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Bible verses about Mingling with the World
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Genesis 14:12  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

Step by step, Abram lived a godly life, and God chose him. Abram separated himself from the people of the land. But by chapter 14, we find Lot living in the city. Lot also lived his life by faith, but even though he was converted and knew the work of God, he chose to mix with the people of the land, being sucked right into their midst. When he decided to move, Lot may have not intended to be in the city, but on its outskirts. Nevertheless, he eventually ended up in the city.

It is not known why he moved. Perhaps Lot's wife was the cause, or possible his daughters, interested in marrying. Maybe it was Lot's idea, thinking business would be better in the city.

Lot's actions are in contrast to Moses'. Moses deliberately chose to turn his back on the world, while Lot deliberately chose to go toward the world. Consequently, Lot's association with the world wore down his spirituality and resistance, until his spiritual discernment was so weak that he did not really know the difference between right and wrong. He did not know what he wanted and lingered in the city just before it was to be destroyed. There is no surer way to go backward in one's spirituality, to blunt one's feelings and knowledge of sin, to dull spiritual discernment, than by mingling with the world.

David boasted in prosperity in Psalm 30:6-7, writing, "I shall never be moved." Lot's actions say the same, "It will not hurt for me to go down there. I shall never be moved." But Paul said, "Let those who think they stand take heed less they fall" (I Corinthians 10:12). Lot crashed. In his lack of faith and spiritual pride, he felt he could stand strong against the spiritual onslaught of the world. Lot became hesitating and undecided, a procrastinating man in the day of his trial because of the slow deterioration of his spiritual frame.

It could be reasoned that Lot did make it into the Kingdom of God. God does, after this, call him righteous. But God wants us to understand that, though we may forsake Him, and though He is magnanimous, merciful, forgiving, and full of grace, life could have been so much better.

It could have been so much better for Lot and his family. The Bible shows, especially in Genesis 19, that his voice carried no weight at all in the city of Sodom. No one listened to him. Not even his family listened to him. His family showed him little or no respect, even mocking him and showing contempt.

Why? This happens to anyone like Lot. They are eventually despised because their friends and relatives cannot deal with their insincerity. They would say, "Surely if he believed what he professes to believe, he would not do as he does."

Furthermore, there is a significant, meaningful omission in the Old Testament. The Old Testament writers have a pattern of telling what happened to a person at his death, but it says absolutely nothing about Lot. He just disappears from the scene, in a painful silence. This omission is the Bible's admission that this godly, righteous man had no impact.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Faith (Part 3)


 

2 Corinthians 6:14-17  (Go to this verse :: Verse pop-up)

This series of verses in II Corinthians 6 is not an appeal for us to break all of our worldly associations. Recall that Paul urges the Christian partner in a divided marriage to strive to maintain the relationship as long as possible. This, instead, is an appeal to avoid too close associations. He says not to go into the world, but come out of it (see Revelation 18:4). We should not deliberately make close associations with the peoples of the world. It is all right to do business with them and to work with them, but avoid becoming harnessed together with them.

That last couple of lines, "I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters," seems to hinge on whether or not we are allowing ourselves to become yoked into these associations. God does not want us in these close associations with the world because it almost inevitably leads to compromise with His standards. It jeopardizes the consistency of the Christian's witness for God because there is a spiritual force in the world that undermines the Christian because the unbeliever does not share the Christian's standards, sympathies, or goals in life.

Is it unfair that God should ask this of us? Remember, He has bought us with a price (I Corinthians 6:20). The price was the life of His Son, which obligates us to a life of purity and holiness. Once we accept that sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin, we belong to Him. He is our Master, and He says, "Come out of the world and be separate." That is a demand that He puts on us.

Does God ever ask us for something that is not for our good? Of course not! And how is this for our good? Because He knows that it is likely that His people, though they have the Spirit of God, will have an extremely difficult time resisting the spiritual force that wants to lead them to compromise on the standards of His Kingdom. He thus obligates us to purity of life, to holiness, to separation from evil. We owe our allegiance to Him alone, and we cannot allow ourselves not to be a fit vessel for Him to live in.

There is no surer way to go backward in our spirituality, to blunt our feelings about sin, to dull our spiritual discernment until we can scarcely tell evil from good, and to dry up the source of our spiritual strength than by needless mingling with the world. We should stress the word "needless" because Paul writes in I Corinthians 5:9-10 that to avoid all contact with the immoral, one would have to go out of the world. There is nothing in the New Testament to indicate separating oneself by moving into a commune of believers or living alone like a hermit.

John W. Ritenbaugh
New Covenant Priesthood (Part 2)


 

 




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