Dec 26, 2017
'Come out of Babylon, my people,' so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues. Rev 18:4
Supporting or tolerating sin just to get along will corrupt you or kill you.
There’s a saying I was taught by my grandpa and have learned to say it often: Bad company corrupts good character. For years I didn’t know that was Scripture (1Cor 15:33), but if you have been reading through the New Testament, you’ve seen many places where this principle applies. Revelation is the final warning of this principle – and the most serious.
Believers agree with the principle, but often struggle to apply it. We’re pretty good at seeing the bad company other people hang out with, but also are pretty good at justifying our own choices. Separation is just so difficult! Sometimes, it’s our own family members that we need to separate from. Other times, it’s that boyfriend or girlfriend, or a work buddy, or something else. Even solid Christians wrestle with this passage in light of trying to reach lost friends and family – how do you balance it?
God’s calling in this passage is less about people and more about practices. God is calling us away from the practices of sin – ie. Leave the liquor, don’t mess with the marijuana, stop going for the greed, pull away from anger, etc. If being around the people means being around the sin, then leave the sin.
A great application of this for today would be the TV. The flat screen in your family room is just an object. By itself, it is not your enemy. But when we have the remote in our hands, and activate the screen, MANY of the things on the TV are very sinful. Take an Inventory for one week: watch what you watch. Isn’t it flooded with things you know are sinful? (Dianna and I have dropped SO MANY shows after an inventory like this – even shows we liked the plots of were filled with sin-encouraging scenes.) The point isn’t to ban the TV. The point is: Don’t share in the sins by watching them regularly.
God calls us to live holy lives. That doesn’t mean we all need to live in a monastery. It means we must separate ourselves from the sin scene. We need to remember that there is always a plague coming. Eventually, there is a price to pay – either in the behavior or in the judgment. Pull away before it is too late.
I’m grateful my grandpa recited that Scripture so often. Maybe we would be wise in remembering it and teaching it to our families. The character we reap comes from the company we keep. Separate yourself from the sins people are pushing on you. They are not your friends, and you’re not being a good friend by participating in it with them. Avoid the plague, and maybe they will learn to avoid it too.