…there is more danger that the bad will damage the good than hope that the good will benefit the bad.[Matthew Henry]
We like to give apples to the deer that come into our yard. I buy bushels of them that are on the brink of spoiling. In each box we will find one or two rotten apples and you can see how that spoilage will be spreading to the rest.
Now, it seems to me that we are being told in our churches that we need to be mixing it up with rotten apples in order to make them healthy. “Forgive the bad apple. Be reconciled to the rot. Your goodness and health will wear off on the bad and they will be healed.” That kind of thing.
But we do not see this in Scripture. In fact, what we do see is this-
2Co 6:17-18 Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, (18) and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
In agreement with the Apostle Paul, Matthew Henry summarized the truth in the quote above. Associating in a “yoked” way with the wicked is much more likely to damage the good than for the good to benefit the bad. And this truth is not just limited to marriage (as this Scripture is typically solely applied today). Paul actually had the pagan trade guilds and their associated idolatry in mind when he wrote this. The Corinthians were trying to have their cake and eat it too by continuing to be “members in good standing” with the guilds (a kind of trade union), even though to do so required participating in Babylon and its idolatries.
The reason so many professing Christians today are “restricted in their affections” to Christ’s true people (as the Corinthians were toward Paul) is because they have not “come out from among” this evil present world which is Babylon, the kingdom of the devil. To do so would mean experiencing the sufferings and losses that Paul and other real believers experienced. They balked. They were in danger of “receiving the grace of God in vain” (see 2 Cor 6:1).
Christ calls His people without exception to come out of Babylon. To reject participation in and acceptance of the religious, economic, and political system whose theology is written by the prince of darkness himself. We are not instructed to be a healthy apple whose mission is to be in the same bushel box with the rotten ones. No. We are to come out from among them, and then and only then will the Lord be a Father to us.
And that is the reason why so many genuine Christians today, who are following Christ, who have separated from the idolatry that parades even as Christianity, are experiencing suffering in their daily lives. But then we also experience something else – salvation. Knowing the Lord and being known by Him.