Jim Wilson is the retired director of Community Christian Ministries in Moscow, Idaho. He will be posting regularly, so check back in soon!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Righteousness in the Camp

God’s view of righteousness in society is that it is meant to have a positive effect on society: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men” (Matt. 5:13).

Salt is not to be ineffective. Salt that does not have the characteristics of salt is good for nothing. Light that is hidden is not light. Men do not praise God for the bad deeds in Christians’ lives.

There are two events in biblical history which take this truth to two opposite extremes. One is the destruction of Sodom, and the other is the minor defeat of Israel at Ai. The stories are found in Genesis 18-19 and Joshua 6-7. In the case of Sodom, God had promised the safety of a very wicked city if ten righteous people were found in it. In the case of Ai, God allowed the defeat of a righteous nation by a wicked city because there was one unrighteous man in the camp. Thirty-six other men were killed because of this man’s unrighteousness.

These are not opposite principles, but only opposite effects of the same principle. God will spare a wicked city if there is an adequate righteous witness in the city. However, God will not give victory unless there are all righteous people in the camp. We as Christians have settled for the first option; we are content with minimum light, just enough to keep the Sodoms of the world from being destroyed. We are not willing to purge the unrighteousness in ourselves and in the church in order to take the Ais of this world with the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

One is a defensive view, and the other is an offensive view. We, the church, who, like Joshua, have an offensive view, have tried to take the Gospel with unrighteous men in our army. The Lord is not with us for victory.

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