Influenced by the Culture – Part 2
“What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?” (2 Corinthians 6:16 NIV)
Throughout the Scriptures, we see the danger of God’s people being influenced by the ills of the society around them. In the Old Testament, the Israelites copied the detestable practices of the Canaanites by bowing down to images of their false gods, and they got caught up with the immorality associated with these false religions. In the New Testament, we see it as well, and we are not exempt from this threat against God’s people even today. Sadly, when negative cultural influences invade the church, we have this strange conundrum: instead of the church evangelizing the world, as the Lord commissioned it to do, the world evangelizes the church. The result is that the people in the church can end up acting more like the world than they act like Jesus Christ.
The apostle Paul appealed to the believers in Corinth, quoting from the Old Testament prophets when he said, “‘Come out from among them and be separate,’ says the Lord” (2 Corinthians 6:17). The truth is that copying the world can leave us weakened in our faith, living defeated and unfulfilled as Christians. We easily fall for the lies of the enemy who would try to convince us that the Lord is withholding from us the good things this world has to offer. It’s the same seed of doubt he planted in the mind of Eve in the Garden of Eden when he asked her, “Did God say you cannot eat from any of the trees in the Garden?” The truth is that the bait had a hook attached to it, and so it is with the temptation to sinful practices in our day and age.
Thankfully, unlike the people of Israel who had to rely on the blood of bulls and goats to atone regularly for their sin, we have a Savior who shed his blood for us once and for all time. To all who receive him, who believe in his name and accept his atonement for their sin, he has given the right to be called the children of God. Moreover, Christ comes to dwell in the heart of the believer through the Holy Spirit, and it is he who helps us to not only live by the Spirit, but also walk by the Spirit in our day to day living. This happens as we spend time in the presence of the Lord and in his Word, so that what we “see” with the eyes of our heart becomes more real and appealing than what we see with our natural eyes.
Let’s ask him to help us live for him today.
Read 2 Corinthians 6:14—7:1.