By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen
First Baptist Church
The Bible is the infallible Word of God, and it often tells us that Christians are called to live holy lives. It tells us this in many ways. One of them is by direct command, such as we find in 1 Peter 1:15 &16, which says, “But as he which called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” This is referring to the fact that God has called us to salvation by the Gospel message. This message is a call to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. And since God who calls us is holy, he expects Christians to also be holy.
The King James Version, quoted above, was published in 1611, and it used the word “conversation” in a way different from what it now means to us Americans. To us, it means having a conversation with someone. But back then, in this context, it meant one’s manner of life. The New King james Version is in modern English, and makes Peter’s point easier to understand. Here is how the New KJV puts verse 15: “But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.” Therefore Peter’s point was that God has called Christians to live in such a way that their whole lives will please God.
In the Bible we find many more statements concerning the Christian’s duty to live a holy life. An example of such a statement is found in the 33rd verse of the 15th chapter of Paul’s letter to the Christians in Corinth. Here is what it says in the King James Version: “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” Here is what it says in the New King James Version: “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits.” Here is how the English Standard Version (ESV) puts it: “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’ ” This verse is the basis for the title of this post: “Christians Must Protect Themselves From Bad Influences. Since Christians are called to live holy lives, they must take steps to protect themselves from influences that will interfere with their calling to be holy in all their conduct. This calling is not easy to live up to. We Christians are still able to stray from the Lord, and we live in a sinful world which would, if it had its way, draw us away from the path of holy living. So we need to be reminded of what 1 Corinthians 15;33 says: “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’ ” This means we need to choose our friends with care. We need to be very selective about what we watch on TV, which has become a major source of moral filth. We need to be on guard so we don’t let the bad morals of neighbors, workmates, relatives, and even other Christians, corrupt us. We need to be gracious with others as we protect ourselves from bad influences, but it must be done if we are going to live up to our divine calling as Christians.