The word of the Lord came to Ezekiel, saying, "Son of man, say unto her, Thou art the land that is not cleansed, nor rained upon in the day of indignation. There is a conspiracy of her prophets in the midst thereof, like a roaring lion ravening the prey; they have devoured souls; they have taken the treasure and precious things; they have made her many widows in the midst thereof. Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things: they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they shewed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them. Her princes in the midst thereof are like wolves ravening the prey, to shed blood, and to destroy souls, to get dishonest gain. And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord God, when the Lord hath not spoken." (Ezek. 22:23-28.)
In the days of the prophet Ezekiel, the Lord was furious with Israel. The people were given to idolatry and covetousness. Her leaders - the prophets, the priests, and the princes - were drunk with power and deceit. They robbed the people and blurred the lines between holiness and profanity to their own advantage.
Even with a cursory glance at the Christian world today, one can hear the words of Solomon, "That which hath been is now..." (Eccl. 3:15.)
It seems that one may, all too easily, dismiss God's involvement in the day to day activities of mankind and develop the attitude, "God doesn't care about this or that." This attitude yields itself to participation in activities of questionable value to the Christian - if not outright detriment - based on the fact that it is too mundane or insignificant for God to care.
Most often, however, this attitude is unfounded and, in fact, contrary to the Scriptures. The law of God, given by Moses, contains line after line after line of text regarding God's requirements for man and His expectations on man's behavior in everyday life.
God never changes. God desired an intimate relationship with His people, that involved every aspect of their lives. Before Christ came, no person had ever been born-again. Everyone was a sinner and salvation was unobtainable. Abraham died, having not accepted Jesus as his Savior. God justified him for his faith, to be sure, yet not even he could be born into the kingdom of God. As Jesus said, "Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." (Matt. 11:11.) Apparently, being born of the Spirit lends itself to great blessings.
"Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." (Luke 12:48.) If it so be that we have a closer relationship to the Father, through Jesus Christ our Lord, why then would we believe that He would need to be less involved with our day-to-day lives than He was with Israel in the time of the Old Testament? In fact, would He not be even more intimately involved?
Nevertheless, the modern-day Christian often indulges himself with things of this world. Many church leaders today go beyond the attitude that God doesn't care, going so far as to say, "God wants you to indulge yourself." Many, if not most, Christian radio and television broadcasts are fraught with "prophets" and "preachers," like unto those of Ezekiel's day, proclaiming "The Lord said...," when He did not speak.
Sometimes it is difficult to differentiate whether the "inspirational" television you are watching is Christian, or whether it is a paid infomercial for a get-rich-quick scam. The rhetoric and excitement is often the same.
The same is true in the world of music. Recently, a rock group called Evanescence called for their music be pulled from the Christian markets. This year, Christian radio stations had been playing their hit single "Bring Me to Life," which seemed to have spiritual overtones. However, since the late 1990s, the band's guitarist and founder, Ben Moody, and lead singer, Amy Lee, made it clear that they weren't a Christian group by use of profanity and taking the Lord's name in vain.
"We're actually high on the Christian charts, and I'm like, 'What the ---- are we even doing there?' " he said. Singer Amy Lee agreed, "I guarantee that if the Christian bookstore owners listened to some of those songs, they wouldn't sell the CD." Obviously, she was wrong. She went on to say, "There are people hell-bent on the idea that we're a Christian band in disguise, that we have some secret message. We have no spiritual affiliation with this music. It's simply about life experience."
After the stern comments by the band, Christian bookstores and radio stations pulled the music from their venues. Still, some confusion remains, because the band's record label produces music for other so-called Christian bands Creed and 12 Stones. Additionally, Evanescence's drummer Rocky Gray also plays with outspoken "Christian" metal bands Living Sacrifice and Soul Embraced, furthering the confusion.
I guess the questions that are foremost on my mind are:
(1) "Since when is subject matter about "life experience" equated with "Christian?" The answer to this question is that Christians have relegated their own spirituality to "life experience," blurring the lines themselves. They ask themselves "What Jesus would do?" while God responds, "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways." To many people who claim to be Christians, being a good person is the aim. Although the fruit of the spirit will show forth kindness to others, that is the fruit and not the root. The goal is Christ-likeness: not only kindness and compassion when appropriate, but sternness and candidness also. Jesus was not only able to reach out to those in need, but He was also able to call sin sin, and rebuke and exhort the sinner. Often, one gets caught up in living, and forgets to "perfect holiness in the fear of God."
(2) "Why does it take the world to tell God's people what is not Christian?" The response to this question is that, for far too long, the Christians have let the world dictate to them what is Christian. Christians have accepted worldly celebrations, worldly music, and worldly behavior. Most importantly, Christians have allowed the world to define what it means to be Christian. We are told that Christians are to be tolerant of all people. We are led to believe that "Live and let live" is some kind of Christian virtue. We are conditioned to believe that God desires our absence from the public eye. These ideas are not biblical, they are part of the enemy's plot to silence God's people and intimidate us into compliance.
For the second year in a row, I caught some of the annual Dove awards show. If I had not noticed which channel was airing the program, I would not have known that this was a Christian broadcast. The content was NO DIFFERENT from any comparable awards show that is found in the world. Both Jesus and Paul indicate that the pursuit of earthly rewards is vanity, for "Verily, they have their reward." Are not awards shows, therefore, fundamentally contrary to Scriptures, or at the very least vanity?
God's people have, for too long, pursued a path that has blurred the lines that separate the holy from the profane, even as the children of Israel did in the days of old. But God is calling out to them, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." (2 Cor. 6:14-18.)
He has called us to be "a holy nation, a peculiar people," that we should shew forth His praises.
Then shall be fulfilled the word of the Lord unto Ezekiel found in chapter 44, "The priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, ... They shall enter into my sanctuary, and they shall come near to my table, to minister unto me, and they shall keep my charge." "And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean. And in controversy they shall stand in judgment; and they shall judge it according to my judgments: and they shall keep my laws and my statutes in all mine assemblies; and they shall hallow my sabbaths." (Ezek. 44:15-31.)
Henceforth, the leaders of God's people will teach them to make a difference: to come out and be separate from the world. Not only so, but this passage also states, "in controversy they shall stand in judgment." The Bible way stands in stark contrast to the way of the world. Great controversy, therefore, will always lie in the path of the believer who is determined to follow in the footsteps of the Savior.
But separation from the world is the expression of the true believer. As James said, "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)
Let us now prepare our hearts, as Ezra did, "to seek the law of the Lord, and
to do it," and pray that the leaders of God's people will begin to teach His
statutes and judgments. (Ezra 7:10.)