Christians would tell me, “Don’t go in that store, it’s evil!” like any evil of the place would jump out and grab me or something. Admittedly, the store in question was making good money promoting witchcraft and druidism and other things that are completely contrary to the gospel. But their wide-eyed “Don’t go in there!” unsettled me. I’ve been trying to understand.
First, I needed to come to grips with a truth that I have sometimes overlooked: sinners sin. The proprietor of the shop (I’ll call him
There is room for the question, “What is the appropriate response of Christians toward sinners?” but I digress. I want to examine the concept of whether the “evil” of
The Old Testament teaches me that there are a bunch of ways to become unclean, and one of them is to touch anything or anyone that is unclean. For example, did you know that being dead makes you unclean, and anybody that has to touch your dead body will be unclean for a week. Leprosy is another example: You catch this, and you’re unclean for life. (Unless you get healed, but of course, nobody hardly ever got healed of leprosy.)
Worse, if you’re unclean, you can’t minister before God. If you ever do, you “shall be cut off from my presence” declares the Lord. Uncleanness is a big deal: God is holy, so we need to be holy if we want to hang around Him. It’s not like we’re going to make him unholy (ha!), but more that we’d get blown up if we showed up in His presence when we’re unclean. It’s a big deal, and the command is not just for our good, it’s for our survival!
So my Christian friends were trying to protect me when they warned me not to visit
So what did
So there is a huge difference between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant, and the New is better. In the Old, when a godly person touched an unclean thing, the unclean trumped the godliness and godliness did not overcome evil. But in the New Covenant, the presence of God in me trumps evil.
So what does that mean for my life?
First, it means that I don’t need to be afraid to visit
More, I see this as a New Testament extension of an Old Testament (or Old Covenant) promise: “Every place on which the sole of your foot treads shall be yours.” So now, I carry the presence of God with me, and everyplace I go, godliness trumps darkness, light shines in darkness and necessarily overpowers it. When I visit
Now for the sake of clarification, this does not mean that I should be spending my time hanging out at porn shops and liquor stores and dens of iniquity. Specifically, if I have had trouble with porn, I’m not going to be submitting myself to the strongholds there; if I’m a recovering alcoholic, I’ll avoid the bars, not because I’m afraid of being touched by the uncleanness there (though the uncleanliness of their kitchen may be an issue), but because I’m not going to submit myself to temptation.
So no, don’t go looking for sin, don’t get cocky about darkness. But neither be afraid of darkness; someone else’s sin is not going to be a danger to me unless I’m not walking in the Presence of God. Let’s live holy and invade the darkness! How in Heaven’s name will they learn about the light if we don’t bring it to them?
That's great McPilgrim :)
I have struggled with the same things, but never put enough thought into it to realize why I felt it was ok. Your words clarified my feelings, I love it when people do that!
I am so glad to be living under the new covenant...how are you supposed to live in peace and joy under the old?? Gosh! I'm going to cozy up even more under the NT "laws" and ENJOY MY LIFE!
I too have struggled with the same things, but some time ago I came to the conclusion that you did and I no longer fear walking into the darkness and claiming it for the light. Thanks for articulating this!
I agree you can go make fellowship with anyone you wish, the personal contact will draw looks and murmuring from fellow Christians but not Jesus.
I how ever do hold that even the appearance of sin is a factor in our witness to others. I always try to remember, don't do stuff that makes our brothers stumble, but as far as dirty? Not a chance once, we are fully covered in His Blood done deal.
I believe if we are going to influence the lost we must some how make and have contact into their personal lives. Without relationship how are we going to reach anyone with our accountability? There are enough poor witness Christian judgments out there to create a barrier so high no lost soul can look over it to see what is good.
Christ did however say if we exalt our Jesus, the Holy Spirit would draw all men to Him. So maybe we don't need as much contact with the lost as we do with Him.
Good study I like the results.
Hey there, McPilgrim, good post.
I've been teaching Sunday School on engaging culture and your ideas on that front are a spot on. Well done.
I'm also quite interested in the discussion about the comparison 'twixt Old and New Covenants - especially with reference to the carry-through of the Law and the New Cov't understanding of that Law. Anyway, that's a discussion for another time.
Post a Comment