The Tolerance and Disapproval of God

           Tolerance is a big thing these days. No matter what Person A thinks or acts like, he or she wants Person B to approve. If Person B expresses any dissent, Person A labels Person B as “intolerant.” But wait a minute: tolerance and approval are two different things. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, tolerance is “sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own; the act of allowing something.” Approval means “the act of expressing a favorable opinion of; accepting as satisfactory.” Just because something is allowed doesn’t mean that thing must also be approved of. So, the expression of one’s disapproval is not equivalent to being intolerant. In other words, one can be tolerant yet disapproving at the same time.

          We see the tolerance yet disapproval of God in Revelation 3:19. He says, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent” (NKJ). God tolerates our wrongdoing by letting us live as He continues to love us, but He doesn’t stop there. He doesn’t want us to continue doing wrong. When He sees our sin, He does not approve; He rebukes and chastens us. Rebuke (elegcho in Greek) means to confute (to overwhelm in argument), admonish, convict, and convince. Chasten (paideuo in Greek) means to train up a child, educate, discipline (by punishment if necessary), instruct, and teach. God gives us convincing, overwhelming arguments showing us we are wrong in our sin, and then He educates and disciplines us in the way we ought to be living.

          Once rebuked and chastised, the ball is in our court. We are then called upon to “be zealous and repent.” We are to have a heated desire to change our minds and actions. It’s on us to actively be about the business of living differently. It is not okay to tolerate in ourselves thoughts, mindsets, actions, or a lifestyle for which God has given rebuke and chastening. When we find ourselves in opposition to God on any front, God calls upon us to “be zealous and repent.”

           It’s not comfortable to face, but in what area(s) are you in opposition to God today?

Hear God’s rebuke:

  • Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor {the} covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. First Corinthians 6:9-10 (NAS)

But also hear God’s chastening:

  • And such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God. First Corinthians 6:11 (NAS)

         Remember that rebukes and chastening are a function of God’s love. “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines” Hebrews 12:6 (NAS). Now be zealous and repent.


©2012 Sharon Norris Elliott. Feel free to forward this devotion in its entirety, including this copyright line. Leave comments, ask questions, read past devotions, or subscribe to receive these devotions daily in your e-mail at Also, periodically check in at to see what’s going on in the ministry.

 And pick up a copy of Sharon’s new book, Power Suit: The Armor of God Fit for the Feminine Frame, available at Christian bookstores, online, from New Hope Publishers, from the Life That Matters Ministries’ website, and now also available on Kindle!


~ by sanewriter on December 6, 2012.

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