While reading Deuteronomy chapter 26, I was struck with how individual conduct of God’s children impacts the corporate body. Chapter 26 of Deuteronomy covers God’s commands about the first fruits of the land and they tithe of the land to His people after they come into the Promised Land. After obedience in this matter the individual child of God was commanded to say specific declarations following obedient behavior.
“So you shall rejoice in every good thing which the Lord your God has given to you and your house, you and the Levite and the stranger who is among you. When you have finished laying aside all the tithe of your increase in the third year-the year of tithing-and have given it to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your gates and be filled, then you shall say before the Lord your God: ‘I have removed the holy tithe from my house, and also have given them to the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all Your commandments which You have commanded me; I have not transgressed Your commandments, nor have I forgotten them. I have not eaten any of it when in mourning, nor have I removed any of it for an unclean use, nor given any of it for the dead. I have obeyed the voice of the Lord my God, and have done according to all that You have commanded me. Look down from Your holy habitation, from heaven, and bless Your people Israel and the land which You have given us, just as you swore to our fathers, “a land flowing with milk and honey.”’ “Today you have proclaimed the Lord to be your God, and that you will walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments, and His judgments, and that you will obey His voice. Also today the Lord has proclaimed you to be His special people, just as He promised you, that you should keep all His commandments, and the He will set you high above all nations which He has made, in praise, in name, and in honor, and that you may be a holy people to the Lord your God, just as He has spoken.” Deuteronomy 26:11-19
This testimony of obedience, confession, promise and proclamation accompanies God’s children from the beginning of history to its culmination when Jesus Christ shall return in glory. This same corporate blessing poured out in response to individual consecrated obedience should be experienced by the body of Christ today. However, there is rank rebellion in our midst today, both conscious and unconscious, that turns the hand of blessing into the hand of dutiful discipline and purifying judgment.
God’s call to His children today is to turn from sin and heresy. We are warned throughout the New Testament that compromise by individual believers ushers in judgment upon the body because of its corrupting influence.
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles-that a man has his father’s wife! And you are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he who has done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I indeed, as absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged (as though I were present) him who has so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your glorying is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote to you in my epistle not to keep company with sexually immoral people. Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner-not even to eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside? But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.” 1 Corinthians 5:1-13
To preserve the purity of the body of Christ we are to turn away from those who blatantly practice and/or promote sin. We are called to judge them and expose them, by name. To remain silent is to endorse their evil behavior and to shelter them from God’s provisional judgment. To embrace them and then exalt these evil doers is to spread the defection of sin throughout the body of Christ and bring God’s repudiation and reprisal upon many claiming to be Christ’s. We are individually responsible to be obedient in this regard; the lack of discernment and just judgment by individual Christians has increased apostasy within the ranks of Christendom. We are all held accountable by God to be obedient and turn from evil in our own lives and in the lives of those claiming to know Jesus Christ.
Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. Galatians 6:7-8
Many who love Jesus Christ and hold fast to the authority, supremacy, and sufficiency of the Scriptures have had to step outside the edifice of the Christian church to avoid the soul destroying apostasy that infects the body of Christ. Believers in Jesus Christ carefully assess the lives and doctrine of any and all renowned “Christian leaders” by the Word of God to avoid deception and declination into sin and apostasy.
We must all individually strive for purity of doctrine and stand fast for the truth and reject and expose the lie. There are numerous verses throughout Scriptures where we are admonished to grab hold of sound doctrine and turn from those who twist the Scriptures to their own destruction.
Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. Romans 16:17-18
We must reject those who oppose the sound doctrine we have learned from the Holy Scripture taught to us by the Holy Spirit. These deceivers make a handsome living deceiving and tricking those who do not practice godly discernment and judgment.
Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. 1 Corinthians 15:33-34
If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. 1 Timothy 6:3-5
Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation-as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. You, therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:14-18
These verses from Scripture make it very clear that those who twist the Scripture and oppose sound doctrine do not belong to God, are bereft of the truth, and are evil workers who do not know God. We must stand for the truth and oppose these evil workers for our own steadfastness in the faith and to stop the corrupting influence of their pernicious lies that work for the destruction of all those who embrace the demonic deception. As the powerful antidote to this poison, growing in knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, trusting His glorious work upon the cross and resurrection from the dead for our salvation, relying upon His bountiful grace, will keep us healthy, and well, as the body of Christ, as we expose the work of apostate imposters which leads many astray to damnation.