The Prerogative for & Performance of Church Purity
Section #1: The Immediate Presence of God = Immediate Judgments Against Sin
Section #2: The Church = “The Called-Out Ones”
The Immediate Presence of God = Immediate Judgments Against Sin
“I will go down now, and see…” – Almighty God
“I will walk among you” (Lev. 26:12), God said, but is this like when God walked into Sodom and Gomorrah!? My reader, what was the aftermath of Sodom’s visitation? That woeful and wicked place, engulfed in flames, was first visited by the immediate and special presence of God! Let the reader take note: after that, God arrived, Sodom’s fate was sealed. Do you remember Sodom’s fateful evening when God – the Almighty – sat, stood, and walked among Abraham, and then:
“…the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD.” – Genesis 18:20-22
Had the LORD never visited Sodom and Gomorrah – walking among them in His immediate and special presence – would it have been “set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 1:7)? God knows His own boundaries, how that He is unbearably-hallowed, how that evil cannot endure Him nor He it. There is an inevitable overflow of sudden judgment and destruction when He and evil meet. God is holy, therefore in a time when Israel deserved a Sodom-like destruction, to restrain Himself, God said, “I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people; lest I consume thee in the way” (Exodus 33:3). The Lord said – “in a moment” (Ex. 33:5) – He would consume them, and it was because His immediate presence necessitates immediate judgments, AS IN A MOMENT! In the same circumstances but in another generation, the Lord said, “I will not enter into the City” (Hos. 11:9), so as to prevent a Sodom-like destruction in the same terms! – Graciously the LORD was preventing the Cities of Israel from being engulfed in flames at the point when God would, but, walk into the City! The Lord is dangerously holy and violently reactive to sin, wherever it is found! Even the High Priest Aaron – who was “HOLINESS TO THE LORD” – even he had “a golden bell” sown upon his priestly robe! Do you know what this means?
Aaron, being the High Priest, conducted daily business only steps away from the immediate presence of God in The Most Holy Place, and without a bell to make some kind of forewarning signal to God – as if He would be suddenly surprised and inexcusably appalled by the presence of a sin-tainted redeemed son of Adam – as if a human’s presence is an audacious and criminal intrusion, a near unbearable invasion of unholiness into the realm of the Holiest – GOD – that otherwise, without the bell’s forewarning, God would suddenly kill the man! God is “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY” (Rev. 4:8)! Had there not been a bell to sound forth that a “vile body” approaches (Php. 3:21), God, as if He needed a few seconds to prepare Himself with holy-restraint, resolving to suffer the malady and let the man live (Ex. 28:34-36) …do you know this God? Have you seen the shining brilliance and blinding holiness which makes God deathly-unapproachable (1 Tim. 6:16)? God is other-worldly! He is The Alien Enemy to SIN! Within HIM, righteous, holy, and sinless justice is so aroused to near-unquenchable fury, He would “contend for ever” and be “always wroth” with man, but He, knowing “our frame” and remembering that “we are dust”, restrains His holiness…otherwise, God’s says, “the spirit should fail before Me, and the souls which I have made” (Isa. 57:16, Ps. 103:14)! Do you understand this verse? Hear me exclaim to you, my reader! Good! Good are the Lord’s desires of sin-hating justice that He – with difficulty – restrains Himself from the total annihilation of humanity, and He, remembering that all would die, is aroused into an impossible and wrath-surmounting MERCY! An angel-astonishing and devil-gasping MERCY that God, being aggravated to a near-unquenchable fury, put His anger to rest! If a sounding bell upon Aaron’s robe saved his life from SUDDEN DEATH, this is a ceremonial representation of the HOLY-IMPOSSIBLE unapproachableness of God. This is a ceremonial representation of how difficult and Self-denying it is for God to exercise holy-restraint to let men live – men who are immediately among Himself – and were it not for the pity and compassion He has for mankind, all men would die. So unalterable is the nature and holy-essence of this God, He will not save you unless He can kill you (Gal. 2:20, Rom. 6:3). Even His “day of salvation” is a day of execution (2 Cor. 5:14, 6:2)! His anger rushes onward and it will fall. The only question is, upon what? Upon who?
The God of the Bible “is a God of judgment” (Isa. 30:18), a God who once said, so as to relieve Himself from personal suffering, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them” (Gen. 6:7). God said their existence “grieved Him at His heart” because “the wickedness of man was great in the earth” (Gen. 6:5-6). We, in the End Times, are in the same dilemma only on another day: the Last Day. Noah’s generation was a day of overflowing water, but ours is of overflowing FIRE! - Meaning that, as the heavens do circle the earth, a worldwide annihilation hovers over all earth-dwelling humanity. The heavens will be on fire first… then the earth. Have you never read? “The world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men” (2 Pet. 3:6-7)! My reader, “the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness” (2 Pet. 3:10-11)? We must have holiness now for heaven to come! We must have holiness if we will be counted worthy “to stand before the Son of Man” (Lk. 21:36), yes… BUT WAIT! Before this worldwide judgment comes upon the earth, tremble at this, “judgment MUST BEGIN at the House of God” (1 Pet. 4:17)!
“judgment must begin at the House of God” – 1 Peter 4:17
My reader, if God is going to be among Israel by His immediate presence, then let these words sink down into your ears: God said to Israel, “there shall be NO WICKEDNESS among you” (Lev. 20:14). It is reasonable! God and sin CANNOT both be among Israel. What is “among you” (1 Cor. 5:2), speaking of spiritual Israel, must be different than what is “among them” (2 Cor. 6:17), speaking of the heathen and backslidden saints. The Gospel-experience begins the spiritual framework for this differentiation, and God demands His right-standing people to fulfill this call of separation with present-progressive continuance. Again I say, what is “among you” must be different from that which is “among them”. By judgment, God puts away evil from among His people (1 Cor. 5:3-5), and this is to save them from the eternal Judgment which is to come (1 Cor. 11:32). Both God’s beginning judgment and end time judgment – “put away evil”. All must go through Final Judgment, yes, but all who pass through it do not survive it! God judges His people now so that when they face Final Judgment, they survive it. By judgment, God puts away evil from among His people (this is the beginning of His judgment which is, “at the House of God”-1 Pet. 4:17), but afterward, on a Day of the Lord’s appointment, God will turn to judge all the world by putting away evil from it (1 Cor. 5:9-10, 12-13, 2 Pet. 3:7)!
Judgment Among God’s People: The Old Testament
To dwell in the presence of GOD, who is – The Greatest Treasure – there is a cost! Men “shall be put to death”, God said, “so shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee” (Deut. 13:5)... why? Because God is there in the midst! Among all Israelites there was no partiality and no pity, even for the dearest companion or kin; furthermore, and all persons were required to participate in the public execution of the guilty!
“If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers…thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely KILL HIM: thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he DIE; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the Land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is AMONG YOU” (Deut. 13:6-11).
You see, my reader, there was a hallowed and fierce judgment which was swift and impartial toward all, therefore Israel, understanding the fear of God (see Deut. 13:11), knew that God was a God of judgment who demands holiness, righteousness, and purity AMONG HIS PEOPLE. That which is in Himself, He requires among Himself, and those people who God is within He endeavors to be among – these are the people of God. The demand for holiness, righteousness, and purity is expressly because – GOD dwells among them – and if they turn to wickedness so as to transgress the Gospel-powerful “call” which saved them at the first, men must die the death. All others will, afterward, “hear”, “fear”, “and shall do no more any such wickedness as this among [Israel]” (Deut. 13:11)! This immediate judgment of God whereby He does “put the evil away from the midst” of Israel (Duet. 13:5), establishes hope and salvific security from the sinfulness of one infecting all. That which is “found among you”, God said, “within any of thy gates which the LORD thy God giveth thee, man or woman”, upon them is the regulation of God’s judgment because Israel had been separated unto the Lord. For this cause, God raised up judges to judge (Deut. 17:9-13), orders for witness’ to testify and execute all necessary stonings, and with all crimes held in the balance there were varying specifications for varying crimes to the end that, again and again, the burden of God was made clear: “So shalt thou put the evil away from among you.” Is this burden becoming clear to you, my reader? The following citations will help.
The Old Testament Call
“So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee” –Deut. 13:5
“So thou shalt put the evil away from among you” – Deut. 17:7
“…thou shalt put away the evil from Israel” – Deut. 17:12
“…so shalt thou put the evil away from among you” – Deut. 19:19
“…so thou shalt put evil away from among you” – Deut. 21:21
“…so shalt thou put away evil from Israel” – Deut. 22:22
“…so thou shalt put away evil from among you” – Deut. 22:24
“…put away evil from Israel” – Judges 20:13
“that there be no wickedness among you” – Lev. 20:14
“that soul shall be cut off from among his people” –Exo. 31:14
“that soul shall be cut off from his people” – Lev. 7:20
“that soul shall be cut off from his people” - Lev. 7:21
“shall be cut off from his people” – Lev. 7:25
“that soul shall be cut off from his people” – Lev. 7:27
“that man shall be cut off from among his people” –Lev. 17:4
“that man shall be cut off from among his people” –Lev. 17:9
“cut him off from among his people” –Lev. 17:10
“cut off from among their people” –Lev. 18:29
“that soul shall be cut off from among his people” –Lev. 19:8
“cut him off from among his people” –Lev. 20:3
“cut him off…from among their people” – Lev. 20:5
“cut him off from among his people” –Lev. 20:6
“they shall be cut off in the sight of their people” – Lev. 20:17
“both of them shall be cut off from among their people”–Lev. 20:18
“cut off from among his people” –Lev. 23:29
“cut off from among his people” –Num. 9:13
“cut off from among his people” –Num. 15:30
“that soul shall be cut off from among the congregation” –Num. 19:20
My reader, what is the principle theme at hand? God’s immediate presence is at hand, and, God said, “I will be hallowed among the children of Israel” (Lev. 22:32), therefore what happened “among them” was of the utmost concern to God Almighty (Deut. 13:14, 18:10, 19:20)! If God was not among them with His immediate presence, He would not be so immediately concerned, but because the LORD is among them with His immediate presence He is engaged in the activity of immediate judgment. Everyone else in the world besides The Church, they are the people among whom GOD does not dwell! Therefore, because of this, the LORD waits until Final Judgment to confront their sin with the penalties of Divine justice at large. But the people among whom God dwells, God is! And because God is, sin dies! This meant the death of sin or the persons who commit sin, one or the other. This was imminent because God immediately and especially beheld all the people as one in their very midst! Therefore He forewarned them, “Thus shall ye separate the children of Israel from their uncleanness; that they die not in their uncleanness, when they defile My Tabernacle that is among them” (Lev. 15:31). “Neither shall ye profane My holy Name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the LORD which hallow you” (Lev. 22:32). My reader, stand still and wonder! God said – “I WILL WALK AMONG YOU” (Lev. 26:12) – this is the crux of the matter! Will you now understand it, my reader? The magnanimous significance of the saying: “I will set My Tabernacle among you…I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be My people” (Lev. 26:11-12)!
Judgment Among God’s People: The New Testament
Is “The New Testament God”, as some call Him, of another nature now because of the New Covenant? Is “The New Testament God” different than He which demanded public stoning in the Old Testament? Is Jesus of another nature than He which consumed men with fire – immediately – with fierce severity (Heb. 12:28-29, 1 Cor. 10:1-12)? Are the judgments of God which were “without mercy” in the Old Testament, now, in the New Testament, “with mercy” (Heb. 10:28)? Is “The Old Testament God” like… another God, as “Christian America” had understood Him to be? By the “call”, “Get thee out” (Gen. 12:1), Abraham was Gospel-saved, and with the command, “Cast out” (Gal. 4:30), Isaac’s saving-separation was secured, but what of the New Testament? Firstly, let us understand, salvation begins with an other-worldly separation (John 1:12-13). This does, in a New Testament sense, bring God’s immediate presence at hand, and because of this, secondarily, The Church is regulated by explicit rules of separation. “Come out from among them, and be ye separate” (2 Cor. 6:17), “touch not the unclean thing” (2 Cor. 6:17), and “put away from among yourselves that wicked person” (1 Cor. 5:13) is still – in the New Testament – our bounden duty!
The New Testament Call
“taken away from among you” – 1 Cor. 5:2
“put away from among yourselves that wicked person” – 1 Cor. 5:13
“let it not be once named among you” – Eph. 5:3
“among you that believe” – 1 Thess. 2:10
“they went out from us” – 1 John 2:19
Is God among His people in the New Covenant agreement without any fearful judgments – upon which hinge life and death (spiritually speaking) – swiftly and impartially executing justice among those persons of God’s near proximity, The Church? God is equally concerned with who and what happens. God said, “among yourselves” (1 Cor. 5:13), meaning The Church, and therefore scripture expounds further parameters: There are sins which necessitate judgment, as God commanded, “let it not be once named among you” (Eph. 5:3), and there are persons who, God said, must be “taken away from among you” (1 Cor. 5:2). These commands are NT judgments like as the OT judgments, of equal impartiality and mercilessness toward all saints “within” The Church (1 Cor. 5:12), none exempting; thus we must “judge them that are within” The Church (1 Cor. 5:12) in that we, God said, “put away from among yourselves that wicked person” (1 Cor. 5:13). God is concerned with the reputation which is, scripturally specified, “among you that believe” (1 Thess. 2:10), for with these men is the very presence, name, and reputation of God!
Those who are outside of The Church bear their own name, and so, in the event that a man is cast out of The Church, the man is immediately reckoned among the vast multitudes of lost humanity, scripturally titled: “as an heathen man and publican” (Matt. 18:17). I repeat, “among you” (1 Thess. 2:10), must be different than that which is “among them” (2 Cor. 6:17)! Therefore God is still “calling” in the New Testament! He is still giving commands of judgment! God says, “come out” (2 Cor. 6:17) and “purge out” (1 Cor. 5:7), until finally those who are under the wrath of God become manifest in that they – woe to them! – “they went out from us” (1 John 2:19). Those who have become a spiritual “castaway” from God (1 Cor. 9:27), otherwise known as “reprobates” (2 Cor. 13:5), these are those branches which Christ spoke of that God the Father, the Husbandman, “taketh away” from their saving union with the Vine of Christ (John 15:1). They are “cast forth”, the scripture states (John 15:6). Therefore we, the saints, as Christ’s hands and feet, act out a physical manifestation of this spiritual reality in that we cast such men out of The Church (we excommunicate them) …but to what end?
“cast out” – Gen. 21:10
“purge out” – 1 Cor. 5:7
“castaway” – 1 Cor. 9:27
“cast forth” – John 15:6
“cast into the Lake of Fire” – Rev. 20:15
After this, if the man is unrepentant still… God have mercy! God would have the man repent via the exercise of excommunication, but if he does not and cannot! Alas, the unrepentant man will die a castaway! Hence at the appointed day he will die and go to hell! And he, being dead in body and alive in soul, will suddenly appear in the realms which are everlasting! Hell will give up the tormented soul for the final boulevard of eternal judgment: The Judgment Seat of Christ. Then, after Final Judgment, the sinner will be seized by the brisk and unwavering clutch of holy angels! Screaming and wailing for pity, he will be carried to the very precipice of fiery torments! There, where you can smell the stench, hear the cries, and feel the heat of eternal flames beneath! There, at the very edge of a devouring mouth which swallowed down the devil and his angels! Lo, there, the holy angels will stand reared to cast the body and soul away! Longing to forcefully thrust the abominable sinner into the place where it belongs, the angels await the angry command of God Almighty whose voice booms from the regions beyond! There, second by second, the sinful soul is paralyzed with fear! Soon to endure the terror that no human body could consciously experience on earth, the man quakes and trembles exceedingly! Then, suddenly, the divine command is given: “CAST HIM INTO OUTER DARKNESS” (Matt.22:13)! And by the force of holy angels the soul is thrown into The Lake of Fire! It was written, “And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was CAST into the Lake of Fire” (Rev. 20:15).