Paul wrote, “What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we [plural] are the temple [singular] of the living God. As God has said, ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God and they shall be My people.’ Therefore ‘Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.’”
When one believes that an idol can only be a piece of wood or stone carved into the likeness of some mythological, religious persona, it is easy to believe that one’s life is free from idolatry. But when one realizes that an idol is simply anything that we give more importance to than we give to God, it is easy to see that there are a whole lot of idols before which a whole lot of people (many of whom claim to be followers of Christ) routinely bow down.
This command to separate oneself from all idolaters comes in Paul’s second (preserved) letter to the Corinthian believers. In his first (preserved) letter he had given a similar command and said that he had not meant for them to stay away from unbelievers or pagans who practiced idolatry for, if he had meant that, the Corinthians would have to find a way off the planet. No, these commands tells us to step away from those who claim to be believers and followers of Christ but who still practice idolatry.
The man who claims to be a believer but who voluntarily sits down in front of his television for hours most nights is an idolater – especially if all he watches is the so-called “Christian” stations. The man who sits under the tutelage of a “pastor” or “apostle” and does little or nothing to attend to the needs and hurts of orphans, widows and the least of Christ’s brothers is an idolater. The man (or woman) who places his family or career before his obedience to God is an idolater. The man who does what is right in his own yes and neglects to do what is right in God’s eyes is an idolater because he himself is his own “God.”
From such people we are commanded to separate away from so that God can be our God and we can be His people. So long as we are touching what is unclean – blindly receiving self-proclaimed “brothers” and “sisters” steeped in idolatry – God cannot and will not be our God and we cannot (because we will not) be His people.
The failure to understand these commands to separate from all “Christian” idolaters is a major source of the “church’s” ability to draw astray its quiet, passive crowds. So long as one sits down before the “pastor”/idol and listens at least somewhat attentively to his words, one has done one’s duty to God – or so the “church” (either overtly or subliminally) teaches. But when one understands that the people around him are in reality “Christian” idolaters, he must obey the command to separate himself from them – or else he becomes a “Christian” idolater himself.
This is the beginning of one’s spiritual journey to find the real people of Christ and God and to become truly spiritually mature. And it begins by stepping away from those who claim to belong to Christ but in reality do not. This is an early step in one’s life of becoming a true son of God. It will most likely start a journey into some kind of “wilderness” of hardship and loneliness but it will (if one remains faithful and obedient to God) lead to a deeper dependence and reliance upon God alone. And there will always be one or two others somewhere around who are experiencing the same thing in their walk with God. This is His way – blessed are those who walk therein.
Let he who has ears hear.
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