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Christian Purity

The purity of the Christian community is vital to its ability to function as a useful component of God’s kingdom. A small number of unregenerate members can retard the development of a disproportionate number of Christian members. A larger number can disrupt the entire community’s ability to function as a culture changing force.

God speaking through the Apostle Paul says:

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:  for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them;  and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing;  and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.  (2 Cor. 6:14-7:1)

This is very plain and unequivocal language. Paul asks: what fellowship, communion, concord, or part do believers and unbelievers have together? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? The distances are too great to be bridged. God knows full well how weak and how susceptible we are to Satan’s ploys. He knows we cannot be exposed to the debilitating presence of unbelief and unbelievers. We must separate ourselves from the evil influences they carry in their hearts and communicate through their words and deeds.

Some would argue speciously that the apostle calls believers out of their pagan communities but does not preclude bringing unbelievers into the Christian communities. How, though, does this differ? Even a small amount of filth can contaminate a great deal of cleanliness. To allow some is to open the gate and allow more; where do we draw the line and say, enough? God answers: the unclean thing must not even be touched.

The need for purity in the community far exceeds any possible loss of opportunity to witness to unbelievers. We are told to be witnesses for God and to speak out against ungodliness wherever it is found (Acts 1:8; Rom. 10: 14-15; Eph. 5:11; 1 Pet. 3:15) but we must not bring it into our communities and rub shoulders with it day after day.

Newcomers are to be welcomed but also examined carefully. They need greater attention, both to facilitate the integration process and to identify and exclude any unregenerate, false brethren that could seriously disrupt the work of the community.