We realize this is a natural tendency of human nature to distinguish between “us” and “them.” This is sectarian. It grows into a doctrine of sectarianism. From the first man, Adam—who wanted God to know that he wasn’t as bad as his wife (Genesis 3:12)—all the way to you and me, pride wants us to exalt ourselves by humbling other people. As usual God wants it to be the other way around.
- According to one definition, is bigotry, discrimination, or hatred arising from attaching importance to perceived differences between subdivisions within a group, such as between different denominations of a religion, class, regional or factions of a political movement.
There seem to be 3 Greek words, which form a progression.
Sow a thought and you reap an action;
sow an act and you reap a habit;
sow a habit and you reap a character;
sow a character and you reap a destiny.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson Quotes from The Selected Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson
The first word can be translated as “a self-chosen opinion”…
- hairesis: choice, opinion
- haíresis (a feminine noun derived from138 /hairéomai, “personally select, choose”) – properly, a personal (decisive) choice.
139 /haíresis (“a strong, distinctive opinion”) is used in the NT of individual “parties (sects)” that operated within Judaism. The term stresses the personal aspect of choice– and hence how being a Sadducee (Ac 5:17) was sharply distinguished from being a Pharisee (Ac 15:5; 26:5).
[As a feminine noun, 139 (haíresis) highlights the subjective (individual) nature of a specific (divisive) opinion.]
This self-chosen opinion tends to lead to another word, which can be translated as “division” …
- dichostasia: standing apart, dissension
- (from dixa, “separately” and 4714 /stásis, “a standing, stance”) – properly, separate-standings (“standing apart”), used of divisions which wrongly separate people into pointless (groundless) factions.
This division, when it has finished it’s work, tends to lead to the final word, which can be translated “sectarian”…
Titus 3:10 Adj-AMS
GRK: αἱρετικὸν ἄνθρωπον μετὰ
NAS: Reject a factious man after a first and second warning,
KJV: A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;
INT: A factious man after one and a second admonition reject
YLT: A sectarian man, after a first and second admonition be rejecting,
- (an adjective, derived from 138 /hairéomai, “to choose, have a distinctive opinion”) – a factious person, specializing in half-truths and misimpressions “to win others over” to their personal opinion (misguided zeal) – while creating harmful divisions (used only in Tit 3:10). See 139(hairesis). –HELPS™ Word-studies
Thus we see that sectarianism does not spring full grown from the ground. It is sown as a seed of a sectarian self-chosen opinion, which grows into a division, and ultimately reaps, sectarianism. The sin of sectarianism is one of the worst sins. The Apostle Paul told us to “look at, regard attentively, take heed, beware, consider” those who behaved this way and “refuse, reject, decline, shun, avoid” them. This is serious! God hates pride.
There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: (arrogant, proud) haughty eyes… (Proverbs 6:16-19)
So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. (1 Peter 5:6)
But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12)
Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor. (Proverbs 29:23)
Sometimes I feel like Peter. Sometimes it takes a lot to get my attention. I have come to realize that I am not to be sectarian and call anything unclean if God has made it clean…
Then Peter told them exactly what had happened. “I was in the town of Joppa,” he said, “and while I was praying, I went into a trance and saw a vision. Something like a large sheet was let down by its four corners from the sky. And it came right down to me. When I looked inside the sheet, I saw all sorts of tame and wild animals, reptiles, and birds. And I heard a voice say, ‘Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.’ “‘No, Lord,’ I replied. ‘I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure or unclean.’ “But the voice from heaven spoke again: ‘Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.‘ This happened three times before the sheet and all it contained was pulled back up to heaven. (Acts 11:4-10)
Please consider the following passages. Every saved Christian, no matter how spiritually mature, no matter how intellectually confused, no matter how physically stubborn, has been cleansed by the wonderful spiritual cleansing of joining with the Lord Jesus Christ and participating with him in his death, burial, and resurrection. How can one newly-cleaned person treat another newly-cleaned person as unclean?
Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:1-7)
You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross. (Colossians 2:13-15)
Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
I have acknowledged my sin of being sectarian, and I have asked the Lord to forgive my prideful heart. If you have allowed the Lord to help you be victorious over this sin, or are still struggling with the concept, please write to us or join the conversation below.