“Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7).
Elijah faced long odds in his battle with Baal worship. He was outnumbered, the opposition was supported by the king, and he had no standing army to help him. Many would be tempted to negotiate with the Baal worshippers, and not bring things to a head. But Elijah knew that Israel stood no chance of survival if she mixed Baal worship with biblical worship. Israel needed to make a clean break with evil, and Elijah needed to proclaim that message.
It might seem harsh that Elijah had to kill the Baal worshippers, but the nation’s future was at stake. In fact, God eventually removed Israel from the land because of them merging their biblical faith with pagan practices:
“So they feared the Lord but also served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away” (2 Kings 17:33).
We cannot mix the Christian faith with the evil practices of this world. Only the true followers of God know Him, but the rest of the world “lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19). We need to break away from such practices, even though evil influencers try to compel us to join them (see 1 Peter 4:2-4). We must say “no” to them.
In our own lives, we sometimes need to take strong measures to place ourselves in places God can bless. We cannot form close associations with those who seek to drag us down. We cannot participate in some professions that promote evil and aid the enemy. The people wanted to offer one good sacrifice and then one to Baal. But God said “no” to this practice, and commanded Israel to rid herself of Baal worship altogether.
2 Questions of Application
1. Do we engage in practices that offend God and drag us down spiritually?
If so, we do not need to deliberate the matter at all. We need to make a clean break from it and ask God for strength and courage to follow through.
2. Have we tried to balance the Christian faith with a worldly lifestyle?
God called us “out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). We cannot balance both worlds and hope to succeed. We should ask ourselves what Elijah asked the people:
“How long will you go limping between two different opinions” (1 Kings 18:21).
We who have received Christ need to walk in Him (Colossians 2:6), and “not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance” (1 Peter 1:14). We need to “go out from their midst and be separate from them” (2 Corinthians 6:17), and then God will receive us (same verse).
Posted on Wed, April 20, 2016
by Sam Petitfils