Pastoral Concerns, part 3
This is our third Sunday looking at this passage in which Paul uses the imagery of a wedding ceremony to describe the relationship of the church to Christ. Verse 2 – Paul has “betrothed” the church “to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” Paul’s hope is to retain the purity of the church until it is presented to Christ at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
However, something at the church was causing Paul much concern—notice verse 3a – “for I fear.” He was concerned about the spiritual status of the church. False teachers had crept in and were deceiving the people, corrupting their minds, and turning them away from the Gospel into error. That is a major problem, and that’s what Paul is concerned about.
The issue here is toleration—vs. 4 “you may well put up with it.” The question is, whom do we put up with? Whom do we allow to have an influence in the church? We should allow only those who stand for and teach the biblical Gospel. We should not tolerate or bear with those who teach error and falsehood—especially error regarding Jesus and the Gospel. If a church is tolerating this kind of error, a pastor should be very concerned about it.
The text reveals several common pastoral concerns. These are serious, grave fears that plague many pastors.