On Tuesday, I wrote that we live in a theocracy. Yesterday, I followed it up with the parable of the wicked tenants saying that in this Jesus was describing the entire world. Therefore, those who are born again find themselves in a very peculiar situation. We realize that we, like Jesus, are not of this world.
What I see happening in the world makes me sick. Certainly, I’m not perfect, but I’m also not the man I once was. Indeed, I am a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). I still struggle with sin, but, clearly, these struggles are much different now. No longer do I enjoy sin. In fact, the more I understand it, the more I understand its magnitude. It really has no bottom.
The rest of the world doesn’t see things this way. Oh, sure, they may hate particular sin if it causes them immediate, identifiable, and intense pain, like when someone takes away our perceived rights. However, we relish in the sin we enjoy and can’t imagine why anyone would try to make us stop. We may agree that some sin is bad, but, certainly, we don’t think ALL sin is bad. Let’s face the facts, we think most sin is indeed good.
Not so with the born again. That’s why we look forward to Jesus’ return. We trust him when he says that he is building a home for us. He is coming back to bring us there. We are not of this world.
In The Meantime.
In the meantime, this world is an awful place and getting worse all the time. Don’t get me wrong, God is present here; and we enjoy his company. Creation is a good thing. Sin is not. If we are not of this world, how are we to live?
Undoubtedly, we are to be distinct from the world. As Peter wrote, “but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.'” (1 Peter 1:15-16)
In what is known as The High Priestly Prayer, Jesus asked the Father to keep us here, and keep us holy.
I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. John 17:15-19
What are we to do? Separate ourselves physically so we don’t have to interact with the world? No, we are to make disciples, so we must go into the world.
Interestingly, we are supposed to separate ourselves from believers who will not repent of grievous sin (1 Corinthians 5:9-13). As Paul quoted the Lord, “Purge the evil person from among you.” (v.13). We are to confront the sinning believer, but we are also clearly warned. “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1)
At the end of the day, we are to proclaim the gospel, both to unbelievers as well as believers, and to be distinct from the world. “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11) Let’s not kid ourselves, either. If we do as Jesus commands us, we will not be welcomed. The world will hate us. He told us so. In fact, our obedience will even divide households (Matthew 10:34-39) See John 15:18-27 for encouragement on this.
Parting Instruction For Those Not Of This World.
Let’s close today with instruction from Paul.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ. Ephesians 5:15-21
Do that, and you will do well. For more on this, check out this article by Got Questions?.
Father, clearly, we are not of this world. We thank you for that! Apart from your mercy, we are all dead in our sin. What can we say other than give you thanks and praise! Guide us. Encourage us. Strengthen us. Amen!
Copyright © 2021 Scott Powers