empathic and compassionate way. Jesus is the only answer for only He was able to live in the flesh, sin free. I need to always keep that in mind before I point a finger at others.

  62. narrowpathseeker says:

    Royalpalm, you presented a very strong case(very lovingly setting an example of disagreeing in a Christlike manner IMO) for warning those about sin and posting. Ezek 3:18, 19. Thank you. Do you have any suggestions as to how to approach the subject to someone I have never discussed homosexuality with, but have talked to them many times very carefully avoiding the subject?

  63. phpatato says:

    Glad to see you comment Royalpalm! Welcome back (not saying that you ever left) I do enjoy reading your comments.

    Pearl, I read in the last topic about your trip. It sounded wonderful!!! I hope when you waved over the Netherlands to Forever that it included all of us! :-)

    I have been since 10am this morning trying to get my thoughts on “tolerance” posted. I have deleted at least a half dozen attempts. So I will post this last attempt…

    I agree with Kingdomkid and others previously who say BALANCE is needed. I, like you Kingdomkid7, Pearl and Deb, was about to give an analogy of being a mom with children and tolerance; what I tolerated and what I didn’t. There were some things I didn’t/couldn’t tolerate from my two kids. One was a barefaced lie. That, I dealt with swiftly. It took me punishing them as well as talking it over, to help them realize that it is best to tell the truth.

    Swwagner I liked how you summed it up….

    “Too much heavy handed scripture yelling drives sinners away…and too much flowery love deceives sinners into false security.”

    And for me…God’s Word trumps any English word that man has come up with. I’ll leave it at that because that is where I am having trouble expressing my thoughts. Wish we were all sitting in a room full of comfy chairs with an iced tea or something……..

  64. Mart De Haan says:

    Because Jesus is our best reference point, let’s try this: When he was accused of being a friend not only of tax collectors but also of those who ate and drank too much, did those accusations have anything to do with tolerance and intolerance?

  65. poohpity says:

    Jesus seemed to seek out people like me to offer them His grace and forgiveness did he tolerate the way I once lived, I do not know if that is how to defend what He did for me. I do know He has not left me how He found me. I do not know if He tolerated my sinful life until I realized the wonderful thing He did for me. I just do not know enough if that is being tolerate or patient or if they both are the same.

    To me those who accused Jesus were so intolerant of those who He came to seek and save that they did not even recognize who He was. They seemed so blinded by their intolerance but totally missed their own state before a Holy God. The accusers wanted those around them to hold them in high esteem and put them in the highest places of honor they missed the One who actually held that position.

  66. remarutho says:

    Good Afternoon BTA Friends —

    It seems to me the accusations against both Jesus and John Baptist flew left and right. The crowd (“this generation,” as Jesus calls them/us) thought because John kept a very austere lifestyle that he had a demon. The crowd thought that because Jesus went where the sinners were that he was a glutton and a drunkard. (Matthew 11:18, 19)

    This surely does have to do with judgmental attitudes among the people, in my opinion. Jesus said they/we are like children telling one another what to do and what not to do (Matthew 11:16, 17) on the playground.

    The irony of this is profound: The people (who are not God) accuse Jesus (who is God) of sin by association. When Jesus says, “Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds,” (v 19) I would say he means, “Let’s wait and see how this turns out when it is all said and done,” indicating all that loose talk is the opposite of wisdom, meaning it is foolishness.

    Where are all the adults? Does nobody give this country Rabbi from Judea the benefit of the doubt?


  67. swwagner says:

    Those making the accusations in Jesus’ time were not any different than we are today. Men and women with confused minds, inflated egos, different perspectives and darkened vision trying to make sense of their lives(“of whom I am chief”).

    Some were genuinely seeking God and willing for their lives to be turned upside down when confronted with a more clear truth. Nicodemus comes to mind.

    Some people dug in their heels and did not believe even when the temple curtain was “rent from top to bottom”.

    Was Jesus being tolerant or intolerant of man when He walked among us? It seems that He was very much willing to look past our cheating, self serving ways; our sexual misconduct, and lying mouths, etc. Jesus came to meet our greater need of being lost and separated from God. Jesus did not condone sin or participate in it just because He ate with tax collectors and talked to prostitutes. For 30 some years He gave us examples of conduct to live by…truth AND compassion!

    The lives Jesus touched, were changed and He told them…”go and sin no more”. To me, that means “You are a new person, you are no longer the enemy of God. Live your life to reflect that truth.” Does that mean that the new life never stumbled or fell down in the flesh?

    Peter denied Jesus. Yet, Jesus had compassion on him and lovingly corrected him when they met again after the resurrection. Jesus wanted fellowship with the Peter who had gone back to fishing. Jesus didn’t shun any of the disciples for their doubt, or their questions. Tolerance.

    Jesus did not resurrect Judas Iscariot to be part of the happy reunion in the upper room or on the river bank. Even though Judas tried to give back the pieces of silver and was probably sorry for participating in the bribe/betrayal, it was too late. No tolerance.

    One thing is certain, I will meet Jesus face to face and have nothing to stand upon EXCEPT His Righteousness! Let me “look unto the fields, white with harvest”. Prayerfully, with guidance from the Holy Spirit, let me approach each lost person with wisdom, compassion, and always with truth.

    After all, it was once I who was lost. It is now I who am found. How glad I am that someone gave me the hard-to-swallow, un-changing truth with compassion and love!

  68. narrowpathseeker says:

    Pat, when I did the wave and said,”Hi Forever”, and got a strange look from a lady across the aisle from me. It didn’t dawn on me until later that maybe she thought I was saying Hi to eternity…(Forever);-)…

    I tried several times to post here when I was in Switzerland, but I had more strange experiences with my grandson’s laptop and Swiss.com that I gave up. One day I wrote something, posted it and there were just a few words left to it. I checked when I got back and it apparently got through as a few scattered letters here and there!

    I, too am exhausted and confused from thinking about tolerance and intolerance. I am very comfortable with Swwagner’s views on balance, especially the part you quoted, so I am going to take a break from this subject and work on the many things I KNOW for certain are wrong with me. I hope all is well with you and your family Pat.


  69. narrowpathseeker says:

    Swwagner, I was going to take a break from this subject, but I have to tell you….you are SMOKING with some profound points on this matter!! Thank you.

  70. phpatato says:

    Again I will try posting my thoughts. This time it’s about the actual definition of Tolerance that Mart gave….

    “tolerate”: (1) allow and permit; (2) suffer, endure, abide, bear, brook, digest, put up, stand, stomach, support; (3) recognize, respect and honor the rights of others.

    I think this is where I am having trouble. There are 3 definitions. The second definition I will consider as being medical, as in tolerate, stomach, digest medication. The third I can recognize as the definition that Bill – for one, among others – is advocating? To respect and honour the other person’s right with love, love, love.

    I think it’s the first definition that I have trouble with…the permitting and allowing…that reads to me as condoning for some reason.

    And that’s as far as I can get. Exhausted and confused are good words for me too.

    Swwagner, I agree with Pearl on your last comment!

    Pearl – ps. The twins’ 2nd birthday party is Saturday. How can time fly by but yet go so slow at the same time? :-)

    Hugs, Pat

  71. poohpity says:

    sswagner, while Judas was with Jesus and Jesus knew exactly what he was going to do was not intolerant of him but felt compassion on what Judas would feel(guilt) after he did what he did. (Luke 22:22 NLT) Jesus even honored Judas by serving him by washing his feet John 13:5 and dipping the bread then serving him during His last supper John 13:26.

  72. royalpalm says:

    Narrowpathseeker, thank you for your kindness, and for asking for my advice regarding someone who is homosexual.

    I would be kind to that person; spend time with him-invite him to my home, have coffee with him; be interested in his life. Be a friend who loves him.

    When he knows that you love him and you care about him he will realize that part of loving him is also giving him guidance and help.

    This may take a long time but at the right time you can point out the sin in his life and to make him realize that every sin is against God but God has also provided for that sin – Jesus Christ. Perhaps you can tell your own journey of faith.

    This worked for me. This week I received an e-mail from a lady who lived here in our town for 8 months. She was from Asia.I noticed her as a newcomer in our church and we invited her to our home along with the man she was with. I learned that she was not married to him but was here to earn money.

    I also learned she has put her faith in Jesus. My husband and I invited this couple to our home for meals, coffee,etc. I took her to homes, introduced her to other kind people; gave her things she needed. We just loved her.

    Later I told her that her lifestyle does not honor God. I shared my own story – God can change us. She left the man and went home to her own country. She writes to me and asks me for advice. My advice to her include-praise God, thank Him and honor Him each moment and to trust Him for everything. I also give her scripture verses to read. Her letter yesterday mentioned that she is up for interview for a job. I pray for her. She is looking forward to when we can visit her.

    I hope this helps…

  73. swwagner says:

    I agree that Jesus DID show compassion and love to Judas as a disciple before he betrayed Christ. Jesus, no doubt, wanted Judas to be His true disciple. However, I have the impression that Judas did not ever receive Christ as his personal savior.

    Judas’ bad judgment to betray Christ does not seem to be treated the same as Peter’s denial of Christ in the courtyard. Peter repented in bitter tears and was restored to fellowship with Christ. Judas also tried to rectify his actions by returning the pieces of silver and perhaps trying to pay for his own sin by taking his own life. Judas’ sorrow was not a enough to get him into the kingdom of heaven.

  74. Bill says:

    “Balance” is great. I’m all for it.

    But what I object to is the “Yes, but” approach Christians seem take to every single issue — especially grace. It’s always, “Yes, but don’t forget holiness” or “Yes, but remember to call sin sin” or “Yes, but you can’t go too far toward love” or “Yes but what about…?”

    Why “Yes, but” all the time?

    Why do we constantly feel the need to reign people in, make sure they know their boundaries, prepare to whack them with a ruler on the back of the knuckles like an angry Mother Superior?

    In my experience, “balance” seems to be the rallying cry of those who don’t really believe in balance. If they did, they wouldn’t feel the need to say “Yes, but” when it comes to our Christian walk. They wouldn’t see a believer — lets say (not to mention any names) the chap who wrote the book about love winning — and say, “Yes, but surely he’s gone soft on sin” just because he discovered something in the BIble that speaks to him that he wants to share.

    Why “Yes, but”?

    I am not soft on sin. I don’t know any sincere Christian who is. Every single Christian I know is ham-strung by fear because of a constant worry of going too far and eliciting the inevitable “Yes, but” from disapproving fellow believers.

    So, this entire thread became a debate of “Yes, but” versus, “But, what?” What is tolerance? What is intolerance? What is love? What is grace? What is holiness? What is this or that or the other thing?

    How about we just say, “Your Christian walk is between you and the Lord. Be well, my brothers and sisters” and leave it at that?

    It’s the endless debates, the constant need to defend, the fear of being called a heretic or a sinner or an unholy train-wreck of a Christian that saps energy, wastes time…and prevents a lot of people in ministry from doing what they feel God called them to do.

    I personally know people in ministry who would LOVE to speak out on certain issues but who are scared stiff because of the inevitable “Yes, but” that would arise.

  75. Mart De Haan says:

    When we ask the question why does God allow and permit evil in the world, we probably don’t mean why does God affirm, approve, or not care about wrong. We are more likely to mean for what good reasons does God allow bad things to happen.

  76. swwagner says:

    None of us has a complete grasp on all truth…nor will we in this life. I, for one, am slow to learn even in the pain caused by wrong thinking and actions. I can look back and see progress and some maturity in my understanding and acceptance of God’s truth. I can look around me and look forward and see that I still have much to “see”. The Lord has impressed upon me to relax in Him and know that His timing and management of my life is perfect for me.

    When I moved to a new town after collage I started attending a church and became snared in a congregation where the only truth about God that was preached was hell, punishment, and condemnation. No one was allowed to talk about the love of God or the compassion of Christ without being “hit on the head” with something about the wrath of God. There was no joy because no one wanted to appear to be “out of line” and be “deemed unfit for fellowship”. No one could be completely sure they were really saved. Keeping the “rules” of the congregation led to many unhappy people because keeping rules does not bring salvation to the unsaved…and keeping rules is not a substitute for fellowship and growth with God for those who are saved.

    After I left that group, it took me a long time to relax in God’s love and remember that God could talk to me directly through His word and the Holy Spirit. In some ways I am grateful for the experience because it taught me to trust God and not man. “The fear of man brings a snare”.

    For me, the compassion of God and His intolerance of sin are both/and truths not either/or truths. We do not speak the truth if we do not talk about both. (I think this could be something that someone at Radio Bible Class impressed upon me years ago in one of the series of booklets…was that you Mart?)

  77. cbrown says:

    I would like to add the following facts into the discussion. Can we discuss in the Spirit? In my church he would not be considered for ministry.
    Robinson is widely known for being the first priest in an openly gay relationship to be consecrated a bishop in a major Christian denomination believing in the historic episcopate.[note 1] His sexual orientation was privately acknowledged in the 1970s, when he studied in seminary, was ordained, married, and started a family. He went public with his sexual identity and divorced in 1986.[4] He entered a formal relationship with his current spouse in 1988. When delegates to the Episcopal convention were voting on the ratification of his election, it became an issue of controversy. His election was ratified 62 to 45. After his election, many theologically conservative Episcopalians in the United States have aligned themselves with bishops outside the Episcopal Church in the United States, a process called the Anglican realignment. His story has appeared in print and film.

  78. poohpity says:

    I have no idea whether Judas is in heaven or not that is beyond my understanding. I think we may be surprised at who will be in heaven and surprised at who is not.

  79. cbrown says:

    Also the Boy Scouts reversed their policy of allowing homosexuals to be scout “leaders”.

  80. poohpity says:

    There are so many things on a need to know basis and when I trust God, I just do not need to know much less determine why God has chosen to do anything the way He does or does not do things. I hardly understand why He went to the Cross for someone like me but I am so grateful He did and for some reason He wanted me to know that His love for me is higher, wider, deeper and longer than anything I could ever understand but He needs me to know that.

  81. poohpity says:

    Bit I guess it is up to us to keep that part a secret so nobody even wants to know.

  82. lovely says:

    the world was given to man as our body is given to us and we have responsibility to take care of it. God doesn’t tolerate evil but respect man’s free will. Despite the fact that if we choose to sin it will destroy us eventually Romans 1:24 ,He still loves us.Not the sin but us. I see the love of a Father for His children. Any Fathers here? If your children disobey you and sin does that mean they are no longer your children? or they are forever condemned? Just like the father of the prodigal son He awaits our return to Him. He provide a way back to Him -Jesus. Every thing he commands was for our own good. 1 Corinthians 7:35 we were created not to sin but for Him. 1 John 3:1

  83. robbieuk says:

    You asked about how to approach the subject of your friends sexuality and royalpalm gave you exactly the right advice. Love is the answer.
    Come alongside and and just be a friend and one day he himself will bring up the subject. We only see the outside but God sees the heart. Prayer changes things and through prayer we can open the way for the Holy Spirit to work in someone.
    I have a friend who is an alcoholic, he lives some distance from me now and is lonely. I went to stay with him last week for a few days. We had a great time, had some drinks, went to the beach, had a laugh. Did we talk about God, hardly. Did I condemn his drinking, no, he has been on the booze since the age of 8. He knows he has a problem, has kidney problems, so does not need to be told. He just wants a friend who will stand by him. All his x partners have either left him or killed themselves by drugs.
    Having a good reliable friend is what he wants, someone who will not run away at the first sign of trouble. We chat everyday on the phone and he shares all his problems and falling outs with his neighbours, he even took my advice to apologise to one neighbour and gave her flowers.
    Jesus is always there for us, gently encouraging us and picking us up from the gutter of life, often to see us go straight back into it. It has been a long road of many years of middle of the night drunken visits by my friend but, with God’s help we are getting there.

    My thoughts on tolerance verses intolerance are just this.
    As God forgave us so should we forgive.
    And, 1 Corinthians:13 true love does not even notice when the other person gets it wrong.

  84. robbieuk says:


    I liked you “yes but” analogy.
    Last year my friend was in our local laundrette drinking with a mate, when a local church minister came in. He looked in the rubbish bin just to see if they had been drinking, he walked out without saying a word. I was there and he knows that I am a christian.
    My friend then told me that the pastor said to him on an earlier occasion that he would only help him if he stopped drinking. What is the point of applying conditions to help and love. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us.
    Thank God He didn’t wait until we stopped sinning.
    No “yes but” with Jesus.

  85. SFDBWV says:

    In Mart’s opening question about tolerance Mart ask if *God* tolerated sin. Now I am first on the planet to say that Jesus of Nazareth is God in the flesh, however it is usually a reference to God the Father when saying the word God and not Jesus as Jesus brings a great many different things to the table.

    Mart has in his posting of June 12, 2013 2:43pm revived the question by asking if tolerance or intolerance had anything to do with accusations against Jesus for being friends with tax collectors and drunks.

    Jesus says in Mark 2:17 that he did not come to call the righteous but *sinners* to repentance.

    Jesus gave us this parable in Matthew 21:33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40. Clearly showing that God had sent prophet after prophet to warn the people of their sin and finally sent His Son to warn them and they kill Him.

    In Matthew 21:42, 43, 44 Jesus tells of what will happen to those who do not accept Christ.

    I remember a philosophy question that goes something like this “there can be no truth with out *time* being included.”

    From the very beginning of creation God’s angels and mankind rebelled. God had a choice to either erase at that time all of His creation because of sin or make a way for His creation to be saved from eternal destruction. Because He will not tolerate rebellion and it must be dealt with severely and utterly removed from His presence.

    There is no known plan of salvation for His angels recorded in His Word, but there is a plan of salvation for man imagined by God from the very beginning.
    God did not kill of all of mankind because He had a plan that included His Son Jesus of Nazareth to come into the world and die for man instead of all of men dying.

    It has been recorded in 2 Peter 3:8 that a thousand years is like one day with the Lord.

    So as thousands of years pass by here on earth God’s anger against sin is withheld until His plans of salvation are completed then judgment comes.

    Does God tolerate sin? No!
    Does God fall into our mold of Him? No!
    Do we escape judgment for sin? No? Jesus took our judgment for us, but we must accept His sacrifice not reject it.
    Does God tolerate sin? No!


  86. foreverblessed says:

    Sorry, I am still in the tolerance thing:
    What suprises me is that the people who say:
    I disagree! they start writing why, and go on and say exactly the same thing as what Mart is wanting to say:
    God endures (another word allow) sin at the time being,
    Why are we making such a fuss
    Royal Palm too, you write with such energy that God dows not tolerate sin, Jesus died for sin,
    then you go on and write:
    “2Peter 3 talks of God’s judgment and gives us the reason why God delays His punishment: 2Peter 3:9” The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. “ Perhaps this is what some call tolerance of sin but it is His kindness-delaying His judgement to give us time to repent.”

    SO that is exactly the same as what Mart is trying to convey!
    So why say: I do not agree, while in fact if you read the heart of what Mart writes, and the heart of what you yourself write, you say the same thing.

    The same goes with Steve:
    In the end he writes:
    “So as thousands of years pass by here on earth God’s anger against sin is withheld until His plans of salvation are completed then judgment comes.”

    His anger against sin is withheld: that is tolerance, in the sense that Mart uses it.

    Loomis has got it right: this is more about the usage of words, Tolerance is not a word in the bible, we talk about an idea.
    Do we get the idea that Mart is trying to tell?

    Lets talk in the Spirit,

  87. cbrown says:

    1peter 6:11,12 ” Dear friends,(Y) I urge you, as foreigners and exiles,(Z) to abstain from sinful desires,(AA) which wage war against your soul.(AB) 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds(AC) and glorify God(AD) on the day he visits us.” In the present age God has called us to be the salt but salt is not bitter.

  88. rrbck1 says:

    It was stated that the Old Testament is filled with judgment and the New Testament with tolerance because of the sacrifice Jesus made. In reading the OT it is very clear to me that God had great tolerance (long suffering) towards sinners. As for Sodom, God waited until their sin was so full that He had to deal with it. With the two Israel nations, God sent prophets to warn and urge them to turn from their sin, but ultimately had to deal with them. The nations that God had Israel drive out of Canaan were allowed to be there until their sin was full. It seems that God was bending over backwards to give them all a chance. When judgement came, it was because they all had gone too far.

    In the New Testament, we are saved not from judgment, but from eternal damnation and from sin’s power over us. The letters that God had written clearly show that love is important to care for people who have fallen in sin. However, they also warn of judgment if people do not turn from their sin. It is in the NT that we are clearly told that all will stand before the judgement seat of Christ (not the seat of tolerance then). However, we are also told that our sins will be remembered no more – but with all this “remember no more” it is attached to our repentance and our faith in Jesus Christ. There is no place in the NT that indicates that any other sin will be tolerated in that judgement day.

    Balance is certainly a key issue, but it must be the balance that God has shown us: judge sin (God’s act), but love the person who sins (love all, actually, but we are talking about sin, here). Paul in his letter to the Corinthians pronounced strong judgement (under the guidance of the Holy Spirit) on a terrible sin in that church. However, he later wrote to that church to say that the punishment was enough, and that they should balance it with their love for that person in forgiving him.

    We should lovingly tolerate the person, but be prepared to help them find Christ and forgiveness of their sins.

    Thus sin is never acceptable to God – never. He demands that it be dealt with. Because of His love, He has given us a way to deal with it and be reconciled with Him. If we do not take the steps He has provided – our choice (our freedom is to choose, but we must take responsibility for the results of our choices), then judgement (by God) awaits us.

    There are more times than I can remember and would not want to recount that He has warned me of sins that I had to take care of in my life. I thank Him for His clear warnings (sometimes with little punishments to make me listen so I would handle the matters and not let them go until too late).


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