The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

The Field is the World; The Field is not the Church

Posted by israeliteindeed on March 12, 2015

How many times have you heard someone say concerning the overwhelming deluge of sin in the Church, “Well, there are wheat and tares in the Church, and God will figure it out in the end.”

Are we really supposed to turn a blind eye to a mixture of wheat and tares in the Church?

Look carefully at Jesus’ explanation of the wheat and tares parable–

“He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. ***The field is the world***, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear! (Matt. 13:47-43)

Vs. 38 is very explicit–according to Jesus, the field is THE WORLD. (Not the Church!)

That means the WORLD is presently filled with wheat and tares dwelling together. The wheat (believers) are also called “the light of the world” and “the salt of the earth” elsewhere in Scripture. They are purposely dispersed among the tares so as to witness to them and convert as many as possible to wheat. Both will be harvested at the end, the harvest signifying the end of all earthly life as we know it, when there is no more chance for anyone to repent. The wheat will be gathered safely, but the tares will be thrown out of the Kingdom of God and into the furnace of fire. This is very important–Jesus was not describing a mixture of righteous and evil people in the Church, but a mixture of righteous and evil people in the World.

Furthermore, we need to pay attention to the parable itself, which included a directive to not harm the tares (in the world) lest the wheat also be harmed–

The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them (the tares) up?’ (Matt. 13:28)

What would “gathering the tares up” do? It would kill them. To pull a plant out of the ground is to end its earthly life. The servants of God were asking if they should eradicate the wicked from among the righteous in the world.

But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.” (Matt. 13:29-30)

The righteous servants of God are not to go and gather out of the WORLD (the field) those who appear to be tares. We are to let them grow. This is yet another passage that flies in the face of “just war” for Christians. We are to preach the gospel to the tares, of course, in the hopes that they repent and are converted to wheat. But we are not to remove them from the ground (kill them!) This premature separation of wheat and tares could harm some of the wheat. There are several ways this could happen, but I will mention one that sticks out to me.

We have many warmongering “Christians” among us in the West (who apparently don’t think Jesus’ commands are meant to be obeyed) who are gung-ho to eradicate certain plots of tares. I have even heard some say that violently removing these whole groups of people from the earth is an act of mercy and kindness to the rest of us. Of course they attempt to justify this with bits and pieces of Old Covenant Scripture while ignoring or sidestepping many New Testament commands. This attitude is nothing more than Dark Ages crusaderism, and is not Christian in the slightest. What happens when these “tares” are removed from the world by professing “Christians”? Real wheat is also hurt. Those who might otherwise become Christians are repulsed by this fake form of Christianity. Some real Christians who dwell among “the tares” are damaged or destroyed along with them. (A case in point that is always on my heart is the Palestinian Christians who suffer along with their Muslim neighbors from the misguided zeal of zionists who send money to help steal their land and oppress them.)

Another danger that springs from believing the field is the Church–and I alluded to this in the beginning, is the turning of blind eyes to sin in the Church. We have already established that Jesus never said “the field is the Church,” but instead “the field is the WORLD.” Jesus never, ever taught that His spotless Bride was a mix of good and evil people! His Church is only those people whose works back up their profession in obedience to Christ. The New Testament is clear that sin in the gathering of believers must be dealt with. We see in the story of Ananias and Sapphira that God, through Peter, dealt swiftly and decisively with deceivers. Paul also taught that we are not to even eat with someone who claims to be a Christian yet walks in obvious sin. We are instead to “put away from ourselves the evil person” and have no fellowship with the wicked (I Cor. 5; 2 Cor. 6:14-15; Eph. 5:11).

In summary, real Christians live in a WORLD that is filled with believers and unbelievers (wheat and tares.) We are to preach the gospel to the tares, that they may repent and be converted; but we are not to uproot the tares lest our brethren (wheat) also be harmed. The Church is the Body of saints/believers sprinkled throughout the earth, and is always called to be entirely holy. Obvious sin in any local assembly needs to be reproved. Those who refuse to repent should be separated from in order to encourage their repentance, and to stop leaven from spreading. We Christians need to stop appealing to the parable of the wheat and tares to excuse our refusal to deal with the sin in our assemblies. To do so is a misuse of Scripture, for Jesus said very plainly, “The field is the world.”

God bless you!

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