The Evil and the Good
January 1, 2021
The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest (Matthew 13:28-30).
Why would Jesus want the ministers of Satan to co-exist with His own servants and in His churches? It is against all common sense. We don’t allow weeds to grow with our crops out in the fields. We don’t allow spoiled vegetables and fruits to remain in the same refrigerator with the good vegetables and fruits.
God is the sovereign Lord over all His creation. He rightly judges the admixture of good and evil in the world and in His church differently than we judge the same mixture. He knows the good He intends to produce from it, and how far His patience toward the wicked will extend. For what purpose?
1) To strengthen and encourage His church in expanding the kingdom. How? Certainly not through leisure and freedom from adversity. The true church thrives in adversity. Its theology is defined and refined, its courage is embolden, and its morality purified in the face of the presence and attacks of Satan’s minions.
2) The conversion of those whom Satan uses to infiltrate, disrupt, and destroy the church. How else can they be saved but through the Gospel that the true church preaches and teaches and lives? Efforts to search out and destroy evil men with no regard for their salvation weakens the church and gives no opportunity for the church to grow in Christlikeness. “The zeal which leads persons to persecute others for religious opinions is not less a seed of the devil than a bad opinion itself is” (Albert Barnes).
Didn’t Jesus practice what He preached? Which one of His accusers did His wrath consume? Which of His persecutors did He persecute? Not one. Not even Judas Iscariot. He dismissed him spiritually when He knew Satan had taken complete control of him. But He did not seek to destroy him. He simply turned him over to Satan as Paul did to Hymenaeus and Alexander (1 Timothy 1:19-20).
The church will always have those who have been sent by the enemy of God in its midst. I use to fight that. I use to resist the thought that any member of my church would be less than a true believer. I have come to realize differently not only through biblical theology, but also through years of pastoral ministry. It is God’s desire they be saved. It is our ministry to insure they have every opportunity to be saved.
“Lord Jesus, encourage and strengthen us to remain faithful and loyal to You and Your kingdom, and to seek the salvation of those who are not. May we not be persuaded by the words and works of our enemy to become apostate as so many others have. May You continue to reign as Lord of our fellowship. In Your holy name I ask. Amen.”