“For everything God created is good,” 1 Timothy 4:4 begins. Really? What about mosquitoes? Well, yes. As much as many of us have wished that Noah had squashed those two on the ark, even mosquitoes have their place in God’s plan. Even our smart phones can either be instruments of great good or great evil, depending on their use. “… and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,” the verse finishes.
At first glance, this sounds like even sin is acceptable, but backing up to get the context of verses 1-5 makes us realize that the hypocritical liars who have abandoned the faith and are following deceiving spirits are being contrasted to “those who believe and who know the truth.” It is how we interact with and use what good things God has made that is the difference.
I. Romans 12:9-21. We must reject sin and wrong doctrine. We must hate evil and cling to what is good. This is difficult in a sin-soaked world, but those who believe and who know the truth must make this choice, despite what those closest to them choose or the circumstances they are in.
II. Matthew 18:15-20. We’ve all heard the adage that we are free to bind or loose on earth as we please and God is okay with it–as long as we can get two or three to agree with us. This is how a lot of denominations have developed. But, backing up to get the context shows us that we are speaking about the status of imperfect people in this imperfect world who are calling themselves ‘brothers’ but are living in conflict with the Word of God.
We might at this point hear someone quote Matthew 7:1, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged,” to further push the idea that we are not to be our brother’s keeper in any way. But, backing up to get the context shows that Jesus indeed tells us that we are to judge sinful actions in our brother in order to help him, but we can’t be hypocrites when we do it.
III. Galatians 5:13-26. Rather, we need to use the freedom we have in Christ to not indulge the sinful nature but serve one another in love. We see that those who do indulge will not inherit the kingdom of God, but those led by the Spirit, who “believe and who know the truth,” grow the fruits of the Spirit.
God has given us a lot of freedom to interact in this world that contains things to be shunned outright or things to be used for the glory of His Name instead of for our own selfish and sinful pleasures. Those who believe and who know the truth need to be watchful and carefully examine everything.
… but I still wish that Noah had squashed those mosquitoes!