“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God. 2 The Word was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. 5 And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it.” John 1:1-5.
People in darkness cannot and therefore, refuse to listen to truth because of spiritual blindness in every feasible manner. They are sometimes associated with evil by supporting and protecting particular kinds of people who are evil themselves. And the Inspired Writer tells us, “all unrighteousness is sin…” 1 John 5:17a. (please read in context.) However, we know Jesus is more than life, He is “the light of mankind.” John 1”4c. Sadly, many continue to walk in darkness even though they claim life in Jesus Christ.
But, does this translate into life where you are? Yes, a thousand times, YES!! But, how? This kind of statement and thinking, ‘guilt by association’ offends many claiming to be Christians. The fact is too often evildoers are not simply protected by some who claim to be so, but are supported by them as well. Darkness only translates into life in Christ by the new birth as described in John chapter 3, Ephesians 2 and other places. However, for present purposes there are clear statements in God’s Word concerning guilt by association with others who are in denial of God by their life of sin.
Indeed, personal sin affects others by association and is obvious when there exists ‘sin in the camp’ as people infect the whole community and cause severe consequences. In Joshua 6:18-19 is found this command from God, “ But be careful when you are setting apart the riches for God. If you take any of it, then you will make the Israelite camp subject to annihilation and cause a disaster. All the silver and gold, as well as bronze and iron items, belong to the Lord. They must go into the Lord’s treasury.” However, look at what happened in Joshua 7:1, “But the Israelites disobeyed the command about the city’s riches. Achan son of Carmi, son of Zabdi, son of Zerah, from the tribe of Judah, stole some of the riches. The Lord was furious with the Israelites.” Only Achan stole some of the confiscated riches intended for the treasury of the Lord and “the Lord was furious with the Israelites” each and every one. Why? Guilt by association with the thief.
The question then arises, “Are you somehow guilty before because of the sins of some members of your church?” I responded with Hebrews 13:17, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls and will give an account for their work. Let them do this with joy and not with complaints, for this would be no advantage for you.” Taking into consideration the previous verses 1-16, every church leader whether they be deacon or pastor, “will give account for their work” before God. For this reason every Pastor must preach and teach the truth concerning the teachings of Jesus Christ. Why? There is Light that penetrates.
Pastors are responsible for “giving an account for the souls” he leads and must present the Gospel as the power of God for salvation. But, there is another responsibility sometimes forgotten and “God has blended together the body, giving greater honor to the lesser member, so that there may be no division in the body, but the members may have mutual concern for one another. If one member suffers, everyone suffers with it. If a member is honored, all rejoice with it. Now you are Christ’s body, and each of you is a member of it. “ 1 Corinthians 12 24b-27. We must also work diligently to help those who are hurting, confused and do all possible to prevent division that is sometimes present, too.
Division always comes along lurking in pervasive darkness of sin present in the lives of some who are not born-again, but are actively involved in the local church. An interesting note is a warning from Paul for us not to share in this sin.
Paul writes in Ephesians 5:11-14, “Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For the things they do in secret are shameful even to mention. But all things being exposed by the light are made visible. For everything made visible is light, and for this reason it says: “Awake, O sleeper! Rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you!” And in 1 Corinthians 5:12-13 we are told, “For what do I have to do with judging those outside? Are you not to judge those inside? But God will judge those outside. Remove the evil person from among you.” The Apostle directs the words of God directly to today’s local church for we have allowed unbelievers to direct far too many activities.
Paul often speaks against darkness creeping around in various churches to whom he writes. He told the church in Thessalonica, “ But we command you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to keep away from any brother who lives an undisciplined life and not according to the tradition they received from us. For you know yourselves how you must imitate us, because we did not behave without discipline among you, and we did not eat anyone’s food without paying. Instead, in toil and drudgery we worked night and day in order not to burden any of you. It was not because we do not have that right, but to give ourselves as an example for you to imitate,” 2 Thessalonians 3:6-9 and almost in the same pen stroke is found, “But you, brothers and sisters, do not grow weary in doing what is right. But if anyone does not obey our message through this letter, take note of him and do not associate closely with him, so that he may be ashamed. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother” 2 Thessalonians 3:13-15.
The light of the Gospel is Jesus Christ penetrating the darkest corner of every heart, no space is hidden from Him. “And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it.” John 1:5. No matter the evil existing in the hallway, Jesus’ light always overcomes the darkness of evil. All that has been presented here presents only the activity of evil in the local church in order to encourage everyone within the Body of Christ to stand strong in the Gospel to overcome darkness. We must not step backward, but forward just as the Crucifixion is not the end of hope, but simply the beginning.
Jesus is Lord.