Injustice in the Church is More Detestable than Injustice in the World
For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? (1Peter 4:17)
Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. (Matthew 11:20-22)
And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.” (Matthew 11:23-24)
When the Lord reveals His truth, He always holds the recipients of that truth accountable for believing it and obeying it. You see it in Romans chapter one for example —
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. (Rom 1:18-20)
See it? “God has shown it to them….So they are without excuse.”
This is why Jesus denounced Chorazin and Bethsaida over Tyre and Sidon (pagan cities) and Capernaum over Sodom. Those Israelite cities had been given God’s special revelation in the Law and Prophets, and more — Jesus Himself had performed the mighty works of God right in front of their eyes. Yet they rejected Him. Divine woes are pronounced upon them.
It is one thing for the sin-darkened world to deal out injustice to the oppressed and downtrodden. Those evils will surely be called into account when the Day of the Lord comes. But what do we suppose is going to happen on that Day when those who claim the name of Christ, who hold in their own hands both Old and New Testament Scriptures, stand before Christ? What will Jesus say to them as He shows for all creation to see how they dealt wickedly with the oppressed? These people have read, have they not? —
Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:13)
What is unclear about that? Scripture even gives us plain examples of people who had NOT learned what this mercy principle means — the hypocrites and Pharisees. So the meaning is very clear. What then will church leaders and professing Christians do, what can they expect, when Jesus comes and it is revealed that they ex-communicated abuse victims, tried to force them to remain with their oppressor, and even justified and enabled the abuser? What will they do?
Jesus gives an answer in regard to Capernaum and it should make people who claim to be Christians, yet oppress victims, shudder —
And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades.
We have all been blind to the deceptions and lies of wicked abusers hiding among us. All of us initially are taken in by these kind. It is the very nature of their disguise and cunning. But if we are Christ’s true sheep, at some point we hear His voice. The light of His truth comes on. His Spirit in us leads us to righteousness and shows us the evil that is hiding in our pews. We confess our blindness and sin and repent of it, then set out to do right and help the oppressed.
But today what we are seeing over and over and over in local churches is a real void of any such repentance. We see so many cases of people claiming Jesus’ name yet growing harder and harder and more and more stubborn in their insistence that victims must remain with their abuser and really share as much blame as the one oppressing them. We see well-known “Christian” celebrity type authors pushing the same old abusive dogma and the people love it so, scarfing up their books and audios. What we don’t see is the rare jewel of repentance.
Woe. Woe. Woe to you Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. You think you will ascend into heaven? You will not. You will be brought down to Hades unless you repent.
Jesus says so.