It always seems that we are quick to condemn sin out there in the world. One of the founding principles of our nation is separation of church and state. The whole point of it is to prevent the government from telling the church what to believe and the church telling the government what laws it should pass. As Christians we often find ourselves trying to force the world to live up to our standards. Paul points out to the church in Corinth that there is an incompatibility between Christian belief and practices and the world’s (see also 2 Corinthians). He says the only people we should hold up to God’s standards are our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Trying to force the world to our standards is futile, they won’t change. It is a real problem for us because there are some things that the world does that will really bugs us, things we would love to change. But Paul says let the world be the world. It is sin in the church that is the problem. Even a little sin tolerated will affect everyone in the church. There is futility in tolerating sin in the church, it will cause nothing but issues. We must live up to God’s standards that we may be witnesses to the world.
I follow a read the Bible in a year plan in the YouVersion Bible. Sometimes it goes through some “boring” scripture. However, right in the middle of those passages, I often get a wake up call. I was whacked over the head recently with a constantly repeated phrase in Leviticus, “I am the LORD, who makes you holy.” (for example, Leviticus 20:8). There is a whole litany of things in the Law that were forbidden in order to remain pure or things to do to become clean (holy means to be set apart from sin, set apart for God). But that phrase is emphatic. Ultimately, it isn’t what we do (which we should do) that makes us pure, it is God. The same holds to the Church. We are to sweep out the sin the best we can. It is an obligation to prevent a creeping corruption and to do our best as a church to represent God. But it is only God who makes us pure.
_ “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” -_Philippians 4:8 NIV