Come Out from Among Them

For the past eight years, I have endeavored to understand the Scriptures theologically. In what order did things happen at salvation? Could salvation be lost? What was Jesus’ nature? What is mine? Who were the sons of God mentioned in the Old Testament? How did demons possess people?

No doubt there is much theology in the Scriptures, but is it possible I have given too great an emphasis to the Hows and Whys of the Scriptures — the science or knowledge which is woven as a web from Genesis to Revelation — without giving due emphasis to the practical nature of the Scriptures?

I have. And as a result, I have a gross lack of understanding of the political history of Israel, of the prophets’ dealings with the kings, and so on. I couldn’t really tell you much about the Sadducees, but I could argue at length — and convincingly so, I think — about the nature of demons, Satan, the sons of God, and so on.

But what have I gained as a result, other than the answers to esoteric Bible trivia questions?

I have learned what is sin, but do I actively put on Christ? I strive to avoid lies, backbiting, adultery by lust, murder by hate, and a wide array of other evils.

But is it enough to cast off sin without actively engaging in those things which are good? It’s one thing to obey the “negatives” (the “shalt nots” of Scripture), but it’s another thing entirely to obey the “positives” (the “dos” of Scripture).

As a result, I’m not all that different from the world around me. I’m at home in “geek culture,” in “movie culture,” in “gamer culture.” But how comfortable would I be with unadulterated Kingdom culture?

To believe in Jesus is to obey Jesus, to pray “Your kingdom come” while diligently living according to that Kingdom’s principles always.

I’d like to hear from others who are actively rejecting the baser elements of this world’s empires in order to more fully embrace the Kingdom of God. It is that active resistance to empires that led to the death of so many martyrs, yet so many of us today do not come out from among the culture but instead blend indistinguishably into it. What have you done to live out the Christian’s status as being a peculiar people?

5 thoughts on “Come Out from Among Them”

  1. I knew there was something upon which we could agree. =D

    At issue is the positive — the negative being expounded at length by so many conservatives over the past hundred years. What constitutes the positive?

    I believe wholeheartedly that the positive will not contradict the negative, and so many liberals who have embraced love to such an extent that they ignore sin altogether seem to me mistaken — it contradicts everything we know of the negatives (the “you shall nots”). Jesus didn’t ignore sin, so we cannot either.

    Love and compassion are necessary, but Jesus placed its focus upon the brethren — the world would know us by the love we show to each other. And to become part of the “us,” part of the spiritual family of the Christ, requires repentance from the things of this world.

    For doing that, many people throughout the centuries were seen as traitors to the empires they “came out” from among — not simply ceasing to sin but ceasing to take part in the world’s systems. As I said before, the subject of sin is “easy”; it’s conducting business, economy, politics, and more in a way which reflects not the business, economy, and politics of the world but rather show forth the kingdom of God on Earth.

    And it’s how to do that which is tragically ignored in today’s churches — at least those of which I’m familiar.

    Doing that takes a community. One person in a city cannot do that and expect to survive — the activity of faith is one entirely built on community, of people taking care of others “within the camp.” It’s very social — and dare I say, socialist — while at the same time is an utter rejection of the American dream or other such visions of the world.

  2. Fifty-eight years ago, the denomination of which I’m a member, was started upon this biblical principle of separation.

    It has since, as a whole, declined in many areas. Many of us, however, still hold to it. We are to “touch not the unclean thing.”

    As you say though, this is the negative, and without the positive it’s a pointless endeavour. We must “come out” not merely as a principle, but in order to ‘go in’ to something else. Namely, active living for Jesus Christ, the glory of His name, and extension of His kingdom.

    So, as we abstain from ‘hating’, so in turn we must ‘love.’

    It takes both though. Too many liberals seek to engage in the positive, and despise the negative, while too many conservatives boast in their practice the negative, while ignoring the positive.

  3. we are told none is good but the father. even Yahshua said this, denying his own goodness. I think perhaps Yahshua was good but as a divine role model he had to be humble as is his nature and as we must emulate him, so he couldn’t very well acknowledge his goodness. But as humans we all fall short. Yet I think striving to walk in his way is important or essential. By their fruits we shall know them. What are the fruits? I have been thinking and thought of seven (of course the magic number) of fruits of being christian and they all have a HUGE amoung of backing in the words of Christ in the gospels and in his example, so huge it’s hard to deny or argue against these following. due to space i won’t give the passages that back them up but I’m sure you will all see. Are not the following the ways of the righteous:
    Nonviolence turn other cheeck, resist not evil)
    Renunciation (of money and things of the world)

    If one can manifest these seven to a high degree I think they are very near the kingdom. of course no one is perfect

  4. In Jesus for President, the authors describe turning the other cheek in a way before which I had never heard.

    When a right-handed man punches you in the face, he will be hitting your left cheek. When you turn the other cheek, you turn you head back toward the man, looking him in the eyes — man to man — as if to show forth the image of God in you. From the man’s position, if he were to continue to strike, he would have to backhand your right cheek — an attack which carries with it nothing but shame (think of an abusive husband backhanding his wife, a pimp backhanding a prostitute, and so on).

    Turning the other cheek isn’t simply pacifism, it is condemnation upon the man who would slap in the face of the image of God.

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