When the disciples saw a man casting out demons who was not following with Jesus they told him not to continue doing it. But Jesus said to them not to forbid him because he who is not with you is against you.
What do you think about this? How would you have handled the situation? These are good questions for a number of reasons.
Black and White
In many things Jesus shows that there are no shades of grey. Sometimes things are black and white, and in particular where you or I stand with God is one of those things.
As far as any person’s position with God is concerned, the saying that “He who is not with you is against you” is spot on. In Christ you are either with or against him. There is no black and white in the matter.
It’s like many other things in the world. You can’t be half dead. You can’t be half pregnant. And there is no such thing as a half truth. Anything that is not the truth is a lie. These things are all black and white, and the way the disciples saw this man casting out demons it was black and white. He did not follow with them and so they forbade him
A Different Perspective
But Jesus saw this differently. He would certainly have been aware that this man was not following with them, but he did not forbid the man from doing this work. Instead he told the disciples not to forbid the man or anyone else doing this type of work or any work in the name of the Lord.
In another version of this event Jesus said, “But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is for us.” (Mark 9:39-40)
Any person doing a work in the name of God and who sees the power of God at work will not be against God. They will very quickly recognise and acknowledge the power and majesty of God and give him the glory that is due. Consider for yourself. If you saw a miracle happen, would you not be amazed and give glory to the source of the miracle? I know I would.
What We Can Learn
In this teaching we can see that there is a line that divides between those of God and those who are not. That line is faith. At the point a person begins to believe in the Lord Jesus they are no longer against God but for him.
The transition point between the two is instantaneous and there is no middle ground. When you believe, you believe. But if you have doubts in your life, you no longer believe. Black and white. And any person doing a work in the name of God will soon believe if they do not already for God will be revealed in the work they do.