Sometimes when believers are engaging in ungodly activities or relationships they’ll disguise their compromise as evangelism:
- “Jesus hung out with tax collectors and sinners!” Please see this post: Jesus was a physician, not a close friend.
- “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 cloak for vice.” (Gal 5:13, 1 Pet 2:16).
What’s the danger of disguising compromise as evangelism?
A previous post discussed the “contagiousness” of unholiness. 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:
- Budziszewski said, “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.”
- Thomas Brooks said, “Let your closest companions be those who have made Christ their closest companion.”
This isn’t to say believers don’t have relationships with unbelievers
As believers, we need to 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:
Galatians 6:1 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).
With evangelism there’s a need for intentionality.
James 1:27 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.
True religion reaches out to the world, but without letting the world rub off on us.
C.H. 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!”
What’s the solution?
We can learn from Jesus’ example. He sought to see spiritual healing take place, but He didn’t engage in compromising activities or relationships in the process.
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.
How have you handled your relationships with unbelievers? Can you share about a time you found yourself developing a close relationship with an unbeliever? Were you able to share the Gospel with that person?