Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.
Returning to a small river that I knew as a youth, I was disappointed to see how much it had changed from the way it had been. I get the same feeling when I see people who once feared God and have chosen to turn away from Him. It’s called apostasy which means to willfully defect, depart from or to revolt against God.
These are they who don’t walk the streets holding up signs saying “don’t listen to God.” Instead it’s the way they have reverted back to living their lives according the ways of this world.
For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.
2 Peter 2:20
How does one turn away from God? The most obvious answer is by disregarding God’s will. Following God’s will is accepting the inheritance He has given to us. This would first be accepting the truth that He created us.
And God made man in His own likeness. In the likeness of God He made him. He made both male and female. And God wanted good to come to them, saying, “Give birth to many. Grow in number. Fill the earth and rule over it. Rule over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Then God said, “See, I have given you every plant that gives seeds that is on the earth, and every tree that has fruit that gives seeds. They will be food for you.
We accept the truth that He has redeemed us. This means that when mankind rebelled against God and turned to Satan who was the ruler of darkness, God came back to earth to bring the light of truth back into our lives.
Thus to be led by God means to be led by God’s love.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
That is why apostasy is so dangerous; we return to living a life ruled by sin. The apostle Peter, known to be firm like a rock, said such a life fulfills the following proverb.
“A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”
2 Peter 2:21-22
The truth is that the second time around is much worse. That’s the danger the Christian church must always guard against, taking on the ways of the world for the sake of tolerance.
Tolerance may acknowledge that others may have their beliefs. It does not mean that one has to accept those beliefs. Too often tolerance means the rejection of absolute truth and the acceptance of relative truth. Tolerance does not mean we have to accept this.
It all goes back to a river that has changed its course. To believe in God is to believe in a God who has never changed His ways.
God’s people can be tolerant of the fact that others may believe differently from them. But the people of God must also accept the fact that they will be treated with intolerance when they speak the absolute truths according to the ways of God.
Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.