Thursday in the Third Week of Lent

Exodus 34:10-35

In the World, But Not of It

What a wonderful God!  Even after crediting a golden calf for their deliverance from Egypt, even after exchanging the truth of the immortal, invisible God for a lie, worshiping a creature made with hands rather than their Creator and Redeemer, the Lord forgave them and renewed His covenant with them.  Our God delights in forgiving transgression and sin and keeps his steadfast love for thousands.  No doubt, He judges sin; but after judgment comes healing and restoration (34:6-7).  Of course, we know how many times we too have failed the Lord.  Praise Him that through Christ He has covered our sins.

God renewed His promise to drive out the nations before them so that they could conquer the land.  He would go with them.  Then He gave them a very direct order that they later disobeyed, which disobedience proved to be their undoing.  He strictly charged them to make no covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and by no means to allow their sons and daughters to enter into marriages with them.  Why?  Because such alliances would cause them to “whore” after the gods of the peoples and forsake the LORD.  So they were to enter into no agreements with them, but were to remain separate that they might be sure to remain faithful to the Lord in all things.

Now this presents a puzzle for Christians.  We are told that we are to be witnesses to the lost, to be evangelists wherever we are.  We see the early Church doing this (Acts 11:19-21).  Christ himself gave us “The Great Commission” (Matthew 28:18-20).  Yet, we are also told to “be separate from them,” for “what partnership has light with darkness” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).  So how are we to understand this?

I don’t think it is as difficult as some suggest.  It comes with “being in the world but not of it.”  God has called us unto Himself and has separated us from the world.  We are His.  As such, we cannot allow ourselves to enter into agreements or exchanges which we know compromise our faith.  We should also understand that because of our sinful nature, it is often easier for unbelievers to pull us down than for us to pull them up.  Certainly, we should be cordial, friendly, and ready to witness to unbelievers, but our close friends and confidants should be Christians.  We should monitor the friends of our children as well.  And by all means, we should encourage and teach our children that they have no business seeking a marriage with anyone but a godly, Christian man or woman.  They’ll be glad they did.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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