S190P5 – The faithful bride: markedly unlike the world

Eph. 4:17-19

So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.  They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.  Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.

Right after I got saved, I made a number of drastic changes in my life.  One thing I did was to discard all of the secular music I owned.  Now, I certainly felt conviction regarding some of the music in my collection, but there was other music that was completely benign and not improper or sinful at all.  This was just one of my efforts to make my new self as distinct from my old self as possible.  The problem with this approach was that it was not based on a right spiritual motive.  I simply was doing the things I thought I should do to appear Christian.  I was concerned with the perception of others, and that is what prompted my action.  I was trying to force my distinction from the world instead of letting that occur naturally and genuinely through the development of my faith.

The bride of Christ will be completely distinct from the world when she has reached her moment of fullness.  When He returns for her, she will be spotless and pure.  From now until then, she is to grow in her separation from all that is ungodly.  It cannot be a matter of pretense.  It cannot be a matter of expectation.  She must genuinely walk in the ways of the Father with the right spiritual motive.  This is not a matter of appearance but a matter of her way of life.  When the world spots the children of God, it should be because they live under a different standard and with a different purpose.  They speak the same language, but their words have a different power and effect.  It is not a matter of looking different but a matter of actually being different.

Being distinct from the world should not be an effort for the Church.  As she puts forth the work to purify herself and grow closer to the Lord, she will gain that distinction as a natural consequence.  The world is regressing while the kingdom of God is advancing, and no one has to force that to occur.  The job of the Church is to submit herself to continual renewal and purification.  While she does this, the world submits itself to increased depravity.  These two factions have no option but to grow more and more distinct from one another over time.  The Church’s concern must be only to walk in the ways of the Lord, and her uniqueness will be evident.  Father, remove from your Church pretense and the concern for maintaining superficial appearances, and bring her to real transformation.