Monday, January 21, 2013

Purification from Contamination

I've been reading in 2 Corinthians. Sometimes when I read the Bible I feel like it's in a different language. I read it and then find I need to reread what I just read... and then reread it again because nothing seems to be affecting me, making sense, clicking. Nothing.

But sometimes something will catch my attention and the wheels start spinning.

Yesterday I read the bit about not being unequally yoked. WAIT! Don't roll your eyes and click out yet! I promise that I have something new to say about this unequally yoked business. First... let's read the verses that talk of that and the ones that follow...

Actually let me start with a photo of what it looks like to be "yoked" with someone/thing.

 yoked cows

2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 NIV
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 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."


"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."

Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. 

It was that THEREFORE that caught my attention. "Therefore, since we have these promises, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit."

When there is a therefore you have to read what is before it and that whole thought process begins with being unequally yoked with unbelievers. Stay with me here! It's not JUST about unbelievers is it?

It's about
righteousness and wickedness
light and darkness
Christ and Satan.

We are asked the question, "What agreement is there between the temple of God and IDOLS?"

Idol: Any thing on which we set our affections; that to which we indulge an excessive and sinful attachment.

Why are we to purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit? Out of reverence for God.

Reverence: fear mingled with respect and esteem; veneration

Veneration: The highest degree of respect and reverence; respect mingled with some degree of awe; a feeling or sentiment excited by the dignity and superiority of a person, or by the sacredness of his character, and with regard to place, by its consecration to sacred services.

We purify ourselves of all contamination because we respect God, because we love him.

So it's not just about being unequally yoked to unbelievers in the relationship sense. There is more... light and darkness, righteousness and wickedness... and when I think this through I find myself back at the thought of...

What do the books I read, movies I watch, places I go, music I listen to, language I use, etc, say about who I am... and ultimately who I serve?

There is no agreement between God and idols. There is nothing in common between light and darkness.

I really like the same verses in The Message...

Don’t become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That’s not partnership; that’s war. Is light best friends with dark? Does Christ go strolling with the Devil? Do trust and mistrust hold hands? Who would think of setting up pagan idols in God’s holy Temple? But that is exactly what we are, each of us a temple in whom God lives. God himself put it this way:
“I’ll live in them, move into them;
    I’ll be their God and they’ll be my people.
So leave the corruption and compromise;
    leave it for good,” says God.
“Don’t link up with those who will pollute you.
    I want you all for myself.
I’ll be a Father to you;
    you’ll be sons and daughters to me.”
The Word of the Master, God.

With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let’s make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let’s make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God.

 It's time to let these verses be about more than dating relationships and marriage. "Let's make a clean break with EVERYTHING that defiles or distracts."

We are the temple of God himself... it's time to get the idols out of his temples.

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