The Road to Apostacy

Robert Wurtz II

“The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 

Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 

Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless.” (2 Peter 3:9–14 NKJV)


Despite the fact that we could be teetering on the brink of the apocalypse, it is difficult to find people who encourage us to live righteous and holy before God according to 2 Peter 3:14. Besides the myriad of temptations and tests that we all face every day, there is a growing chorus of Christians who encourage us to compromise Christian standards or rebel against them all together. I am shocked almost daily by the apostasy of professing Christians who attack other Christians who are trying to maintain some kind of standards. Some go as far as to parrot the same types of statements coming from the secular media. I get the impression that some (in their quest to appear relevant and sophisticated) have pickled their brains in a mixture of CNN, Huffington Post, NPR, Time Magazine and a host of other flagrantly anti-Christian media to the point that that spirit permeates their whole life. They are under the influence of the spirit that drives these outlets. The consequence? Romans 12:1-2 has almost no meaning to them. It is sad to write this, but these people are so under the spirit of Antichrist that they seem to view people who try to maintain a Christian standard as their enemy. Selah.



Others are simply cynical of almost everything Christian. They grew up witnessing sin among Christians without making a distinction between hypocrisy and failure. For example, the hypocrite projects the image that he/she is holy but is insincere or does it from wrong motives (such as the Pharisees). A failed Christian is one who desires to do the right things, but succumbs to temptation and fails (sins). The hypocrite refuses to acknowledge wrong, but the failed Christian repents, acknowledges the sin, gets back up and goes on with God. What happens? The cynic calls the failed Christian a hypocrite and uses their failure as a pretext to compromise and rebel themselves. 


So we have a desperate situation on our hands. We have believers who sincerely desire to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless, and a carnal group who is using every argument they can muster to justify, legitimize and normalize worldly compromise and sin. Moreover, they mock and villainize Christians of the past and present who believe in Christian standards. The carnal group views the saints as the enemy and the saints view the carnal as the enemy. It is beyond the scope of this entry, but this “struggle for the soul of the church” is the direct consequence of a deemphasis of repentance and genuine regeneration. 


What has happened? Sadly, the churches have filled up with carnally-minded people who have no appetite for righteousness and holiness. They may have been raised in a church, but they were never born from above — therefore as Paul tells us, they are still in a carnal mind and at enmity with God (Romans 8:7). How can we tell? They cannot agree with God’s word or Christians who make an attempt to live by its standards. To put it in colloquial English, they are hostile to Christians who try to live right. If you (the reader) can identify with the last three sentences let me say lovingly that you probably need to come before the Lord in sincere repentance. Why? Because you have never been changed so as to agree with God and come into alignment with His precepts on a spiritual level. There is no way forward until that happens. 


Why do these things matter? Because a day of reckoning is coming. True Christians are like a band of Noah’s calling a generation to repent and turn to God before the door to Ark of safety closes and judgment falls on this earth. Moreover, as Christians, we need to do what the writer to the Hebrews tells us and encourage one another daily to live right before God. We shouldn’t be siding with the secular media against Christian standards or linking to liberal newspaper articles on Facebook that are at the same time pro-Muslim and critical of Christians. Really? What kind of sense does that make? I need to ask those who do such things, “Whose team are you on?” Selah.


In this crisis hour, it is far evident that we cannot depend on others to prod us along to live right before God. Notice what Peter says, Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? People who profess Christ and don’t read their Bible regularly are very likely to have no sense of what Peter is saying here. He is asking us, “… since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be?” If we knew that the earth was going to be judged with fire in the next 24 hours do you think that “Christians” would attack others who are at least trying to maintain a standard? I trow not. 


Jesus said that it would be like the days of Noah in the last days. People will have such a “business as usual” attitude that they will have no concept of the fact that their skin is about to be burned off. It was so easy to mock Noah with blue skies overhead. It was easy to chide the man for being intolerant. The event Peter speaks of will overtake people as a thief in the night — just like the flood overtook the world that then was. The scoffers and mockers were carried away before they knew what happened and so shall it be again (Matthew 24:39). Could you imagine being ushered to the throne of God to give an account of your life and God pulls up your FB page only to see how you attacked the concept of holy living when you should have been encouraging fellow believers to do right? What about conversations at church? Not being mean and rude… but encouraging fellow believers along to live righteous and holy. What message are you backing? Where are you saying “amen”? This is the key question. 


Holiness and righteousness are clearly out-of-style these days. I’m reminded of the question Jesus posed when He asked, “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8b  NKJV) With each passing day, this verse comes into focus. As carnality begets more carnality the day may come when professors of Christ will militate against their own history, doctrine, and Christian family. It is already happening in many ways. Yet we are responsible for our own soul. We have to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. As Peter encouraged us, Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless. The operative word here is “diligent.” It’s our responsibility — in the face of total opposition — to be found in peace, without spot and blameless.  

The Placebo Presence of God

Robert Wurtz II

Robert Wurtz II

“And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, Tomorrow is a feast to the LORD.” (Exodus 32:3–5 KJV)

 

No matter how many times I read Exodus 32:3-5 it still hits me with the same repulsion as at first. Indeed, it never loses its ability to profoundly shock me. This is especially true when I recall Paul’s words that these stories were recorded for our learning and instruction. What could we possibly learn from Aaron’s actions? God was manifesting Himself in theophanies that would make the earth tremble and yet the people, under the leadership of Aaron, were about to worship a gold calf as if it were Jehovah! This was a “bait-and-switch” for the ages!  The sad thing is, this basic deception has been the common means of deceiving the people down through the centuries. The enemy is forever trying to counterfeit the manifest presence of God. We must not ignore this fact. We have a responsibility to rightly represent God in the earth and convey correctly what is and what is not of Him. 

 

Can you imagine for a moment how much confusion Aaron caused the Israelites? Seriously, after this debacle, the children of Israel were so utterly confused as to what and who God is that they probably didn’t know their right hand from their left (in spiritual things). Moses can’t even get down the mountain to read off the first two commandments and Aaron and the people have already broken them. What is worse is that the peoples’ minds were being poisoned by  Aaron’s flagrant compromise. This man was supposed to be a leader in Israel and yet he is contributing to the peoples’ ignorance. It was incumbent upon Him to sanctify the Lord in the eyes of the people. That is to say, to demonstrate to them that God is a holy God and is utterly unlike the false gods of the Egyptians, Canaanites, or anyone else. Instead, he mixes Jehovah with the Idolatrous golden calf of Egypt. This was an utter misrepresentation of God. Aaron’s colossal failure and dereliction of duties has proven to be a lesson for the ages. 

 

Aaron turned the people’s minds away from the one true God and fixed it on a man-made idol. It was what the people wanted God to be — not what God is in reality. They wanted to shape God according to their own lusts. Instead of pointing the people to Jehovah, Aaron pointed them to the golden calf of Egypt. He then took the unconscionable step of calling it “A feast to the LORD.” What? The whole experience was false. Aaron had mixed God and the world together so that the people could identify with God and worship him in their own way. They superimposed the golden calf over God Almighty and tried to worship their man-made God as “A feast to the LORD.” However, that’s not how it works. This was madness! The reason why God brought His people out of Egypt in the first place was to teach them about Himself and His ways. They were about to learn a whole new way of worshipping. It would be unlike their experiences in Egypt. Aaron sought to build a bridge between the pagan experiences of the Israelites in Egypt and the One True God of Israel. The results were catastrophic beyond comprehension.

 

A Generation of Aarons

 

There is a generation that is seeking to bridge the pagan experiences of sinners and the worship of Jesus Christ. They are shaping peoples’ concept of God and His presence — not by breaking off the earrings from the peoples’ ears and shaping a golden calf — but by shaping the atmosphere of a meeting with music, decor, and ambiance. When the electricity begins to flow I can almost hear Aaron proclaiming down through the ages… These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” Can you imagine for a moment how much confusion this is causing? The atmosphere that these worship artists has created is no more the presence of God than was that golden calf over 3000 years ago. If the children of Israel were so utterly confused as to what and who God is (that they probably didn’t know their right hand from their left in spiritual things) — how much more confusion are these things causing people in our times? Children, young people, and new converts are being made to believe that these things are the presence of God. I have to ask, was this the presence of God in the Bible? Did these type of things happen in the book of Acts and then get labeled “the presence of God”?


Worshipping With Themselves 

 

Similarly to how the Pharisee “prayed with himself” in Luke 18:11, it is very possible for people to “worship with themselves.” The Greek words “with himself” is pros heauton. This was a soliloquy with his own soul, a complacent recital of his own virtues for his own self-satisfaction, not fellowship with God, though he addresses God. (A.T. Robertson) When the “worship” is all about what we want and according to our tastes, etc., it is as self-centered as this Pharisee’s prayers.  


When a person “worships with himself/herself” it is likewise not fellowship with God — though God is being addressed. One can sing in order to admire the sound of ones’ own voice. This is not worship. One can play an instrument in the name of worship — but truly they are admiring the sound of their instrument. This is why some desire their instrument to be loud. Their admiration is a sort-of “self-worship” — but addressed to God. 


True worship has God alone in view and does not divide the worship with anyone or anything else. Moreover, the children of Israel did not like the God who consumed with fire on the mountain — so they created a God that they could control. They didn’t have to fear or reverence the golden calf. Not so with the God of Israel in Exodus and not so in the book of Acts. We have the fear of God being manifest as well as great movements of Holy Spirit conviction. When God is truly near there will be conviction of sin. God will pull back the cover of our hearts and expose in us the controversies that He has with us. He will show us the error of our ways. So much of the modern-day “presence of God” functions like the compromisers of old who “healed the wound of the people slightly saying ‘peace peace’ when there is no peace.” 

 

It has been said that “Religion is worship in the absence of God.” Sadly, Israel reached the point where God was not present with the people, but they still went on with their worship meetings. What happened? They created a golden calf, a substitute for the presence of God. It was a placebo. It was something to direct the senses to. However, God cannot be made into a golden image or anything else. One might exclaim, “We would never do that!” Really? Not so fast. In modern times a whole generation believes that God is a feeling… a similar feeling that one would get listening to a power ballad at a rock and roll concert.

 

The Holy Spirit is not a feeling. He is a person — the Almighty. God is not tingles, goose bumps, or strange emotional feelings one gets when a beautiful musical arrangement is played. As sad as it is, too often the band starts to play and the music leader (much like Aaron) has knowingly or unknowingly fabricated an imposter. Colored lights begin to flash into the manufactured smoke… the feeling begins to build… and someone proclaims, “Look saints! It’s the glory of God! I feel the presence of God!” Or in the words of Aaron, “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” It didn’t happen overnight. It happened one compromise at a time. One carnal leader influencing another carnal leader until a whole generation has been deceived by these false spiritual experiences. Somewhere along the way, someone knew better — but they did it anyway and defended the practice. Many were on paid staff — receiving a check to deceive people concerning the true presence of God. Whole companies now exist that sell products designed to facilitate the very things that this entry talks about. It has now become big business. What? The presence of God big business?

 

What were the children of Israel doing? They were trying to worship God with sin in their lives. They substituted the true God with something else so they could keep going through the motions. It could have been anything so long as the people could direct their need to worship at it. Yet one cannot worship and rebel at the same time without self-deception, but this has not stopped multitudes from trying. If the book of Isaiah teaches us anything it is that repentance-less worship is worthless. Man may fabricate a host of sights, sounds, and feelings that counterfeit God and His holy presence, but God doesn’t buy it. He says, “… in their affliction they will seek Me early.” Not counterfeits or figments of mens imaginations, but Me, the real Me. Indeed, when the people were finally ready to get right with the one true God they declared, “Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.” Again, notice the personal pronouns. When God is at work in the lives of sinful people the feeling they will have is Holy Spirit conviction. Only the devil would comfort a person who had a controversy with God so as to make him/her believe that God supports the compromise. When a person stops rebelling against the Holy Spirit He will come in with love and joy, but while there is striving with the Spirit it will not be comfortable or enjoyable.  

 

The consequence of repentance and seeking the one true God is that, “…we shall live in his sight.” This is a way of saying that we will live in the genuine presence of the LORD — not the placebo presence that is so often experienced. Moreover, we will finally forsake the notion that this type of worshipping God is a substitute for obedience. Again, the one true God says, “I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.” Notice the personal pronouns, I, my, me. The people may go through the motions worshiping as they always did… but God was absent. It was dead, empty religion — surviving off the life support system of false emotional worship experiences. Is God saying to a generation, “I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence”? Repentance and acknowledging our sin is always the first step. We must agree with God. There can be no way forward until we acknowledge our offenses. God will simply “return to His place” until we do and leave us to our false experiences.   

Defilement Under the New Covenant

Robert Wurtz II

“When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, “Hear Me, everyone, and understand: There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man. If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!”

When He had entered a house away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable. So He said to them, “Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?”

And He said, “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” (Mark 7:14–23 NKJV)

It is interesting to note that the Pharisees were concerned with the ceremonial aspects of the Law while at the same time always resisting the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51). The very reason for the ceremonial laws was to teach people the difference between the holy and the profane — the clean and the unclean — so that they could come near to God. These teachings were given so that the children of Israel could learn how to conduct themselves before Jehovah (Yahweh). If a person had no intention of being close to God in the Old Testament — then the ceremonial laws were meaningless. In other words, why would they concern themselves with pure and impure — clean and unclean — if they were resisting the Holy Spirit? Clearly, it was because they did not understand the purpose of the laws they were teaching. In stea, they used them as a means of controlling the people and exalting themselves. The laws became a vehicle by which they could feign piety. 

It is tragic that the religious leaders had turned Judaism into a dead religion. It has been said that religion is worship in the absence of God. During the second temple period, God’s glory had long been gone from the Temple. In fact, the Ark of the Covenant was even missing. The sacred fire was long extinguished. The priesthood (who were charged with teaching the people the ways of God) had shirked that responsibility and passed it off to the scribes and Pharisees (Perushim). The Pharisees always resisted the Holy Spirit, but the Sadducees didn’t even believe in the Holy Spirit. This is how far from God the leaders in Israel had drifted and yet they considered themselves to be guides to the blind and teachers of the laws of God.

Jesus characterized the condition of many of the scribes and Pharisees as being people who “drew near to God with their mouth and honored Him with their lips, but their heart was far from Him.” (Mark 7:6)  They emphasized washing hands, cups, pots, copper vessels, and dining couches — as if those things would help a person maintain their holiness. Again, the very reason why a person would want to maintain purity and sanctification to begin with is so that God’s unique presence would remain. This truth is spelled out all through the Old Testament. Yet these religious leaders completely missed the point, and rather, were always resisting the Holy Spirit. They simply did not want God near. 

Jesus challenged their teachings and behavior. He demonstrated that in reality nothing that a person eats can defile them in the sense that the Pharisees were suggesting. Defilement in the New Covenant is not a matter of externals such as washing hands, cups, pots, copper vessels, and dining couches. It is a matter of personal holiness in which a person can destroy their capacity for fellowship with God because of personal sin (TDNT III:809). This was not a new concept because Israel was forever destroying their capacity for fellowship with God by their sin. Many times God departed from them as a consequence of compromise. No amount of sacrifice and ceremonialism could compensate for their flagrant sin. Why? Isaiah 1:10-21 spells it out. God had had enough of the religious exercise to the point that He was weary of it. They were going through the motions and completely ignoring what God cared about. He was offended by their actions and would eventually depart from their midst. He was not at home in Israel because they entertained sin. Isaiah 66:1-2 spells out what is necessary for God to be “at home” or “at rest” — not in a building — but in people. 

What Truly Defiles a Person? 

There are other things that we could speak to along this line but the list that the Lord Jesus gives us in Mark 7 and the cognate passage in Matthew 15 reveals the heart issues that offend God. They are what “defile” us in His eyes. Here is the list:

1. evil thoughts, 

2. adulteries, (marital infidelity)

3. fornications, (sexual immorality of all kinds)

4. murders, (arises from hatred)

5. thefts, (stealing)

6. covetousness, (craze for more and more)

7. wickedness, (working wickednesses — plural)

8. deceit, (luring and snaring with bait)

9. lewdness, (unrestrained sexual instinct)

10. an evil eye, (a greedy and stingy person)

11. blasphemy, (hurtful and slanderous speech)

12. pride, (exalting onesself above others)

13. foolishness. (lack of sense)

The late great Greek scholar A.T. Robertson declared concerning this verse that it reads like a list in a police court. Jesus has removed the ambiguity and brought into focus what God is concerned about. These thirteen things are the types of behaviors that proceed from the heart and defile a person. That is to say — they can destroy our capacity for fellowship with God. He is not “at home” or “at rest” in the hearts and lives of people who practice these type of sins. They defile the person before God. The evidence of this is found in the fact that the person lacks a unique sense of the presence of God in their lives. 

Sadly, we live in an age when people have the presence of God by proof texts. Multitudes see no need whatsoever to do what Paul said in 2 Cor. 7:1 — t“cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1 NKJV) They will argue from a theological position that they “have” the Holy Spirit, etc. and will be utterly offended if you challenge them. However, where is the real evidence? Is it sufficient to prove from proof texts that we, as the children of God, have the manifest presence of God in our lives and our churches? Is that what happened in the book of Acts? No. They turned the world upside down! How? because God was working in them. They were full of the Holy Spirit. They made God welcome on the inside and made sure that they cleansed themselves of the things that offend God (defile them).

The world doesn’t need believers who have the “proof text presence” of God. The scribes and Pharisees had that. We have had it for too long. What use is it? We need God to be manifest in the lives of believers like we read about in the book of Acts. We are a kingdom of priests unto God. We are living temples of the Holy Spirit. If we are ever going to see change in our lands it will not come at the voting booth but will begin when believers cultivate in themselves an environment where God can be at rest — free from the thoughts and attitudes that are offensive to Him (Isaiah 66:1-2). Free from defilement. Free from the behaviors and attitudes listed in Mark 7 and Matthew 15. A place where God can rest and uniquely manifest Himself in a verifiable way. 

The Value of Consecration

Robert Wurtz II

I raised up some of your sons as prophets, And some of your young men as Nazirites. Is it not so, O you children of Israel?” Says the LORD. “But you gave the Nazirites wine to drink, And commanded the prophets saying, ‘Do not prophesy!’ Behold, I will press you down in your place, as a cart full of sheaves presses down.” (Amos 2:11–12 NKJV, 2:13 ESV)

The prophet Amos is speaking the word of the Lord to the Israelites, who in spite of all He had done in delivering them from their enemies, chose a path of compromise and sin rather than consecration. Understand that consecration is essential to God manifesting Himself among His people. It is axiomatic in scripture that the magnitude of God’s unique presence is directly proportional to the peoples’ consecration. God will not dwell long among sinful people. Understanding this fact is key to understanding most of what went on in the Old Testament. 

God brings a message through Amos that summarizes the attitude of the children of Israel. They despised consecration and they despised the prophetic voice of God. They manifested this attitude when they defiled the Nazarites who were living representations of consecration. Who were the Nazarites? Anyone in Israel who was willing to submit to the regulations of a Nazarite (take the Nazarite vow) could do so. This provision was unique in that it enabled people who were not priests (Levites) to experience some of the rewards of the priesthood. But to do this, the person had to consecrate themselves to God in a way similar to the priesthood. The central truth of this reality was that the closer people get to God the more consecrated to Him they need to be. 

Much of the Old Testament law was written to teach the Israelites about the importance of holiness. God is holy and He expects us to be holy. When the people approached God they had to be careful to act in accordance with His holiness and His requirements. This is why drinking alcohol was forbidden for priests for example. An intoxicated priest, with his judgment impaired, might offer strange fire to the Lord as did Nadab and Abihu. Fire came out from God and destroyed them. Why? Apparently, they were intoxicated and got careless and presumptuous before God. (Lev. 10:1-8) 

God also set out to teach the children of Israel about things that are clean and things that are unclean. He did this by selecting clean and unclean animals, for example. He also taught the Israelites that doing certain things will make you “unclean” (defiled). Touching a dead body is one example of defilement. Many could be cited. If we were to describe the idea in simple terms we could say that things that are clean do not have the stench of sin or this present evil world attached to them. However, uncleanness is not just a lack of cleanness. It is a power that positively defiles. Anything associated with a foreign cult, or hostile to Jehovah (Yahweh), is unclean. (TDNT III:416) 

In modern times this truth is obfuscated — with the main emphasis being placed on the law being a means of revealing our sinfulness. This is true, but an overemphasis here obscures the fact that God was teaching the Israelites (and Christians) about His holiness and the importance of personal holiness. The New Testament places the emphasis on a new heart (regeneration) and an ongoing state of purity in heart. Unlike the Old Testament that was focused on externalities, the New Testament emphasizes a Kingdom attitude that rejects any acceptance of what is against God. This heart state is the only one conducive to the indwelling presence of God. We are temples of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we should view the Old Testament as a clinic on the whys and wherefores of God dwelling in or departing from His Temple.      

What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.” Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 6:15–7:1 NKJV)

Paul is reminding the Corinthians of what God spent hundreds of years teaching the Israelites. Things that were type and shadow in the Old Testament are real in the New Testament. Rather than dealing with touching dead animals and such, Paul is speaking to our participation in things that are fleshly, worldly and demonic. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you. The Greek word for unclean is akathartos and it is generally used in association with unclean spirits. It also denotes moral uncleanness which can happen through a pattern of wrongdoing or sexual immorality. (TDNT III:427) Moreover, Hebrews 12:15 tells us that many people are defiled by a root of bitterness. This could mean an resentful, angry and incensed attitude of mind towards one’s neighbor. Any attitude or behavior that is offensive to God is a source of moral defilement.

Consecration to God

The value of consecration to God is found in His willingness to manifest Himself among us when we determine to truly consecrate ourselves to Him. This means that we must cleanse ourselves from everything that defiles us (offends Him). The challenge is that we live in an age much like Amos described when God said… “I raised up some of your sons as prophets, And some of your young men as Nazirites. Is it not so, O you children of Israel?” Says the LORD. “But you gave the Nazirites wine to drink…” There is an attitude that seems to prevail that shows little regard for a need to consecrate ourselves. In fact, there is a growing hostility to consecration. When God raises up prophets to call the people to consecration… they refuse to listen and either directly or indirectly declare, Do not prophesy!” 

The challenge with this attitude is that God doesn’t change. When we import unclean things into our lives or our churches we are behaving like Israel when she mingled the service of Jehovah (Yahweh) with the false gods of the Canaanites. It didn’t work then and it doesn’t work now. What did God say? Behold, I will press you down in your place, as a cart full of sheaves presses down. God wanted to manifest Himself among the people but was unable because of their uncleanness. They refused to hear from the prophet or value the life example of the Nazarite. God wanted them to know the weight of His Divine glory, but their choices invited the weight of His judgment. The loaded harvest wagon presses down on the helpless ground beneath it. So Israel was heaping up a weight of divine wrath which would press it to destruction. (NBC p797). What a dreadful contrast to the glory they could have experienced and enjoyed had they had valued consecration. 

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