The Bride of Christ in the World
By Joe Keim
May 1, 2023
I have been thinking about all that is happening in our beloved country and throughout the rest of the world. We are seeing an uprising of unrest, pain, hatred, evil, and wickedness. And right there, in the very midst of it all, stands the most precious bride of Jesus Christ.
Allow me a moment to clarify what I mean by the “bride of Christ”:
- Bride of Christ:
- The bride of Christ includes those who have experienced the new birth; those who, at some point, arrived at the place in their life when they stopped trusting in self, placed all of their trust in Jesus Christ alone, and were born of God. They have received and poses everlasting life. (See John 5:24)
- The Bride of Christ is made up of many colors, dress styles, cultures, and languages. Some drive horse and buggy for their transportation. Other drive cars. Some use kerosene lanterns and others use electric bulbs.
The bride of Christ is NOT Baptist. The bride of Christ is NOT Amish. The bride of Christ is NOT Catholic, Mennonite, Mormon, or Hutterite. There may be Baptists in the bride of Christ. There may be Amish, Catholics, Mennonites, Mormons, and Hutterites in the bride of Christ. But let me say it again, unless you have been personally born of God, you are NOT part of the bride of Christ. (See John 1:12-13; John 3:3,6,7; 1 Peter 1:23)
Allow me to also clarify what I mean by the “world:”
- The World:
- When the Bible refers to the world, it specifically mentions hate, bitterness, unforgiveness, murder, sexual immorality, lying, cheating, jealousy, greed, pride, etc.
- The Bible also refers to the world as anything that can be seen and touched. If you can see and touch it, it was made by human hands, and is of the world.
For example: if the transportation you use is a shiny black buggy pulled by a horse, it is as much “of the world” as your English neighbor’s shiny car powered by an engine. Both were made by human hands and can be seen with the physical eye and touched with hands.
- Attending and being members of an Amish church does not separate one from the world any more than attending and being members of a Methodist church. Both Amish and Methodist labels were given by someone in the past and are known to us today as “church denominations.” In heaven, there are no church labels. Not a single one.
According to the Bible, people who have not yet been born again (or saved) do not belong to the bride of Christ. Their sins have not been forgiven, they do not have everlasting life, and when they die, they will go to hell. These hell-bound men and women may attend and be members of a certain church label, but church membership does not save people from their sins. Church membership does not provide everlasting life.
Now that we have spent some time discussing and getting a better understanding of who the bride of Christ is and how God describes the world, let’s move on to the subject at heart: The Bride of Christ in the World.
Let’s look at righteous Lot and his family, living amid Sodom and Gomorrah.
In Genesis 18-19, the Lord God put on human flesh, took two of His angels with Him, and went to meet Abraham. After the Lord God and His angels finished eating, we are told in Genesis 18:16:
“And the men rose up from thence and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way.”
At a certain point, the Lord, his two angels, and Abraham stopped walking, and they began to gaze down upon two wicked cities: Sodom and Gomorrah. As they discussed further, the Lord God revealed to Abraham that He was going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone. Immediately, Abraham remembered his nephew Lot, and his family; they lived right in the middle of all the wickedness.
Genesis 18, verse 23 says:
“Abraham drew near, and said, wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?”
“Lord, are you going to destroy the righteous with the unrighteous?” Abraham asked.
If you are like me, you are probably thinking, “Really? There are righteous people living in all that wickedness? What are they doing raising a family in the midst of all that filth? What keeps them from relocating? What keeps them in those cities of sexual immorality?”
In Genesis 18:24, Abraham asked the Lord:
“Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein?”
Abraham begins at 50, then 45, 40, 30, 20, and ends up at 10. “Lord, if there be just 10 righteous people left, will you be merciful and not destroy the city?”
And the Lord replied: “I will not destroy it for ten’s sake” (Genesis 18:32).
As we will see a little later, Abraham’s nephew Lot, his wife, and two of their unmarried daughters, seem to be the only righteous four left in Sodom and Gomorrah. Their sons and married daughters stayed behind. The sons-in-law apparently mocked Lot in Gen 19:14.
Because Abraham had prayed and wrestled with the Lord, and because the Lord is merciful, He sent two of His angels to warn Lot and his family of the coming destruction. When the two angels arrived at Lot’s house, we are told that a mob of sex addicted men tried to break the door down, crying:
“Where are the men which came into thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them” (Genesis 19:5).
Genesis 19:4 says both young and old burned with unnatural lust and shouted out their desires for homosexual sex. The mob was not acting in secret; they were shouting aloud their cravings and sexual preference. They were out to commit homosexual rape against Lot’s visitors.
We must conclude that Lot rubbed shoulders with the people of Sodom and Gomorrah; they were his day-to-day friends, acquaintances, neighbors, and business associates. He had lived among the worldly too long; he had no testimony before them. In their minds, he was like them. He was one of them, loving the world and the things of the world.
- Lot is a tragic picture of a backslidden Christian.
- Lot had made his home with the wicked of the earth and had become one of them.
- Lot was a righteous man in the eyes of God. (See 1 Peter 2:6-8)
While Lot appears righteous in the eyes of God, the daily ongoing filth and wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah had spilled over and was devouring him. Lot and his family became numb to it. No, it did not happen overnight. It happened gradually and over time.
How do we know righteous Lot had grown numb to the wickedness and filth of Sodom and Gomorrah?
- He referred to the men of the city as “brethren.” – 19:7
- He offered two of his unmarried daughters to the mob in exchange for the two angels. – 19:8
- The men of God had to drag Lot, his wife, and two daughters out of the city.
Genesis 19:16 says: “And while he (Lot) lingered, the men (Angels) laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth and set him without the city.”
Try to imagine the scene:
Lot had become so calloused, so numb, so drugged, and so accepting of the wickedness that he simply could not get himself to leave and separate himself from it.
What does that say for the bride of Christ in our day? Have we become like Lot? Have we become numb and accepting of wickedness and unwilling to take a stand for truth and righteousness?
Are we more zealous and passionate about being right than being covered in God’s righteous? Is fitting in with men of greater importance than forsaking all and following Jesus Christ our Lord?
My biggest fear, a gnawing heaviness on my soul, is that we, the bride of Christ, have become so much like the world that it would require a magnifying glass to find true holiness of God.
This is what I feel we have done: we have mixed a bunch of worldly filth in with Christianity and stirred it all together, hoping it would allow us fit in with the world and also the bride of Jesus Christ at the same time.
Jesus had an answer for that kind of lifestyle:
“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” (Matthew 6:24).
“Choose you this day whom ye will serve…” (Jsh 24:15).
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