From False Unity to Godly Division
God would have us mature from false unity to godly division. Paul had to rebuke a bunch of immature brethren at Corinth for allowing brazen sin to grow unchecked among themselves. “And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:2) The necessary action by mature saints would be to “put away from among yourselves that wicked person,” (1 Corinthians 5:13) so that there wouldn’t be false unity, which gives room for sin to spread.
Jesus rebuked the church in Thyatira for similar problems. “Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.” (Revelation 2:20)
The word suffer means to allow or tolerate, but I think it conveys a sense of reluctance. Let me illustrate the difference by supposing my child comes and asks me for a cookie. I can say, “No.” Or I can say, “Sure, you can have a cookie! And give a couple to your brother and sister, too.” The first response is disallowing, the second one is allowing. To suffer them would be like, “Well, you just have too much sugar anyway, I don’t think you should—I’m not sure—well, you know—yeah, whatever.” That’s to suffer, and I don’t know if it’s ever good to do. (I don’t know everything, so I’m not going to say it’s never good to do that.)
Anyway, the leaders of the church were suffering this woman, a false prophet, who was teaching the saints of God that it’s okay to sin. Perhaps they were bothered by it, but they tolerated it anyway. It was false unity. “We don’t want to cause division. We don’t to want to offend her.”
But Jesus calls us to godly division from sin and idolatry. “I came not to send peace, but a sword.” (Matthew 10:34) “If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine”—the doctrine of Christ, the way, the truth, and the life—“receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed.” (2 John 1:10) If a false teacher comes to your house, don’t let him come in, not even if it’s raining. And don’t say, “Have a good day.” Don’t wish him God speed. I don’t know if we have to wish that their tire blows out, and that they stub their toe. Sometimes when false teachers come knocking on my door, I want to. But John says, don’t wish them God speed. “What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)