The Snare of Worldly Conformity
1 Corinthians 5:9-13
I wrote to you in an letter not to company with fornicators:…

There is something ominous in the good terms on which Christians are now able to live with their worldly neighbours, when they are not only tolerated in worldly circles, but can make bosom companions of, and even be united in marriage to, those who, knowing nothing of spiritual life, and being habitually and ostentatiously regardless of unseen realities, are still of the world, in the truest and strongest sense of these words. The cause of these amicable relations is not that the world has changed its character essentially; for that it will never do until it ceases to be the world, by being born of God. And must it not be, therefore, that in the Christians who live with it on such intimate terms, there is little or nothing of the spirit of Christ? I would utter no sweeping assertion. But there is in this new bearing of the world to the Church enough to awaken the gravest inquiry in all who are really disciples of Christ, and jealous for the honour of their Lord. Nor is it evident that such inquiry honestly conducted would not lead to the conclusion, that while Christian principles have somewhat influenced the world, the spirit of the world has far more powerfully influenced the Church; and that we have secured the world's favour, by compromising our Christian character in compliance with the world's demands. Good John Bunyan, were he now to visit Vanity Fair, would find it very different from what it was when he conducted his pilgrims through it, and described the cruel treatment they received. He would find its hostility to the pilgrims wonderfully abated, but he would also find the spirit of the pilgrims wonderfully changed; and that the truce between the two has been procured, not by the concessions of Vanity Fair only, but by the concessions of the pilgrims as well. He would find that while the inhabitants of Vanity Fair have little objection to going to church as the best place for displaying their vanities, many of the pilgrims have become much less like travellers through the town, than residents in it; that some of them do a very flourishing trade there, and can scarcely be distinguished from other traders except from their occasional use of a religious phraseology, not at all from the principles on which their trade is conducted; that they patronise their places of amusement, scarcely avoiding even the most disreputable, and appear there in the attire common to those who frequent them; that they build their villas and mansions there, and enjoy the good things of the place, and altogether seem more likely to spend their days in Vanity Fair, than to induce the inhabitants of Vanity Fair to accompany them in their journey to the celestial city. And though he might find it difficult to say how far the pilgrims ought or ought not to avail themselves of the altered feeling, and take their share of the good things which the place supplies, I fear he would not think the present an unqualified improvement on the time which he so graphically described.

(W. Landels, D. D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:

WEB: I wrote to you in my letter to have no company with sexual sinners;

The Limits of Fellowship
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