Should Christians Be Tolerant?

Jesus was willing to hang out with sinners, so shouldn’t we?

Yes. But we need to examine our motives and guard our hearts when we do.

In a time when the theological lines are blurred by cultural Christianity and tolerance is touted as biblical, we need to understand that Jesus died to save us from our sins, not to leave us in them.

His willingness to hang out with sinners was for the sake of saving them, not to morally or theologically align Himself with them.

As Christians, we need to be sure we understand and live according to the Word of God and that we teach our children, not only what to believe, but why they believe it and how to live it out.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines tolerance as sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own.

The very definition of tolerance means we can accept that others may not believe what we believe and may behave contrary to what Scriptures calls us to… but it doesn’t mean that we have to accept, affirm or agree with what they are doing.

Romans 6 resounds with the truth about how Jesus died to set us from from the power and the penalty of sin. When we become a Christian, Christ delivers us from the bondage of sin. And Romans 8 reminds us that sin no longer has dominion over us. (Romans 8:1-11)

That’s because…Jesus died to set us free from our sins…not to leave us in them.

So a lot of Christians are asking – aren’t we supposed to love sinners with the love of Jesus?

The easy and short answer is YES! A big resounding YES!

But love doesn’t mean you agree, accept or condone their sins.

We love our children, but we don’t always love what they do. If they lie, cheat or steal, we don’t pretend like what they are doing is okay. That isn’t true love.

Love deals with the sin without changing our heart for the sinner. 

Sometimes, the best thing we can do for someone who is walking in sin is to help them understand what sin is, how dangerous it can be and how it separates them from a holy God. If they choose not to listen, we continue to love them and pray for them but we never align our theology with their morality.

Don’t confuse Jesus’ willingness to hang out with sinners as His acceptance of their sin. We can spend time with sinners, but we need to be sure our theology and our faith is strong. 

God is holy. God’s Word is true. That doesn’t change because society has embraced sin.

Truth is not determined by the culture. The culture is accountable to the truth regardless of whether it believes it or not.

So, should Christians be tolerant? Yes. But should Christians tolerate sin that is pervading the culture as some kind of normal behavior that should be embraced? No.

Look at how King Asa dealt with sin in 1 Kings 15:9-15...

In the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Asa became king over Judah. 10 And he reigned forty-one years in Jerusalem. His grandmother’s name was Maachah the granddaughter of Abishalom. 11 Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as did his father David. 12 And he banished the perverted persons from the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. 13 Also he removed Maachah his grandmother from being queen mother, because she had made an obscene image of Asherah. And Asa cut down her obscene image and burned it by the Brook Kidron. 14 But the high places were not removed. Nevertheless Asa’s heart was loyal to the Lord all his days. 15 He also brought into the house of the Lord the things which his father had dedicated, and the things which he himself had dedicated: silver and gold and utensils.

Dear Church…we need to stop taking sin so lightly. We need to deal with it in our own lives as well as in our culture. Tolerating those who sin for the sake of the gospel is very different than tolerating sinful behavior as something we should embrace and align our theology to.

Jesus died to save us from our sins…not to leave us in them.

We tolerate sinners to reach them with the Gospel of Christ and to show them the love of Jesus in hopes that they will repent of their sins and give their lives to the one who gave His life for them… to deliver them from the power and penalty of sin so they can be free from the bondage of sin and walk in newness of life.

We don’t tolerate sin to the point that we align our beliefs with it.

As the old saying goes… “Love the sinner. Hate the sin.”

And the only way we can do that well is to walk in the Spirit and stay in the Word.


Romans 61What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

From Slaves of Sin to Slaves of God

15 What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? 17 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 19 I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.

20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God iseternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Have you been set free from sin, my friend? If not, surrender your life to Jesus today! He’s just a repentant prayer away!

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