What means this command: ” Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,” (2 Corinthians 6:17)?
Before we begin, understand that I am chief among sinners. Were it not for the grace of God my sins would surpass that of most every man alive. I love people, but I hate with all my heart the evil that creeps into the lives of men, women, and children for it consumes vitality, sucks up joy, butchers innocents, and causes mankind to defy holiness.
Christian interpretation of the preceding scripture seems somewhat confused. Now we walk not by the law of the flesh, but rather by the law of liberty. When reading this, remember that Satan is the author of confusion. Take care of what your head rejects, and think rather with the heart of the Spirit.
An Open Response to Personal Responsibility
I write this article in open response to a private comment from a Christian friend. At first impulse, I had thought also to answer in private. But this issue of “coming out from among them” is a major problem in America today. So, with respect to withholding names and identifying traits, I answer in public to the following charge:
Controlling what we watch in relation to secular TV is to remove ourselves totally from the world, thus limiting or ending our influence as Christians with a loving and understanding heart.
[First, if I have not fully understood the comments and meaning of my Christian friend, I apologize for misrepresenting the statement as it came to me. However, as to the content of this article in relation to the charge as I have stated it, I do not apologize for rightly applying scripture.]
Christians must always walk in love: This is the first and last commandment. We must walk in a love that is first for God, and that is followed and merged with a love that encompasses all other human beings.
But, in what measure does love demand that we accept error against the holiness of God?
I spoke not of personal wrongs that may be committed against us by the world. That is a different point of mercy, love, and forgiveness. It is not the overriding point of this discussion. So lay aside thoughts of Christian response to personal grievances. Think instead upon personal sanctification and God’s holiness.
There is a difference between being in the world and being of the world? By this I mean that to be in the world is perhaps to go to the alleys were drugs are sold, and into the streets near the bars, and to the doors of the brothels; but it is not to participate in the drugs, or the drinks, or the activities of the brothels. Neither is it to be negatively influenced by those who do partake of these activities.
Jesus prayed in this manner: “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world,” (John 17:14-16).
If you can imagine Jesus attending a Roman gladiator event, sitting still in the bleachers and watching as men are forced to slay one another for the pleasure of yet others, and taking joy himself from the event then you will not understand the meaning of this scripture. Indeed, you will reject this scripture as not at all fitting to the implication of this paragraph.
The other day, we rented a PG-13 movie. It began early on with the use of what many would term “weak” foul language. We wanted to watch the movie; we had rented it for that purpose. But the foul language continued. We shut it off, took it out of our DVD player, and returned to the store unviewed. We did not condemn the storeowners. We did not create an issue. In fact, we made no comments at all. If, however, had someone asked what we thought of the movie we would have answered truthfully.
Is there some reason that we should have watched that entire movie in spite of the knowledge that such language and disrespect for others undermines the purpose and holiness of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit? Is it possible that watching that movie would make us a better witness to a loss and dying world? Does the world, aside from those who read this article, even know that we choose to separate ourselves from words that should not be permitted into a Christian mind?
Jesus continued his prayer in this manner: ” Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth,” (John 17:17-19).
Now what means this call to sanctification? What means sanctification? Jesus took meals with the publicans. Yea he visited and witnesses to the harlots. But think not that he sat beneath their influence. Nay, rather it was they that sat beneath his teachings. Though be brought not bold accusations against the woman at the well of Jacob, remember that he did confront her errors: her errors in worship and her errors in life.
Not To Argue, But To Live By Known Truths
I do not bring this message as a point of argument, nor as a matter of condemnation. Each Christian must work out their own salvation. But remember that this personal examination and adjustment is done with fear and trembling. Let us not risk offending the Almighty God of Creation.
We eat at the same restaurants, as do most other people. We visit the same malls. We shop at the same grocery stores. We play sports, and we watch movies, and we enter into the same schools. But if, during the course of a ball game, we stand and laugh at foul jokes so that we may be counted a part of those players, think not that this strengthens our witness for Christ. Nay, but the contrary is in effect. Our witness for Christ is destroyed.
Concerning secular TV, each Christian must come to spiritual answers. Try for but one month to refuse to watch any movie that even once takes the name of our Lord God in vain, whether as against the Son or against the Father, or against the Spirit. Refuse also to watch those movies that promote promiscuity, fortification, sorcery, or other forms of lewdness. Your viewing pleasure will be reduced to near nothing from the secular world.
Now as human beings, we are sometimes weak. We do view and we do participate in those matters that are not meat to a mature Christian. Know that there is a difference between weakness and lifestyle, falling and habit, sin and wickedness. Set for yourself a high standard, least through slips and falls you end up with no standard.
Perhaps you say I am setting too ridged a yardstick, to legalistic a viewpoint. What then is your limit? If we declare that love demands us to permit rampant homosexuality to enter into our mind, does it not also demand that we must receive gossip, murder, rape, revenge, hate, bigotry, and child molestation as equally acceptable behavior? What we put into our mind will determine who we are and how we behave. At what line will we choose to confront evil?
Stay in the world. Work with the loss and undone. Forgive. Be kind. Think not more highly of yourself than what is so before God, but also know who you are before God. Acknowledge sin as sin, whether it is in the live of another or in your own life. Deal with it appropriately. And be not ashamed to reject that which destroys the souls of mankind.
Fifty years ago, men of themselves even without Hollywood’s fear of censorship would have refused to participate in certain onscreen activities and behaviors. But evil is not a cautious thing. The more it is ignored, the greater will grown its worldwide influence.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God,” (Romans 12:1-2).