Faithful, but Faulty
“And Solomon loved the LORD, walking in the statutes of David his father: only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places.”(1 Kings 3:3)
David’s son Solomon, that great king of Israel who was granted wisdom and greatness above all the kings of the earth, that man entrusted by Jehovah to build his temple at Jerusalem, was a faithful, believing man. He both loved the Lord and walked in his statutes.
Yet, like all God’s people in this world, like all God’s servants in this world, Solomon was far from perfect. His faults were glaring, so glaring that some have even asserted that Solomon was a lost man, an unbeliever, a reprobate! The man who gave us by Divine inspiration the wisdom of Proverbs, the heavenly sweetness of the Song of Solomon, and the depths of Ecclesiastes, some pigmies judge to be a lost man!
Solomon’s faults are set before us in the Book of God, as are those of many of the most eminent saints, not to excuse them, or to excuse the same faults in us, but to remind us that the best of men are only men, fallen, sinful, failing men.
Contrary to the opinions of some, faithful men often behave in contradictory ways and even believe contradictory things. Yes, it is possible for a Peter to take sides with legalists and lead others in a horrible dissimulation, though he truly did believe the gospel (Galatians 2:9-16). It is possible for an apostle like Paul, who believed better and knew better, to take a legal vow of purification to appease a bunch of legalists (Acts 21:20-26). It is possible for an Aaron, a spokesman for God, to lead the children of Israel in the worship of golden calves calling it the worship of Jehovah (Exodus 32:4-5).
I call your attention to these things for a reason: — There is a shameful, sinful tendency in us to denounce preachers and brethren as lost people because of doctrinal inconsistencies, inconsistencies that may reveal a weakness, a fault, maybe even a blameworthy fault. But it is altogether possible for people to believe the gospel of Christ and believe something that is inconsistent with the gospel, not seeing the inconsistency. I fear that we find it easier to denounce someone as lost, treating them as reprobates, than to help them as brethren. That ought not be the case.
Let others cut us off and denounce us as they may, we should never behave in such a manner. If a person believes that Jesus is the Christ, believes that the man Jesus is God our Savior, that he actually did accomplish all that the law and prophets said the Christ would accomplish, that he actually did put away sin, bring in everlasting righteousness, and save his people from their sins, that person is born of God (1 John 5:1). He should be embraced by us, loved by us, and helped by us.
I am fully aware that some will react to what I have written here by saying, “That’s compromise. I am not about to embrace as my brother a person who says he believes something contrary to the gospel of the grace of God.” That is your privilege, if you so choose; but I am afraid you will have to exclude Aaron, Solomon, Peter, and Paul from the church to make room for your swollen head and swollen heart. For my part, I would rather run the risk of embracing a hundred false brethren, who may cause me great pain and sorrow, than that of shutting one of God’s saints out of my life (Galatians 6:1-2)
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