a reply to: paxnatus
It is true that God wants everyone to repent. And Jesus did indeed come to save us sinners. All of that is correct, and we are in agreement. In
fact Jesus said that we cannot leave the world (talking about his followers):
(John 17:15-17) 15 “I request you, not to take them out of the world, but to watch over them because of the wicked one. 16 They are no part of
the world, just as I am no part of the world. . . .
Christians live in among the world, they are not taken out of the world. Yet, they do not cultivate friendships with the world, nor is their desire
upon things of this world:
(1 John 2:17) . . .Furthermore, the world is passing away and so is its desire, but he that does the will of God remains forever.
This world with its desires will soon pass on. But those who live for Jehovah will continue to keep living.
A true Christian, as you noted, loves people. Not just other Christians. That love compels them to preach and teach about the good news of God's
kingdom to everyone they see. It also compels them to do good works toward others, not just other Christians.
Nevertheless, one does not become overly friendly with worldly people. They can mistake our kindness and our love for them as a wanting to become
friends, but we shun association with people who do not uphold godly standards:
(1 Corinthians 15:33) Do not be misled. Bad associations spoil useful habits.
(Proverbs 13:20) He that is walking with wise persons will become wise, but he that is having dealings with the stupid ones will fare badly.
It is just as the Psalmist said:
(Psalm 26:4, 5) . . .I have not sat with men of untruth; And with those who hide what they are I do not come in. 5 I have hated the
congregation of evildoers, And with the wicked ones I do not sit.
Jesus did preach to sinners. But he could read their heart. It is obvious that when they heard his message, those who became his followers, such as
Mary and Martha, or Matthew the Tax-Collector, turned back form their former course of life and repented of their bad ways. If they didn't Jesus
would not have continued to associate with them. That is why scripture says:
(1 Corinthians 6:9-11) . . .What! Do YOU not know that unrighteous persons will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be misled. Neither
fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men kept for unnatural purposes, nor men who lie with men, 10 nor thieves, nor greedy persons, nor
drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit God’s kingdom. 11 And yet that is what some of YOU were. But YOU have been washed clean,
but YOU have been sanctified, but YOU have been declared righteous in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and with the spirit of our God.
Yes, people who practice such things will never make it into God's kingdom. But many Christians were formerly people in the world who did not know
better, and were children of wrath, fit for destruction:
(Ephesians 2:3) . . .Yes, among them we all at one time conducted ourselves in harmony with the desires of our flesh, doing the things willed by
the flesh and the thoughts, and we were naturally children of wrath even as the rest.
But upon learning the truth, we accepted it as it rightfully was, as the word of God and not that of man, and have purified ourselves of every
defilement of the flesh.
As you said, God's tolerating this system of things to go on so long, is not slowness on his part, as we consider slowness, rather it is because of
his patience, he not desiring one person to be destroyed, rather, that all attain to repentance:
(2 Peter 3:9) Jehovah is not slow respecting his promise, as some people consider slowness, but he is patient with YOU because he does not desire any
to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance.
But when judgement day does finally arrive. Where will you stand? You see, you will need to have cleansed yourself before that time comes. And yes
there are Christians who are able to remain without spot from the world, just as has been commanded them. And if someone falls, they do not give up.
They get back up and continue on:
(2 Peter 3:14, 15) . . .Hence, beloved ones, since YOU are awaiting these things, do YOUR utmost to be found finally by him spotless and
unblemished and in peace. 15 Furthermore, consider the patience of our Lord as salvation. . .
Another scripture that explains how God feels about those who cultivate friendship with the world (If you missed it, you quoted it, but for some
reason missed it:
James 4:4) Adulteresses, do YOU not know that the friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever, therefore, wants to be a friend of the world
is constituting himself an enemy of God.
edit on 22-4-2014 by iSomeone because: (no reason given)