Be Not Conformed To This World
It is a tragic and sorrowful fact that many of God's children are traveling the worldly road to an eternal hell. They have forfeited their right to the tree of life and a home in heaven by becoming entangled again in the pollutions of the world. "The latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire." (2 Peter 2:20-22.)
Dear reader, are you entangled in the pollutions of the world? Has your love for Christ grown cold? Has your faith been shipwrecked? Have you stained your soul, hardened your heart and seared your conscience with repeated sins? Have you gone beyond the point of repentance or is there yet a spark of desire for heaven in your heart? You cannot afford to die conformed to this world lest your soul be lost in hell.
"After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances." (Lev. 18:3.) These instructions were given by God to the children of Israel during their march from bondage in Egypt to Canaan. While in Egypt they were a separate people. They were now going to Canaan, a land inhabited by idolators. God orders them to remain separate. In neither land were God's people to do as the ungodly.
When a sinner hears the gospel today, believes in God and Christ (Heb. 11:6; John 8:24), repents of sins (Acts 17:30), confesses faith in Christ (Rom. 10:10), and is buried with Christ in baptism (Col. 2:12) to have his sins washed away in the blood of Christ (Acts 22:16; Rev. 1:5), he becomes a new creature in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17) and is raised to walk in a new life. (Rom. 6:4). Having thus escaped the pollutions of the world, he is taught by God to avoid being entangled again therein, to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world (Tit. 2:11-14), shining as a light in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation (Phil. 2:15). The following passages clearly and sharply draw the line between the Christian and the world.
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." (I John 2:15-17.) "Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth." (Col. 3:2.) Attitudes and affections determine what we do. Demas left Paul "having loved this present world." (2 Tim. 4:10.) "For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." (Rom. 8:6, 7.) Do you love the world?
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Rom. 12:2.) To be conformed (be like) the world is to be lost with the world !
"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." (James 4:4.) Are you a friend of the world? Do you want to die as an enemy of God?
"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with un righteousness? 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; -is 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.)
It is not popular to be different from the world. Such an one is regarded as a narrowminded, fanatical old-fogy. The world thinks "it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you." (I Pet. 4:4.) Jesus said, "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." (John 15:19.)
Many cannot endure the scornful mockery of a sinful world because they have failed to increase their faith and strengthen their conviction by a regular study of God's word. They yield to worldly pressures and fall in line with the crowd, seeking to justify themselves by saying, "Everybody is doing it." This proves nothing! Most people are following the broad path to destruction. (Matt. 7:13, 14.) The world does not believe, preach or practice the way of God. Its standard of conduct is contradictory to God's. Christians who desire to live in heaven must not be governed by what the world thinks, says or does, but by what the Bible says. It is the only standard to determine what is right or wrong in God's sight. The world is constantly changing its standard to permit more lusts to be fulfilled with the approval of society. God's children must not follow it.
Space forbids a discussion of all the many soul-condemning sins, hence we have chosen to discuss materialism and immorality, which perhaps will cover the widest area in the least space. These two common sins are leading multitudes to destruction. Consider them carefully.
Many are so blinded by this sin that they cannot see beyond the material things of this life. To them a man's life consisteth in the abundance of the things he possesses, though Christ said otherwise. (Luke 12:15-21.) Thus they love and seek the things in this world, not the things above. (Col. 3:2.) They are laying up treasures on earth, not in heaven. (Matt. 6:19-21.) The deceitfulness of riches has choked out the word of God in their hearts and their lives have become unfruitful. (Mark 4:19.) They seek the things of this world first and the kingdom of God last-if they seek it at all! Matt. 6:33. Such excessive worldly goods constitutes covetousness, which is idolatrv. (Col. 3:5.) Idolaters will have their part in the lake of fire. (Rev. 21:8.)
We should realize that "we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil ("all kinds of evil"-American Standard Version): which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (I Tim. 6:7-10.)
The rich man (Luke 16:19-31) was a miserable suffering pauper beyond the grave, having neglected to serve God. It is far better to live and be a saved penniless man than to live and die a lost rich man! Remember: "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Matt. 6:24.)
Friend, count the cost! Think seriously before you trade your mansion in heaven for a hut in hell! Serve God and build for the future-the future beyond the grave. Spiritual security is far more valuable than material securitv. Moth and rust can corrupt your treasurers on earth and thieves may steal it; but even if you keep it till death you will surely lose it then for "it is certain we an carry nothing out" into eternity. Not one cent, not one house, not one inch of land can be transferred beyond the grave. "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven." (Matt. 6:20.) "For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" (Matt. 16:26.)
The standard of morality is constantly being lowered by "broad-minded" liberalists to conform to the desires and practices of a sinful world. The sins of yesteryear are now considered respectable; sinners of the past are now saints (?). Human churches which once opposed certain sins now permit them with the blessings of the preachers and priests. They approve adultery, promote dances, make and sell wine, liquor and beer, endorse immodest dress, and conduct gambling games on church property. The people love to have this theological sanction of their worldly, lustful sins. Instead of going to hell with a troubled mind and a crying conscience they can now go to hell with a soothed mind and an easy conscience, having received the blessings from their religious leaders for their sins.
"Lasciviousness" is a popular sin of today. It is defined as "unbridled lust, wanton manners, as filthy words, indecent bodily movements, unchaste handling of males and females . . . tending to produce lewd emotions." Promiscuous petting in parked cars, the modern dance, sexy literature and movies which emphasize, glorify and deify, sex, suggestive jokes, filthy stories and indecent dress are sins of lasciviousness.
Limited space prohibits a discussion of other immoral sins, as drunkenness, fornication, revellings and "such like." The reader is urged to read Galatians 5 :19-21, realizing that "they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
Dear erring brother and sister, do you realize that you are on the road to hell ? Do you not want to be saved ? The pleasures of sins are only "for a season." (Heb. 11:25.) We plead with you to consider the brevity and uncertainty of life, the certainty of death, the coming judgment and your eternal destiny. "Thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent . . ." (Rev. 2:5.) "Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God . . ." (Acts 8:22.) "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:9.) Jesus says, "Be zealous therefore, and repent." (Rev. 3:19.) ". . . The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." ( Heb. 10:30, 31.)
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow ; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isaiah 1:18.) "Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls . . ." (Jer. 6:16.) Jesus says, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matt. 1:28.)
Do not delay! Repent and pray now! Death is sometimes sudden and unexpected. We have no lease on life, no promsie of tomorrow. We are only a heartbeat from the grave, only a breath from eternity. A person is killed every fifteen minutes by an automobile; many others are instantly dying from other causes. Every minute you delay brings you closer to death and hell. Attend the very next service of the nearest church of Christ and tell the saints that you have repented and want to serve God. They will rejoice with the angels in heaven. (Luke 15:7, 10.) "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." (Rev. 22:14.)
Truth Magazine II:12, pp. 6-8