Monday, 12 August 2019

Jesus Christ defeats Moral Filth

As I sit here and I write this, I wonder at the response I will get for what I believe God has taught me this week. It's not popular thought by any means around here, yet He has written it on my heart, so to speak, when He cut away the flesh that was there as He promised to do in:

Jeremiah 31:33 “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts.”

It all started when I decided to read through the book of 2 Corinthians this week, as my regular bible study group is on a break for school holidays. All was going fairly normal till I reached the end of Chapter 6 and the beginning of Chapter 7. It was there that I felt God floored me. I don't think I'd ever read verse 1 before as it seemed so new to me, yet I must have, for I know for a fact that I have read this book before. I guess that's the way God works. All of a sudden, you see something you have never seen before and then afterwards, you wonder why your whole life you'd missed it.

This is what I read.

 2 Corinthians 6: 16- 7:1 “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'. 'Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.' 'I will be a Father to you and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.' Since we have these great promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God”. 

The word contaminates here in the Greek means moral defilement or to befoul with moral filth. The word unclean here in the Hebrew refers to a state of being impure, where it is possible for the uncleanliness to be transferred from one person to another by contact, that is, our modern understanding of something being contagious.

So I started asking questions.

Why does Paul tell us to touch no unclean thing by quoting from Isaiah 52? 
Isn't that an Old Testament concept that is not relevant for us? 
Can uncleanliness still be transferred from one person to another? 
Wasn't this all dealt with way back in Acts when Peter had the vision of the unclean and the clean foods? (Acts 10:9-23) 
How does this apply to my life today in our current world? 
Aren't we free of these Old Testament ceremonial laws? 
Let's just say I had a LOT of questions! 

Then He led me to Acts 10:15 “Do not call anything impure which God has made clean” and the penny dropped. God, the author of all creation, gets to decide what is clean and unclean, not me. If He's declared something clean then it is clean. If He's said it's not, then I'm to shun it like two magnets repelling each other, as it can be transferred to me and contaminate me – me who is called to remain pure.

So I started asking God to show me what contaminates the body and spirit with moral filth and makes me unclean. In 2 Corinthians 6:16 Paul links the uncleanliness to idolatry and this is extrapolated on in Ephesians 5: 1-21. However here the idolatry is not confined to stone images as we typically think of idolatry but is redefined to include a whole lot of things that I never really thought of as idolatry.

Paul is pretty hard core in what He says is God's standard:

not a hint of any kind of impurity, 
not a hint of greed, 
not a hint of obscenity,
 not a hint of foolish talk and 
not a hint of coarse joking. 

Wow! That wipes out most TV shows, movies and an awful lot of books.

Is He really saying that when I don't shun these things, this moral filth, this moral vomit, this product of demonic darkness (v11) and in turn welcome them in my own life by saying

 “they don't influence me”,
 “it's okay”, 
“it can't be THAT bad”,

 I'm lying to myself and in direct opposition to His word? 

Verse 5 says
  “For of this you can be sure: no immoral, impure or greedy person – for such a person is an idolater – has any inheritance in the kingdom of God”. 

Paul is talking to the Christian church here! God is calling us to a different way, an opposite way to our every inclination. I am to be an “imitator of God” (v1), I am to “find out what pleases the Lord” (v10) and to “have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness but rather expose them” (v11).

Expose them?! 

What do you mean by expose them I asked? 

Are we talking picket lines here?

My Interlinear bible translates the word expose as reprove. This Greek word means to “convict, convince, tell a fault, rebuke, reprove, to put to shame”. Sigh! At least there doesn't appear to be any picket lines here required... I think. But my Vine's goes onto say that both word and action are spoken of in scripture in regard to conviction of sin. I should have known. It's always word and deed. Never just word. John the Baptist used both and it got him beheaded. But He obeyed God. I don't really like that example. It makes me uncomfortable. Christianity is supposed to be comfortable isn't it? God uses both too, word and deed, to convict of sin. I know that to be true in my own life.

John 3:20 says “Everyone who does evil hates the light and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed”. 

Light exposes, convicts. Truth is light in John 3:21. Paul goes onto say in Ephesians 5:13 that once the light has revealed the sin, has shown it the truth, it then is light. A transformation occurs. Healing takes place. The unclean is cleansed and I no longer want to embrace the unclean. It is my brokenness that wants me to embrace uncleanliness. Parts of me don't want to be cleaned and it all comes back to fear. God in turn, removes fear and cleanses.

Is it possible that when we embrace God's light and reject moral filth that we actually bring God's light to this world? 
That our lives bring God's Kingdom to this broken state? 
That people seeing our light are attracted to it like a moth to a flame? 
That a positive form of contagiousness occurs rather than the negative one I spoke of earlier?

In Isaiah 52:11, the original verse that Paul quotes from in 2 Corinthians 6:17, we are told to depart from Babylon (to be in the world but not of the world), to remain pure as we carry the vessels of the Lord. We are the vessels of the Living God! Rev 18:4 says we are not to share in Babylon's sins because to do so will result in us being included in her plagues, leaving only death and mourning. Here in this passage God's people are accused of being adulterous, of having other lovers other than God or to repeat as Paul put it, idols.

Paul goes on in Ephesians and lists

drunkenness as moral filth, 
along with wives rebelling against husbands, 
children disobeying parents and 
husbands not loving their wives. 

He finally links all this in Ephesians chapter 6 to our ability to overcome evil and stand on the word of God, through the power of the Holy Spirit.

How can I expect to defeat Satan when I don't want to cling to the same Word that blatantly declares as sin what our world preaches is not sin? 

How can I expect to win my spiritual battles if I refuse to address what God says needs addressing and justify it as “just a little thing”? 

Am I really wanting to find out what please God (5:10) in every aspect of my life? 

Do I want to know what He thinks? 

Do I delight in the truth here or do I really not want to ask because I might not like what I hear? 
These are the questions I asked myself. 

God help us to be a people who delight in finding out what please the Lord, who refuse to contaminate the body and spirit with moral filth, as you define it. Thank you for saving us. Thank you for the gift of you Holy Spirit, who changes us into new creations, through the washing of the word. Thank you that you sanctify us. Thank you that you cleanse us from all sin and declare us perfect in your sight.


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