First, an addendum to Thursday’s 9 January blog. I should have added the following to “Go to Hell.” “That isn’t a profanity, but a punishment. Hell is a place, not an oath. No one wants to be sent there. Anyone going there will have but one regret: but it will be savage and eternal.”
Now for today’s blog.
Many Christians instinctively fear the loss of faith by associating with the unsaved. That naturally keeps them in the company of the saved, their comfort zone. But it reflects an Old Testament perspective, not a New Testament reality.
God ordered the extermination of Canaan’s seven nations when Joshua led the invasion. That protected an incipient nation-in-the-making from the depravity the seven regularly practiced as essential to their religion, resulting in ever worse public behavior.
It also recognized the inability of Israel’s Law-based religion to resist and eventually convert heathen. Indeed, brilliantly-gifted ancient Israel never approached basic success in mastering the science of obedience into an art. They never ceased being attracted to the gods and goddesses of satanic religions. Throughout their history, a bare minimum of kings, covering a bare minimum of years, conscientiously sought God’s will.
Jesus himself dramatized and inspired in his believers an entirely new concept. He actively associated with, and as willingly ate with, those even Judaism proscribed: tax collectors, demon-possessed, lepers, women of various groups, Gentile officials, etc.
He always concentrated on what those people, and even the upper-classes would have, gained, had they not been so religiously arrogant. He knew how they would profit by his being with them, not what it cost him to get involved. He never feared personal contamination because... while he identified with sinners, he mentally, morally and spiritually divorced himself from their practices and perversions.
Therefore, heirs of an all-conquering faith established by the all-overcoming Christ, Christians should cultivate relationships with non-believers. Our very willingness to do so will develop opportunities to bear witness to and evangelize the unforgiven.
We need be aware only of this caveat. If the association increases faith in the unchurched, continue it. If it weakens ours, discontinue it. It is of no value to lose our soul while trying to save another person’s.