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What Tolerance Doesn’t Mean July 12, 2005

Posted by mjtilley in Uncategorized.

While the book of Jonah clearly lays out God’s tolerant, it is equally clear that this tolerance isn’t ignorance or overlooking of sin.

  • Tolerance doesn’t mean that sin is relative. That is, sin isn’t sin because I say it is. Nor is it not sin for the same reason. Sin is sin because of the word, character and demands of God.
  • Tolerance doesn’t mean that sin is OK. While sin’s presence doesn’t stop God from loving Nineveh or Jonah, it did get in the way of a relationship with God and the resulting blessing, power and presence of God.
  • Tolerance doesn’t mean that sin isn’t so bad as long as you’re “just being yourself.” While many of the people in Nineveh could certainly be excused in a human sense of doing what came natural and expected in their environment, it made no difference in how this sin offended God. The same goes for Jonah. I definitely understand and would even be tempted to excuse Jonah for his attitude. His reaction was certainly in keeping with his upbringing and in other ways very natural. But that doesn’t change the fact that he disobeyed God and had to be reconciled to God.
  • Tolerance doesn’t mean that sin doesn’t matter to God. Jonah had to obey and learn his lesson. Otherwise, judgment was sure to follow and likely with more intensity. Nineveh had to repent of their sins to turn God’s judgment. Without that necessary ingredient, the sin would have continued to block the path to a relationship with God.

God certainly does love the sinner and hate the sin. But the sinner who relishes his sin is sure to incur God’s wrath. Without repentance, reconciliation with God is impossible.



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