Philippians 4:5 – Let your moderation be known unto all men…
Moderation is a trait by which the son/daughter of God should be known. Venturing into the extreme is a tendency of our flesh and it can occur on either side of the truth both in a good thing and in a bad thing. Zeal and passion need to be bridled by truth and likewise truth in understanding needs to be pursued with zeal and passion. Zeal without knowledge is dangerous, but knowledge without zeal is complacent. Neither glorify God and to pick your druthers in one or the other is to substitute a part of your moderation for the same vanity in the end. While the body of Christ at large stands segregated at their denominational corner posts and points fingers at another group’s failure in some respect, the charity is lacking and the testimony of Christ suffers.
Now I am by no means advocating for ecumenicalism. This in itself is an unbalanced extreme that can only result in error and confusion, but what I am saying is that moderation is not found in being reactionary to error, but rather being purposefully “actionary” in the truth. By that what I mean is that we have a tendency toward extremes when we are reacting to a situation or person rather than evaluating a right position objectively in view of God’s word. Sometimes positions are taken for or against certain things, not because a balanced and honest approach to God’s word has led us to that position, but because we have reacted to a perceived error or misappropriation by some other group. In an attempt to flee from an abuse of truth, we are apt to overcorrect by running to the opposite extreme and in the end find ourselves equally out of balance on the matter.
However, just because a man is scripturally incorrect about some matters does not mean that he is wrong about all matters, and while we should not compromise with error for the sake of unity, let us take heed that we do not set at nought our brethren just because we disagree on some things. Sometimes our disagreements are such that it is better for us to minister separately for Christ’s sake, but let us be sure that we are accurately judging the difference between a false prophet and a weaker brother. Let us endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in those matters our apostle set before us as the basis of fellowship, prove all things and hold fast to that which is good. Our manner of life ought to be biblically based and we should be fully persuaded in our own minds from God’s word as to the stand that we take, but let us not become reactionary in our stances due to the misapplications of others.
Unfortunately, this can and does happen in the body of Christ. In correcting for fundamentalist legalism, many modern churches have embraced soft liberalism, and in similar manner many that see the woes of liberalism have ventured into the extremes of legalistic religion. Both are unbalanced and swerve from a position of moderation that comes from being biblically based. If we allow the Bible to be the Bible it will show us what the grace life of moderation is all about. It is not legalist rules of carnal observances nor is it unbridled licentious, but it is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. It is a life founded on God’s doctrine with the needed reproof and correction that addresses both sides of our extreme tendencies, and it gives us the proper instruction in righteousness that we might become true men of God, perfectly mature in our inner man and furnished unto all good works. This is the end we ought to pursue, and this moderation should be known unto all men.