Saturday, December 10, 2011

Saturday Scripture Speaks

"But I have a few complaints against you. You tolerate some among you whose teaching is like that of Balaam, who showed Balak how to trip up the people of Israel. He taught them to sin by eating food offered to idols and by committing sexual sin. In a similar way, you have some Nicolaitans among you who follow the same teaching. Repent of your sin, or I will come to you suddenly and fight against them with the sword of my mouth." Revelation 2:14-16 (NLT)

I have wondered who the Nicolaitans were and what they were all about. After all, Jesus says that He will come suddenly and fight against them with the sword of His mouth (typically, the sword Jesus refers to is the Word of God). When in doubt, a good rule to follow is: Let Scripture interpret Scripture.

Obviously, the Nicolaitans followed the same teaching as Balaam. Remember him from Numbers 22? He is the man whose donkey spoke to him when he continued to beat it. That's what most people remember. The more important part of his life's story is that he worked his way into the graces of Israel - Balak in particular - and taught them to sin. What was the sin? Turning away from God and committing sexual sins and eating food offered to idols, both of which broke God's Law.

I think we have "Nicolaitans" among us today. They have a different name, however. They teach weak Christians that, because of Christian liberty (grace), they might "live like the devil" and not reap the consequences. After all, Jesus died for past, present, and future sins - which is quite true. The problem with this thinking is that liberty becomes an excuse to sin.

Jesus died once and for all to cover the sins of the world - for those sins from which the sinners have repented, however. To continue in a sin is extremely dangerous. To teach others that it's okay is more so (false teaching - see 2 Peter 2:1).

1 Peter 1:14-16 (NIV): As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

Being holy is doable. How? By that same grace that the Nicolaitans abuse you can find forgiveness and the ability to rise above the sins that Jesus hates so much. Don't let another day go by without repentance and forgiveness - and holiness.

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