After the Jews returned to the Promised Land following their exile in Babylon they had to be taught an important lesson: holiness is not contagious, but unholiness is.
Table of contents
- Holiness Is not Contagious
- Unholiness Is Contagious
- The Principle Applies to Relationships
- Don’t Disguise Compromise as Evangelism
- What Should Christians Do?
- A Physician Desires to See Healing Take Place
- A Physician Who Seeks the Sick
The Jews who returned believed two lies:
- Doing holy things like rebuilding the temple or offering sacrifices would make them holy.
- Being in the Holy Land made them holy.
They thought this would make them holy without actually being holy. God corrected them by asking two questions through Haggai the prophet. The first question:
“If one carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and with the edge he touches bread or stew, wine or oil, or any food, will it become holy?”Haggai 2:12a
Holiness Is not Contagious
Haggai asked, what happens when something holy touches something unholy? Does the unholy object become holy? The priests correctly answered, “No” (Haggai 2:12b). Holiness doesn’t rub off on unholy things. Just as:
- Healthy people can’t walk through a hospital and touch sick people and make them healthy.
- Non-spoiled food can’t come into contact with spoiled food and make it non-spoiled.
The second question:
“If one who is unclean because of a dead body touches any of these, will it be unclean?”Haggai 2:13a
This question presents the opposite situation of the first. What happens when something unholy touches something holy? Does the holy object become unholy? The priests correctly answered, “Yes” (Haggai 2:13b).
Watch this sermon to I delivered as a guest speaker to learn the importance of holiness…
Unholiness Is Contagious
If something unholy comes into contact with something holy, can it make the holy object unholy? The priests correctly answered, “Yes” (Haggai 2:12b). Unholiness does rub off on holy things. Just as:
- Sick people can spread sickness to healthy people.
- Spoiled food can spread mold or bacteria to non-spoiled food.
The first question reveals holiness can’t be transferred, but the second question reveals unholiness can be transferred.
Even though people understand this physically, there seems to be a tougher time understanding it spiritually. People will say they’re going to take something from the world and sanctify, redeem, or make it holy, but if it’s unholy in the world, it’s unholy in your life. We can’t bring unholy things from the world into our homes or churches and make them holy or sanctified, but they can make us unholy and affect our sanctification:
“Holiness begins in our minds and works out in our actions. That being true, what we allow to enter our minds is critically important. The television programs we watch, the movies we attend, the books and magazines we read, the music we listen to, and the conversations we have all affect our minds. We need to evaluate the effects of these using Philippians 4:8 as a standard. Are the thoughts stimulated by these true? Are they pure? Lovely? Admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy?”Jerry Bridges
The Principle Applies to Relationships
The Old and New Testaments discuss the negative effects people can have on others:
Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared.Proverbs 22:24-25
The angry person learns to control himself by spending time with a patient person. Instead, the patient person learns to become angry.
The companion of fools will be destroyed.Proverbs 13:20b
The companion of fools doesn’t save fools through their relationship.
Go from the presence of a foolish man.Proverbs 14:7a
You don’t spend time with fools so you can teach them knowledge and wisdom.
Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”1 Corinthians 15:33
Good company doesn’t fix bad habits. Instead, we can be deceived into believing associating with the wrong people won’t hurt us. We can believe their poor behavior isn’t “contagious.”
Don’t Disguise Compromise as Evangelism
Sometimes when believers engage in ungodly activities or relationships with unbelievers, they’ll say:
- “Jesus hung out with tax collectors and sinners!”
- “I am going to this place because I want to share the Gospel with people.” Is that true, or is it feeding the flesh?
- “I’m close friends with these people because I want to see them become Christians.” Is that true, or is it because the Old Man loves the relationship?
- “I engage in this activity, because I want to be able to witness to those doing it with me.” Is that true, or is it a way to give in to temptation?
We need to make sure we’re not “using our liberty to indulge the flesh” or “as a cover-up for evil.” (Galatians 5:13 and 1 Peter 2:16).
The Danger for Believers in Close Relationships with Unbelievers
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.2 Corinthians 6:14
People connect regarding their commonalities. When Christians and non-Christians are unequally yoked, what do they have in common and what do they not have in common?
- They don’t have the Holy Spirit, the New Man, or a love for Christ in common.
- They do have the flesh, and the Old Man in common.
Believers and unbelievers are not going to connect spiritually. They’re going to connect along the basest level: the flesh.
Consider these quotes:
God wants you to rub off on non-Christians friends, but Satan wants them to rub off on you. So remember: you can have friends outside the faith, but for your deepest comrades you should look to your brothers and sisters in Christ. Hang out with the holy. Get in with the godly. Spend time with the saved. Know who your real family is – the one where the Father is God.J. Budziszewski
Let your closest companions be those who have made Christ their closest companion.Thomas Brooks
This Isn’t to Say Believers Don’t Have Relationships with Unbelievers
As believers, we must have unbelievers in our lives or evangelism will never take place. The spiritually healthy should seek out the spiritually sick, whether unbelievers or backslidden believers:
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass (spiritually sick), you who are spiritual (spiritually healthy) restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted (lest you become sick too).Galatians 6:1
With evangelism there’s a need for intentionality:
Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.James 1:27
True religion reaches out to the world, but without letting the world rub off on us.
Lord, grant that whenever I am found in the company of sinners, it may be with the design of healing them, and may I never become myself infected with their disease!C.H. Spurgeon
What Should Christians Do?
Christians are commanded to be “holy people” (1 Peter 2:5, 9). How are they supposed to engage unholy (or unbelieving) people without “catching” unholiness?
Preach the Gospel
We should have unbelievers in our lives, but instead of being close friends we direct them to the Great Physician. The relationship should be deliberate. You look for an opportunity to share the Gospel. We point people to Jesus, because He can take away their unholiness and replace it with holiness.
By God’s grace, one of the greatest blessings in my life took place in my early twenties. I had some Christian friends that were deliberate in their relationship with me. Their greatest desire was sharing the Gospel and directing me to Jesus. I hope we can be as intentional with others as these believers were with me.
Believers don’t have the power to change unbelievers, but the Gospel can. When people embrace Christ, the Holy Spirit can accomplish the saving and sanctifying work that’s necessary.
Follow Jesus’ Example
Jesus sought to see spiritual healing take place, but He didn’t engage in compromising activities or relationships in the process.
Was Jesus close friends with sinners and tax collectors? We know He associated with them, but Scripture reveals He wanted to be their Physician. After Jesus called Levi (Matthew) to follow Him:
Then Levi gave Him a great feast in his own house. And there were a great number of tax collectors and others who sat down with them. And their scribes and the Pharisees complained against His disciples, saying, “Why do You eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”Luke 5:29-32
Jesus answered and said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Jesus knew people were desperately sick spiritually, and in need of spiritual healing. He is a Physician for sinners:
- Earthly physicians heal physical sickness, but Jesus heals spiritual sickness.
- Earthly physicians work on the body, but Jesus works on the soul.
Before Jesus physically healed the paralytic, He first healed him spiritually, or brought holiness into his life:
Man, your sins are forgiven you.Luke 5:20
Despite how terrible the man looked physically, He looked even worse spiritually. Jesus dealt with the man’s greatest need.
A Physician Desires to See Healing Take Place
Thinking about the relationship between physicians and patients reveals why Jesus’ analogy is perfect. A physician doesn’t walk in to a patient’s room, give the patient a hug, or chitchat for a few hours. Instead:
- A physician investigates. He comes in with a clipboard, asks questions, takes notes, finds out what’s wrong, and diagnoses the problem.
- A physician will get close to his patients, but he makes every effort to ensure he isn’t infected by them. He puts on gloves and possibly a mask.
- A physician has a very specific purpose and desire: to help. He wants to see healing take place.
Likewise, patients don’t say, “I’m going to call my physician and see if he wants to catch a football game.” Instead, the sick say, “I need to see a physician. I want him to tell me what’s wrong and provide me with a prescription.”
What is the prescription for sinners? Jesus mentioned that in His response to the religious leaders: “I have come to call sinners to repentance.” Repentance is becoming an ugly word in the church, but in Scripture it’s the cure for sinners.
A Physician Who Seeks the Sick
Jesus came into the world to save sinners.1 Timothy 1:15
This was Jesus’ purpose. The religious leaders criticized Him for being with tax collectors and sinners, but considering who He was and what He wanted to do, any other behavior wouldn’t have made sense:
- Pediatricians help children.
- Veterinarians help animals.
- Physicians help sick people.
If Jesus would’ve stayed away from sinners like the religious leaders wanted, He would’ve looked like a pediatrician staying away from children or a veterinarian staying away from animals.
The religious leaders couldn’t be more different than Jesus. They tried to stay as far away from sinners as possible. The sad irony is if they were as righteous – or spiritually healthy – as they thought they were, they should’ve been the most concerned with the sick. They’re the ones who should’ve been with sinners and tax collectors, trying to help them. Imagine doctors that avoid sick people because they think they’re too healthy for them.
One reason Jesus might have chosen Matthew (Levi) is he was a tax collector. This made Jesus look sensitive to sinners. When people saw Jesus with him, they knew He wouldn’t turn them away.
Jesus was going to die for sinners, and He manifested His love for them by seeking them out. But He sought them out not to be close friends with them. Instead, He desired to be their Physician and see them spiritually healed.
Discussion Questions to Answer in the Comments Section
- Do you see other fitting examples from Jesus or the disciples? What application does this have for us?
- Have you ever found yourself learning “bad habits” when you became too close to someone?
- Have you shared the Gospel with someone and seen the Holy Spirit introduce holiness into that person’s life?
- How have you handled your relationships with unbelievers?
Holiness is contagious. This is why a believer can sanctify an unbelieving spouse. Just as a child learns most by modeling through activation of their mirror neurons. (Monkey see monkey do). Just yawn and watch other people then yawn. This is the power of mirror neurons! Adults do the same thing. Kids do that which is modeled to them. When an unbelieving spouse is around their believing spouse who has Jesus in them the unbeliever will be witnessing Jesus and this will most certainly have an effect on them. I have seen it time and time again as long as the believer is firmly anchored in Christ and has fruit of the spirit and 1 Corinthians 13 mature love. But at the same time one should absolutely be cautious being around unbelievers because it goes both ways. This does not mean we don’t associate with them though. If it wasn’t for believers spending time with me having a tremendous influence on me, I wonder how my conversion story would have differed. These people didn’t fear being contaminated by me and my influence. We are disciples by more of what we do than what we say. It’s our everyday influence and it does have an effect either good or bad.
Nice to hear from you. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate that you referenced your conversion testimony. The same is true for me. I came to Christ because believers invested in me when I was an unbeliever. I’m thankful they didn’t write me off or avoid me completely. God bless!
Great lesson! As far as holiness being transferable, I notice that there are significant translation differences across the English versions in Exodus 29:37, Leviticus 6:27 , and Ezekiel 44:19. For example, “shall be” holy (as a mandate), versus “shall become” holy (giving the idea of “contagion”). Sorry I haven’t dived into the Hebrew, but my guess is that there are *not* actually any cases of holiness being transferred.
That’s interesting. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I tend to agree with you that holiness is not transferable.
Regarding the Hebrew, the same word is used in all three verses: qāḏaš.
Hi Pastor Scott,
Thanks for the article. I appreciate your thoughts. Great application also. It is very relevant for every day and age.
I would just like to make one comment for you to consider, perhaps for nuance. There are (at least) three verses in the Old Testament that imply/state that holiness is transferable (Exodus 29:37, Leviticus 6:27, and Ezekiel 44:19). However, I am still thinking through the implications of these verses.
That is really fascinating. I hadn’t thought about before.
I copied the verses below for other people’s benefit:
• Exodus 29:37 Seven days you shall make atonement for the altar and consecrate it, and the altar shall be most holy. Whatever touches the altar shall become holy.
• Leviticus 6:27 Whatever touches its flesh shall be holy, and when any of its blood is splashed on a garment, you shall wash that on which it was splashed in a holy place.
• Ezekiel 44:19 And when they go out into the outer court to the people, they shall put off the garments in which they have been ministering and lay them in the holy chambers. And they shall put on other garments, lest they transmit holiness to the people with their garments.
These verses definitely discuss transmitting holiness. Very interesting.
How do you reconcile these verses with the verses in Haggai that seemed to indicate holiness is not transferable?
Hello again Pastor Scott. I’m posting here since I can’t reply directly to you.
I’ve found two more verses that are relevant to this discussion. Exodus 30:29 and Leviticus 6:18.
Here are my current thoughts to reconcile Haggai 2:10-14 with these other passages regarding the transfer of holiness (Well actually they are others’ thoughts which I am adopting):
1. In one of the notes in the NET Bible, they suggest that “this is probably not an appeal to the Torah (i.e., the Pentateuch) as such, but to a priestly ruling (known in postbiblical Judaism as a ‘pesaq din’).” I have not yet researched into the “pesaq din,” but the Hebrew does not have the definite article before “Law” or “Torah,” so (while not necessary) it is legitimate to translate verse 11: “ask the priests a judgement/decision.” Torah can refer to the entire Old Testament, the Pentateuch, or simply mean “teaching” or “instruction.” Here is the takeaway from this. The priests are not referring to any specific teaching in the Pentateuch, but making a judgement based on the general direction and teaching of Scripture.
2. Mark Boda in his Haggai/Zechariah commentary in the NIV Application Commentary (NIVAC) series writes “the concern here [in Haggai 2:10-14] is the ability of holiness to be transferred to the third level.” My partially formed thoughts are suggesting that holiness is transferable, meaning that when one comes into contact with something which is the first level of holiness (the altar/priestly robes/holy meat, etc) it becomes holy as well. However, it is holy in a secondary level, and cannot transfer holiness on to something else it contacts. Meaning the holy meat in Haggai 2 made the garment it was carried in holy, but because only the garment touched other food, that other food was not made holy.
What does this mean for Haggai 2:10-14? I think it means that God is telling his people they are not holy based on the construction of the temple or their presence in the Holy Land. The temple derived its holiness from being the dwelling place of the LORD and the people should remember that they must trust in the LORD, not the temple (Cf. Jeremiah 7:4). The temple did not make them holy. Fellowship with the LORD, being dedicated to his glory as his special people made them holy. As such, this is a strong warning against “covenant automatism” (the idea that if I am part of God’s people and go to church I will be saved). We are only Christ’s holy people when we put our faith and trust in him as our Lord and Saviour. Then we become the holy people of God described in 1 Peter 2.
On the flipside, uncleanliness/unholiness is much much more contagious. It’s defiling fingers get into everything and we must be strongly on guard against all that will corrupt and defile us as Christ’s bride, bought and paid for with his precious blood.
Furthermore, I think this can speak to one of the past conversations. We must be careful who we spend our time with, because we will be affected by ungodly character and being present in ungodly atmospheres. Also, since we are indirectly holy, we cannot make anyone we come into contact with holy. We simply can’t do that. But we can point them to Christ, who is able to purify even the worst of sinners, myself being the foremost in Paul’s words.
Sorry. I was rambling. I appreciate your interaction. This has been helpful for myself, since I am preparing to preach on Haggai 2:10-19 on July 4th, Lord willing.
Here are the two verses you mentioned:
• Exodus 30:29 You shall consecrate them, that they may be most holy. Whatever touches them will become holy.
• Leviticus 6:18 Every male among the children of Aaron may eat of it, as decreed forever throughout your generations, from the Lord’s food offerings. Whatever touches them shall become holy.”
You’re right, that these also seem to make the same point that holiness can be transferred.
I agree with your interpretation of Haggai 2:10-14. I think the point is the Jews could not be holy simply by being religious. Their sacrifices, offerings, and religious activity didn’t make them holy when they were so far from God. Their sin and unrighteousness made them unholy regardless of any righteous things they were doing.
Yes, unrighteousness and sinfulness is easily transferable. I don’t want to repeat back much of what I wrote in the post, but 1 Corinthians 15:33 as well as other verses warn us about association with sinful people because of the potential to be like them.
Will your message on Haggai 2 be recorded? If so, I’d love to hear it.
On the subject, can you tell me a little more about yourself? Do you have a website or blog? Which church do you attend and what is your service there look like?
I’ve appreciated the dialogue and sharpening. God bless!
I’ve been preparing a Study on the Holiness of God, and came across this article (it’s been super helpful!) Caleb’s comments, and your replies, were really interesting to me! I’m not sure what translation you’re using, and I’m by no means an expert scholar and translation genius, but the NKJ, in each instance, translates it as “ Whatever touches the altar must be holy,” and so on, paraphrasing, since the references aren’t all addressing the altar. Which means that the altar wouldn’t “shed” it’s holiness on whatever touched it, but that whatever touched it needed to itself be holy; otherwise, an unholy “contagion” would putrefy the altar (as it’s clearly shown in Haggai and as you fleshed it out in your article). Something amazing, to me at least, is, disregarding which translation might be “correct” in those other passages, that we do see a similar relationship between the Holy and unholy in 1 Cor. 7:14 when it comes to marriage. That deeper reality that we, as Christ’s Bride, have been made Holy in our relationship with Him, which always gives me chills. He indeed makes us Holy, because that authority has been given to Him, and I personally don’t think that the altar (to refer to a specific instance) was given this same type of “authority” (in the way that it could’ve been if it was God’s Will to give an “object” that ability).
Thanks again for the awesome article!!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’m blessed that the post and comments ministered to you.
If you tell me what verses your referring to, I can tell you which translation I used; typically, I use New King James or ESV. Or you could simply copy the verse and paste it in Google and the translation will probably come up.
You’re correct in what you wrote about the altar. Well said.
I’d love to see your study when you’re finished with it!
Under unholiness is contagious. Are you sure you got that all right? Look closely.
Good catch, thank you.
If you see any other mistakes, please let me know :).
Scott, I agree with most of what you write until the conclusion. Imagine if you found out one of your friends was only your friend because he wanted to change you, because he wanted to convert you to another religion. i have friends because i share some commonality with them which draws us together and makes us appreciate each other. Certainly i’m concerned about their spiritual health and pray for them and will talk about Jesus as opportunity is presented, but to say that the only reason i have them in my life is to change them – that makes me very uncomfortable. All of us need spiritual healing, whether believers or not. Is that our only or highest purpose in our friendships? Can i not be a close friend and a ‘physician’? Can i even be an effective ‘physician’ if i am not a close friend? I find your title and conclusion very disturbing. In fact, I am not posting this on facebook because I would cringe if my nonbelieveing friends would see and read this. They might question whether I was really their friend! They might question the motives of any Christian who tried to befriend them. My 2 cents worth Scott. I suspect it was not your intent to have your words understood this way, but some will get this meaning.
Thanks for the comment, but I think you read some things into my post. For example, I didn’t say “the only reason I have [unbelievers] in my life is to change them.” I simply said if we have unbelievers in our lives, it should be with the desire to see their spiritual sickness healed, or in other words, see them saved.
I’ll try to answer your questions in order…
“Is that our only or highest purpose in our friendships?”
No it’s not our only purpose, but yes it is our highest purpose. Spurgeon said, “Lord, grant that whenever I am found in the company of sinners, it may be with the design of healing them, and may I never become myself infected with their disease!”
Can “I not be a close friend and a ‘physician’?
If you check out Part I of this post (which I suspect maybe you didn’t based on this question), you’ll see me discuss this. Here’s part of what I wrote…
The Bible is very clear about the dangers of having close relationships with the wrong people:
Proverbs 13:20 The companion of fools will be destroyed.
Proverbs 14:7 Go from the presence of a foolish man.
1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.
So yes you can – and should – be friends with unbelievers, but not “close” friends.
Can I even be an effective ‘physician’ if I am not a close friend?
I’m surprised you asked this; of course you can be an effective ‘physician’ w/o being a close friend! Look at Jesus’ example! He was “a friend of sinners”, but I wouldn’t say He was a “close friend” of sinners.
Thanks again for your comment Tammy; hope you and David are doing well.
P.S. Carl forwarded me the e-mail you sent out on September 19th titled, “Need for prayer” regarding the opposition you’ve been facing and I wanted you to know I prayed for you and your ministry.
Thanks for your reply Scott.
I recognize you didn’t say “only” but it seemed implied in your statement. So I guess I read into it.
Oh my, that quote from Charles Spurgeon makes me shudder. I’m so glad Jesus never said that. I know Spurgeon means he prays that he won’t succumb to temptations, but his imagery would offend an unbeliever. It seems arrogant.
I know the verses you listed and quite agree with them, but I don’t see my non believing friends as either evil or foolish, no more so than my Christian friends. (But you are right -I did not go back to part 1. Somehow I thought it was all together on the one page. )
Few people share their areas of neediness with someone who is not a close friend. Hence my question “how can I be a physician”. Certainly God can and does use the words and actions of strangers and acquaintances to convict and cause spiritual growth. But a lot of healing and opportunities come through relationship, being with people.
Jesus certainly was a close friend of sinners -he poured 3 years of his life into 12 men in particular and one of them betrayed him while another denied him and the others simply disappeared when he was arrested. Few of them really believed or understood until He was raised from the dead and appeared to them in person. None of them had much courage or spiritual fortitude until Pentecost.
So I still think refusing to have close friendships with unbelievers is cutting us off from possible blessings to both us and them. I guess we’re looking at this from very different perspectives.
Thank you for your prayers! That is very encouraging to us. We eagerly wait to see what He will do. May God continue to bless you and the Woodland church.
Thanks Tammy! I enjoyed the communication.
I think like you said we look at this from different perspectives…and that’s fine with me!
This is great! Mind if I reblog? Part one and two together are so clear and helpful in an area so many have trouble with (friendships, and of course once in the relationship, the activities that go along with it).
Of course Dawn! Please reblog away! Thanks!
So well put. I have long felt this, but have been unable to articulate this so well. When we hang around unbelievers or believers that could have a negative impact on us, we should take Jesus’ example and point them to Jesus.
Thanks for reading and commenting Cathy. I’m glad the post encouraged you!
My first thought was what about Jesus? Didn’t he hang out with the un-holy? But then as I really analyzed what I was thinking I realized that Jesus did not spend his time with people who had no desire to be transformed and made holy. These people wanted what Jesus was offering. He didn’t spend his time in unholy ways with people doing unholy things. He spent his time in holy ways with people who understood their own unholiness and wanted to follow Him. The self-righteous religious leaders of the day who did not recognize their own unholiness/Un-cleaness considered the people Jesus spent time with as “unclean” or “not holy” but they were basing those judgements on the wrong things. Jesus knew each man’s heart. He did not spend time with the unholy religious leaders, and instead spent time with people who wanted to become holy. In my modern day application I would apply it to my life by thinking about the difference of going out and joining a gay pride parade to show my love for gay people (unholy), vs. reaching out in love to a gay person and telling them the truth in love, giving them the hope of the gospel, and sharing about God’s forgiveness and showing them they have the option go and sin no more (holy). The gay pride parade example would start to rub off on me, change my thinking, pervert my views on Christianity and make me less like Jesus (un-holy) whereas the sharing the truth with a person is confirming my faith, and making me closer to Jesus as I emulate Him (Holy). Correct me in any area where I am off base please.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
It is an interesting situation that clearly requires some balance: the bible warns against the danger of associating with people who can negatively influence, but we know we should have relationships with unbelievers or else how would we share the Gospel? I wrote a post discussing this exact topic. I hope you’ll check it out: https://www.scottlapierre.org/physician-not-close-friend/
I’d like to respond more fully, but I feel like I’ll be simply repeating the info I put in that post.
No, I don’t think you’re off base at all. I think your conclusion is perfect!
I should clarify: Jesus’ ministry suggests that holiness is contagious and he demonstrated this by being with the unholy in unholy places. However, it does not suggest that we should participate in the patterns of life of the unholy.
I understand what you’re saying.
There’s a balance that needs to be struck regarding how far we go when it comes to being like Jesus. For example:
1 Peter 2:19 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
22 “Who committed no sin,
Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;
23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;
Peter gives a few ways we should be like Jesus: experience suffering like He did, don’t sin with our mouths when suffering, don’t take vengeance, etc.
So yes, we should be like Jesus. But do we think we can (or should try) to feed thousands with a few loaves? Heal everyone that comes near us? Walk on water? Raise people from the dead? Die on a cross?
There’s only one Son of God. Yes, He could “spread holiness” you might say, but we’re not Him. He could reach out and touch the leper (sinner), and not only not get leprosy in the process, but heal the leprosy (sin). We can’t do that. Trying would be foolish.
Instead, we spread the Gospel. We let the Lord do His work. But we don’t think we can do that work ourselves.
Thank you for your thoughts!
Hi Pastor Scott, came across this post while working on a presentation. Jesus’ ministry seems to demonstrate a contrary understanding to the one you have portrayed here: Jesus specifically acted in contrast to the holiness movements of 2nd Temple Judaism and intentionally put himself among the unclean of society. You should check out Holiness and Ecclesiology in the New Testament by Brower & Johnson or Holiness in the Gospels by Kent Brower http://www.amazon.com/Holiness-Ecclesiology-Testament-Kent-Brower/dp/0802845606
You’re absolutely right, Keith! That’s exactly what Jesus did.
The question is, should we do that? Many verses in Scripture encourage us to limit our exposure and closeness to sinful people. I didn’t say we don’t share the Gospel, but we consider how close we are. Please see my previous post regarding how much of Jesus’ life is descriptive versus prescriptive for us.
Thanks for your thoughts!
I am little confused on this:
Haggai 2:13 Haggai said, “If one who is unclean because of a dead body touches any of these, will it be unclean?”
Good question. Let me know if this is what you’re asking…
Haggai basically asked, “If someone becomes unclean by touching a dead body and then touches food, does it make the food unclean as well?” and the answer is, “Yes.”
“Clean” and “unclean” in the Old Testament related to ceremony or being able to take part in the religious life of the nation. There were various ways to become unclean, and therefore unable to participate until you were clean; one of those ways was through touching a dead body.
Please let me know if this answers your question and/or if you’re wondering anything else Kandie!
I didn’t know that one became unclean by touching a dead body. Seems like somewhere I was reading about that, that a person had to wait until sundown or the next day to be clean again. Might of read it wrong.
Right, I should’ve put the locations in Scripture where that’s discussed. Here you go Kandie:
Leviticus 5:2 ‘Or if a person touches any unclean thing, whether it is the carcass of an unclean beast, or the carcass of unclean livestock, or the carcass of unclean creeping things, and he is unaware of it, he also shall be unclean and guilty.
Numbers 19:11 ‘He who touches the dead body of anyone shall be unclean seven days. 12 He shall purify himself with the water on the third day and on the seventh day; then he will be clean. But if he does not purify himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not be clean.