NIV 3 John 1:5 Dear friend, you are faithful in what you are doing for the brothers and sisters, even though they are strangers to you. 6 They have told the church about your love. Please send them on their way in a manner that honors God. 7 It was for the sake of the Name that they went out, receiving no help from the pagans. 8 We ought therefore to show hospitality to such people so that we may work together for the truth.
I certainly have wondered how the Kingdom of God can be populated by such a variety of people, even in my own church. I’ve had the good fortune to be a part of several doctrinally different denominations over the years but they each shared one life-changing reality: committing your heart and mind to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus trumps everything else. Our differences can make us seem like strangers to each other but we do have a powerful common bond.
“Showing hospitality to others—particularly strangers—requires a level of trust and acceptance that is not necessarily required of us in our everyday lives. It forces us to rely on a common bond in Jesus Christ, rather than a particular blood relationship or shared experience. It forces us out of our comfort zones and into a territory where we must place our trust in God.” Chuck Swindoll
Doctrine should certainly become a cherished part of our personal faith but not necessarily our requirement for anyone else. We are both bonded and constrained by our commitment to honor God and build our relationships on the uncommon power of the love of Jesus to unite even a variety of faithful doctrinal strangers.
1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness— 2 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time, 3 and which now at his appointed season he has brought to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God our Savior,…15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. [NIV]
The life in which Jesus has chosen to live again for the world to see is ours! “The hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time” is critical to our life today because “to the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure.” The conscious need of those who love Jesus to practice purity in their daily life is the hope of a transformed world view!
We live in a world where we are bombarded on almost every front by impurity and yet the Apostle calls us “to be pure.” Life in Christ as William Barclay says, is “the offer of God’s power for our frustration, of God’s serenity for our dispeace, of God’s truth for our guessing, of God’s goodness for our moral failure, of God’s joy for our sorrow…we can do nothing except receive.”
“Now at his appointed season he [God] has brought to light” the reality of our need for purity. Mark 7:15 says “It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.[NLT]” Isolation isn’t the answer to fighting the impurity of the world around us; choosing to live in Christ and practice purity in it is! We have Jesus, we have the wisdom of the Scripture, we have the promises of God, and most practical of all we have the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help us practice purity. Practice makes perfect.