In the world but not of the world
Christ’s high priestly prayed for us was “not to take us out of the world, but to protect us
from the evil one” while we live sanctified lives before the eyes of the world in unity for God’s glory to be revealed through us. If you are not careful, you can become like those who you hang around with, and we think nothing of how it will affect our testimony. Being unequally yoked is illustrated as in dating partnerships and marriage, business partnerships, affiliations and clubs, i.e. anywhere your testimony will be tarnished or compromised by a binding association. We are meant to be the salt and light to the earth as believers but if we are not perfecting holiness as per 7:1 below, these relationships can damage our testimony to where our saltiness is lost and our testimony is worthless. We are to be a vital part of the community – yes, but don’t let the trend of the community squelch your witness. Don’t let your purity be maligned by compromising situations which the world will entice you with. Also don’t be surprised by the negative reaction from the crowds, networking media, and possibly legal ramifications when you speak out. Paul told Timothy, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted…” and Jesus said, “If they hate you, remember they hated me first.”
Do Not Be Yoked With Unbelievers
2 Cor 6:14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 17 “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”18 “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
7 1Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
As we ponder God’s character from the above passage, I wonder if God would answer our signature question below in the following way…
Who are you Lord?
I AM the Holy God and I expect holiness from my people. I AM the God who chose, called and sanctified Israel to be my special people. As they rejected me, they compromised their lifestyle with that of the world and made me a laughing stock among the nations. Consequently I rejected them and then created my church to reveal my glory to the people around the globe of this current age. Where ever you are around on the planet, know that I have chosen you to be my witnesses by your lifestyle and words, to show people what I am like. As people see you, they see me at work in their lives and hear my message. Do they see a good thing, or just more hypocrisy? Are you a good witness or bad? Be a light to the people who surround you.
“Separation of church and state”
Statements like this go both ways. Its original intention was to keep the state from controlling the church. Not only do they use it to keep the influence of the church out of government. In this age the government and the courts sanction the bending of lines of morality, and prohibit the church’s moral conscience from interfering. To the contrary, the Government is not just sanctioning the practice of immorality; they protect the rights of those who practice, and are also forcing the acceptance of these people who practice them into the very religious institutions who oppose them. (Rom 1:32 comes to mind in the process.) Granted we have a secular government who doesn’t care about the morality of its people, but they go too far with their powers. Today’s scripture warns against the blending of worldviews and lifestyles into a perverted syncretism in the church which can only serve to destroy the Gospel further by destroying the testimony of those who uphold it. It will come to the point where the church looses their legal rights and will need to go underground, and Christian witnessing will be done at the peril of lawsuit. Paul says that the Gospel is offensive because it is a message which points out that humans are wrong in their estimation of themselves.
What is the Gospel?
In today’s world where everyone thinks that they are fine the way they are and that God would never send them to hell. Just as in the days of Noah, they did not give a care of Noah’s message until it was too late. God judges sin. Thus it is important to reiterate what God’s Word says and which is our only authority in this matter. The Gospel is the good news that demands that all men acknowledge and admit 3 things:
- That you are a sinner, and thus you along with everyone else have many differing practices in society of expressing that sin nature. We each have a “Pet sin” or weakness so to speak, because I was made that way does not excuse our actions. You must admit that you are a sinner just the way you are. As Adam is your ancestor thousands of years ago, and a sinner, and you were born outside of the garden of Eden as part of his family, thus you were born a sinner, and consequently, you sin. Without such admission there is no forgiveness or salvation. Jesus’ death has no benefit to you whatsoever if you do not realize and accept the fact that you are not as holy as God. Take it by faith. The entire Old Testament including the Levitical Law’s of Moses was written to show you two things. That God is holy, above reproach and just in his judgments on the sins of humanity. And that all mankind is sinful beyond comprehension and always trying to manipulate life to his advantage. But there is nothing that he can do to make God accept him. Proverbially speaking, God keeps giving man more and more rope to hang himself with. But he does so with the intent to show man how much he needs God’s mercy so that he would come to Him by faith for forgiveness.
- That God came to earth as a man 2000 years ago, before you were in existence. As God, he took on human form to live his life to fulfill the righteous requirements of the entire Law of Moses on our behalf. Then he became our sacrificial substitution to pay for our sinfulness on the cross and went to hell for us. When Christ was crucified, he placed all our sins as well as our Adamic sin nature on him. We were with him in essence on the cross so that we are with him in his resurrection. The authority of the Adamic nature in us was rendered powerless.
- That we take him by faith at his word, that he did this for us, and rely on him for our righteousness, we are given his forgiveness, salvation, and righteousness just as he took on himself our sinfulness. God now looks on us as righteous in his sight and we are accepted in the Son into his family. God the Father judicially separated our sin from us and gave us his holiness. He placed his Holy Spirit in us guaranteeing our inheritance to be redeemed when he comes back for us. Only as true believers, as we allow the Spirit to control us, we no longer must serve the sin nature. We can have victory over any of our “Pet sins” as we allow him full control. This is not to say that we can have sinless perfection in this life, but that we are still forgiven when we do allow our old man to control us (we won’t lose our salvation). It is said that Christians can still sin, but they cannot live with themselves when they do, thus we need to restore fellowship with God by daily confession and it is necessary for continual communion with Christ for victory.
More to come,