Temporary Toleration

In the parable of the wheat and the weeds [tares], Jesus explains one reason why God allows the presence of wicked people in the world (13:24-30, 36-43). As in a field of wheat, both the desired crop and the unwanted weeds grow up together (13:26). The latter are the “sons of the wicked one” - that is, the “children” of the devil. If you think this description is too strong, remember that it comes from the lips of Jesus Himself, repeated for us in John 8:44. Paul explains that all people are like that before God saves them, because they – we – are “sons of disobedience” and thus destined for the wrath of God (Ephesians 2:2, 3). Everyone, without exception, is in bondage to the seduction of this world, the deceptions of Satan, and the desires of our own sinful nature (Ephesians 2:1-3). But there is another group, the “sons of the kingdom” (Matthew 13:38), also called “the righteous” (13:43). They are those who, in the parable of the sower (13:18-23) hear God’s word, believe it, and produce a crop of good deeds. God allows both the wicked and the righteous to exist side by side in the “field” that is the present age. Why? Partly, it seems, because to destroy the weeds would require killing the wheat also, they are so inseparably associated at present. At the end of the age, however, when Christ returns to judge the world and inaugurate His eternal kingdom, He will utterly eliminate all who “practice lawlessness,” and consign them to unending torment, while the ones who repented, believed, and turned to Him, will “shine forth” like the in all its brilliance. What can we learn from this? At the very least, let’s be less agitated about the presence of evil men in this world than the presence of evil in our own hearts! Don’t worry; a final reckoning and revealing is coming; may we be among the “righteous” then!