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.