Today many people are quick to respond to warnings against those who are immoral or those who teach false doctrine and say, “But look how God is blessing them and how many converts they have.” The question that we must ask of the Scriptures is this: “Do God’s blessings equal God’s endorsement?”
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:43–45) God’s blessings often fall equally upon the righteous and the unrighteous and upon the unthankful as well as the evil (Luke 6:35). We cannot equate the blessings of God to the endorsement of God.
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21–23) Sometimes amazing things are done by those who profess the name of Jesus, and yet that is not an endorsement of God. Jesus warned earlier that we know them by their fruits. If we think that we will know someone by the approval and endorsement of men, we will go wrongly. If we recognize the fact that the fruit of which Jesus speaks is the fruit of obedience to His Word, we will understand that there are those who may do “many wonderful works” in Jesus’ name while speeding toward hell and eternity without Christ. Remember, numbers are not what indicates true spirituality and Christianity. Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:13–14) In this instance it is much better to be among the few than among the many.
Sometimes folks will say, “But surely the blessings of God on them shows that they are truly His and sent by Him.” It is then that we must remind them of the words of God through Paul, who said, “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;” (Romans 2:4–5) God’s blessings are not always indicators of God’s endorsement and approval. Sometimes God’s blessings are His tender mercies calling us to repentance and, should a person use these blessings as reason to continue in sin, false doctrine, or to continue in the ministry while having disqualified himself, he is warned that he is treasuring up for himself wrath in the judgment!
Finally, the blessings and presence of God do not mean that a church or person is doing the right thing. Five of the seven churches of Asia in Revelation chapters two and three were rebuked of God, while He still accepted them as His churches. Consider the things for which they were rebuked:
- leaving their first love Rev 2:4
- teachers who led others astray into greed, lust, fornication, and idolatry Rev 2:14-15
- having a woman preacher who led folks into fornication and idolatry Rev 2:20
- having a name of being alive while being dead Rev 3:1
- for being complacent, self-satisfied, and self-righteous Rev 3:15-17
These folks were still Christ’s churches, yet He was not endorsing their behaviors. They still had the presence and blessings of God although many were sternly warned about the judgment that would be coming on them if they did not repent. While I cannot pretend to know what any of you who read this would think, I do know that I do not want experience any of the things with which Christ threatened these churches! Not only do I want to experience the presence and the blessings of God, but I also want to experience the smile and approval of God. Sometimes we will speak of sin and say, “God won’t bless where that is going on.” These church letters teach us otherwise. God is longsuffering, merciful, and gracious to us, and will often bless us despite ourselves; but we should never think that mercy and grace are equal to an endorsement of us when we are involved in false doctrines or living unrepentant in sin.