|Vol. 2, No. 2||Page 12||February 2000|
Unspotted From The World
"Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world" (James 1:27).It is imperative that every Christian develop a heightened awareness of the need for moral living in an immoral world. All around us the world openly and shamelessly practices every kind of immorality (e.g., homosexuality, fornication, abortion, gambling, alcohol and other pleasure drugs, theft, murder and lying, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 19-21; Romans 1:26-32; Revelation 21:8).
Obviously, non-Christians need to be made aware of their responsibility to practice moral living. However, Christians are also instructed by numerous passages to practice moral living. Evidently, the first century church needed to be exhorted to better practice moral living in an immoral world (e.g., a fornicator, coveting, an idolater, a railer, a drunkard, an extortioner, 1 Corinthians 5:1, 11).
The Greek word, spilos, equals "spot" or "stain." Figuratively, it means "moral blemish." Preceded by the negating prefix, "a" (aspilos), the Greek word means "unspotted" (James 1:27). Jesus Christ is our ultimate example of being unspotted by the world.
"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you" (1 Peter 1:18-20).That Jesus is our example and under what circumstances he, though tempted and buffeted, was "without spot" is recorded in 1 Peter 2:21-25.
Further, Jesus Christ demands that his church not be spotted by the world. Jesus requires his church to be morally pure (glorious and holy — without wrinkle, blemish or spot, Ephesians 5:27). Openly sinful brethren and false teachers in any congregation are described as spiritual spots (2 Peter 2:13; Jude 12).
Christians must keep themselves unspotted from the world. Special servants of God (such as preachers, elders, deacons and teachers) must practice moral purity to avoid hindering their labors, bringing reproach on the church and condemning their souls (1 Timothy 6:12-14). All Christians must purpose to remain unspotted from the world while practicing pure, undefiled religion (James 1:27).
Entrance into heavenly habitations is dependent on being "without spot" when the Lord returns (2 Peter 3:9-14). Further, Christians must exercise extreme caution when attempting to rescue fallen brethren lest the rescuers become spiritually infected with the errings' sin-spotted instruments, tools and toys (Jude 23).
For a pragmatic application, consider these samples of sin-spots. (1) Illicit sex: (a) premarital — otherwise euphemistically styled as shacking up, living together or common law marriage (Revelation 21:8; Galatians 5:19; 1 Corinthians 5:9), (b) adultery (1 Corinthians 5:9; Matthew 19:9; Galatians 5:19), (c) incest (1 Corinthians 5:1), (d) rape, (e) homosexual (1 Corinthians 6:9; Romans 1:26-27), (f) other sexual perversions. (2) Stealing (1 Corinthians 6:10). (3) Alcohol and pleasure drugs (1 Corinthians 6:10; Galatians 5:21). (4) Murder (Romans 1:29). (5) Atheism (Romans 1:30). (6) Disobedience to parents (Romans 1:30). (7) Abortion (Romans 1:31). (8) Pornography (Matthew 5:28; Romans 1:32). (9) Witchcraft — inclusive of crystal ball and palm reading, astrology and Ouija boards (Galatians 5:20; Revelation 21:8). (10) Hate (Galatians 5:20). (11) Revelings or dancing (Galatians 5:21). (12) Unbelievers (Revelation 21:8). (13) Lying (Revelation 21:8). (14) Idolatry — worshipping God in gross error — such as in denominationalism (1 Corinthians 6:9; Revelation 21:8).
Christians have been called by the Gospel out of a world of sin into the church. The Greek word for church is "ekklesia" — "ek" meaning "out of," and "klesia" meaning "called." Therefore, Christians are exhorted not to love the world of sin (1 John 2:15-17). Further, Christians are forbidden to sustain friendship with the world of sin (James 4:4). Fellowship with the ungodly world is prohibited (Ephesians 5:11; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18). We must keep ourselves pure (1 Timothy 5:22; 2 Corinthians 7:1). As Christians, we must imitate the holiness of God (1 Peter 1:15-16). Moral living is in one's best interest for this life and impending eternity.