Queries And Answers
I know none of us are perfect, and in order to fellowship anyone we must fellowship some sin, But WHICH sins may one safely fellowship? S.L.
None at all! The question is alive with misconceptions. Christians may be perfect according to Phil. 3:15. We may be full-grown in Christ with respect to attitude — pressing toward the mark. It is true that all sin, but our association with one who is striving to avoid sin, and constantly praying for forgiveness as he is aware of his sins, is not the same as fellowshipping sin.
Fellowship involves sharing or being a partner in or with sin. If we condone sin, support or lend our influence to advance it, refrain from teaching against it, or encourage another in it, we do wrongly. Notice Pauls statements concerning a thing right within itself (eating meat that had been offered to idols) when such eating encouraged idol worship, or put one in the position of endorsing such worship. (1 Cor. 10:14-31)
Did the Lord fellowship sin when He waited for Jezebel to repent? (See Rev. 2:21) And while He waits for us to repent, 2 Pet. 3:9; bear fruit, Jn. 15: 2-f.; and forgive others, Matt. 6:14-15? How fortunate we are that God is more concerned about us, than we are about our weaker brethren. I fervently thank God that He continues to treat me as His own, despite my many imperfections; and yet, I do not believe that God fellowships sin —not for one minute. (1 Jn. 1:6 Jas. 1:13) Congregational (team-work) activities call for a very obvious type of fellowship: and I can not support financially, nor lend influence to worship or work that is without divine authority. For those who know Gods plan, and who love God more that they love a party of people, or a certain building, this line is not so difficult to draw. In the same category are approving associations with immoralities that flaunt the authority of God and human decency. (2 Jn. 9-11; 1 Cor. 5:1-f)
Perhaps more difficult are those cases of teachers and practitioners of error who seem to act in good conscience before God, and believe they are doing and teaching as God wills. Patience is certainly demanded — and in all such cases, free discourse and study of Gods word on the subject must prevail. There is no surer sign of the wrong attitude than for one to insist upon a certain practice or teaching, and demand immunity from censure or open Bible study.
Then there will always be babes in Christ, and those who should be teachers but have not grown, who sin repeatedly and need much care and attention if they are to survive. It would tax a Solomon to know just how far patience should go — but attitude will be the deciding factor, on their part and on ours. We begin to fellowship sin when we are content with such, and no longer feel it necessary to try and save their souls.
A Christian never knowingly fellowships any sin; especially that of judging others by his own standards