The problem with good and evil occupying the same place is nothing new and this is emphasised in the parables, where He addresses the separation which is to take place at the end of history. Before we get to the parable which addresses this subject, a few other things must be considered first. This must happen so that we can understand how God’s word continues to address the age-old problem, of good and evil occupying the same place.
I have addressed the importance of understanding and presenting the equity of God’s word even when the immediate context is addressing a different subject (why we shouldn’t send our daughters off to war). Another example of “equity and principle” would be security cameras, which are never mentioned in God’s word, but they do have their equivalent in the word of God. When the word of God speaks about making a case on the basis of two to three witnesses, we can understand that a security camera capturing a crime (providing witness) in principle is fulfilling the word of God, the value (equity) of God’s word can be seen in the use of a security camera.
Therefore, if we are to address such issues as the “Hate crime bill” which we’re told threatens gospel freedom and we are encouraged to have our say. Let’s make sure that what we have to say comes from the word of God. With this in mind, I will address the issues from a parable Jesus told.
Someone has sown bad seed among the good
Jesus told a parable about good seed being sown into the master’s field by his servants, only for an enemy to come along and sow bad seed (Matthew 13:24-30 and the explanation is given in Matthew 13:3643). When the servants of the master wanted to know how the good seed which they had sown is now growing alongside the bad seed, the master explains that this was done by an enemy. The servants seek to address the issue by suggesting that they could uproot the weeds and separate them from the wheat. The master replies, “let them both grow together until the harvest, and at the harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn” (Matt 13:30)
Parables we should remember are told by Jesus because we (those who belong to God) have been given the secrets of the kingdom but all others have not. Jesus is asked, “why do you speak to them in parables?” And He answered them “to you, it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them, it has not been given” (Matt 13:10-11). Therefore, when Jesus has to explain this parable by His disciples, something which they should have understood if they had ears to hear it and eyes to see it, demonstrate just how much of their mind and heart is caught up in this world. When Jesus explains the parable, He explains why we the weeds were to be left alone (the evil which occupied the same place as the good).
“…And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” 37 He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, 39 and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. 40 Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, 42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. (Matthew 13:36-43)
Implications of the explanation
Good and evil occupy the same place, therefore the enemies kingdom of God will always coexist with the sons of the kingdom (the good seed) in this world. At the end of the age, the bad will be separated from the good and not the good from the bad. Notice how the weeds are removed, all causes of sin and lawbreakers are thrown into the fiery furnace and the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Kingdom people must live in a fallen world until Christ returns and therefore until that time the evil will occupy the same place as the good.
Those in the world who want to pass this “hate crime bill” are trying to do the very thing which Jesus said that the servants shouldn’t. They are trying to separate and remove the bad from the good (what they consider to be bad), but we should be surprised that those in the world will not do as Jesus taught, but we would expect those who follow Jesus to follow Jesus. However, those who want to stop the bill from being passed are doing the same thing, they also are trying to separate the good from the bad, on both sides you have people who are trying to separate the good from the bad and this is because neither seems to be listening to Jesus. The good seed has been sown, it will grow and it will coexist alongside the bad seed and Jesus says to leave it alone lest you damage the wheat in the process of trying to uproot the bad.
The bad will be taken care of in the future and if you want something to do in the present why don’t you build Christian schools, colleges, orphanages, business, care homes and the like. Why don’t we address all those things which Christians are not doing that they should be, after all, Jesus said that as the world see our good works they will give glory to God. Too often, Christians want to address these social-political issues precisely because they are not doing what they are meant to be doing. At times it seems that there is too much of the wrong kind of attention is being given to the world from the church at the expense time, to do the things we should be doing.
When you have Christians with the vision to build Christian schools, colleges, orphanages, business, care homes and the like for the glory of God, you will have a fellowship of people focused on the will of God properly understood and those don’t are to busy pulling up weeds when they shouldn’t be. This isn’t to say that we shouldn’t speak up and act, we should, but we should do so by addressing those who make such laws and practice such sins openly. When Jesus called the Pharisees a brood of vipers, people were not left wondering who He was addressing.
Speaking truth to power
Today there are those who want to pull up weeds, just as there were in Jesus day as indicated by the servants in the parable and this is not the same as speaking truth to power, which we should do. John the Baptist had his head cut off because he did this very thing. John the Baptist was put in prison for the sake of Herodias. Herodias was the wife of Herod’s brother (Phillip) who was now with Herod and because John the Baptist spoke to this, saying that it was not lawful for him to have his brothers wife. At the time of Herod’s birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced for Herod, he enjoyed it and said to her that whatever she asked for, it would be given to her and prompted by her mother, she asked for the head of John the Baptist.
When John the Baptist addressed the law, he addressed those breaking the law of God and we can confidently say that he would have done this with any person who broke any law of God. We can also confidently say that he was committed to the kingdom of God and his engagement with the world was consistent with the will of God.
How to make matters worse
Jesus teaches us that any attempt to proceed with a premature separation will only result in damage. With all your desire to do good, you will end up by making matters worse. Since human beings are not perfect their imperfections are bound to show and since the power to a transformed life is Christ, we understand it cannot happen without Him. It is not good that we have planks in our eyes and it is not good that the wheat field is occupied with weeds but it is and it will be until Christ returns. Therefore, we need to understand that the good work which Jesus gave us to do is that of building lives and culture God’s way according to His will, and it’s not about separating the weeds from the wheat.
Show them how it’s done
Since this who subject is based on and around influences (the influence of a Bill that is passed in government), followers of Christ should remember that they have been warned by Jesus about losing their saltiness, meaning that when something dilutes it dilutes as a whole. For example, a drop of water in a glass of cordial dilutes all the cordial in the glass, more water means greater dilution. It is never the case that a small amount of water will only dilute a small amount ( a percentage ) of the juice. However, this is how we have come to think about influence, in other words, if the Christian engages in the world in one area where they shouldn’t it dilutes their whole witness not just the part of their engagement. Some followers, though they would never put it this way would say that they need to compromise a little bit of their saltiness in order to have an edge to influence the world, in the workplace or in the social sphere.
With this in mind, we can think about how Lot didn’t want the Angels to stay in the city overnight because of what could happen to them, “The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth and said, “My lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house and spend the night and wash your feet. Then you may rise up early and go on your way.” They said, “No; we will spend the night in the town square.” But he pressed them strongly; so they turned aside to him and entered his house. And he made them a feast and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.” (Gen 19:1-3)
This whole event begs the question and demonstrates the dilution of witness. Why does Lot not want these angels to stay in the very city where he lives? If he was aware that this was not the sort of place to live (clearly demonstrated by its destruction) then why live there in the first place. If however, he visits that city as an evangelist, his saltiness is maintained. This is the very instruction which Jesus gives to His disciples as they are sent out, “As you enter the house, greet it. And if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town. Truly, I say to you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that town.” (Matt 10:12-15).
The work of God and the people of God will not be destroyed, rather they and their work will flourish and grow until the coming of Christ and at that time the bad will be separated from the good and the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.