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The Contagion of Sin

By R. J. Rushdoony
May 17, 2017

In Haggai 2:12–19, God drives home a very telling point to the prophet. If we place an unclean thing together with a clean one, the cleanness of the latter will not rub off onto the former. If I rub my dirty and ink-stained hands on a clean towel, the cleanness of the towel will not rub off onto my hands: rather it is dirt that is transferred, and the towel becomes dirty.

By this means the Lord made clear to Haggai and Judah that sin is contagious, but righteousness is not. We are not Christians simply because we belong to a good church, a good family, or a fine community. Moreover, a good profession of faith does not make us holy or godly.

Sin and injustice are all around us, and they readily rub off on us if we are not careful. To stand against this requires faith: it means that, being regenerate, we are governed by the power of God, not by the pressures of the group. We go against the current rather than with it, because the currents of our time are replete with injustice and ungodliness. We do not allow our speech to be governed by tale-bearing and nonsense but by grace and consideration.

In our day, we have exalted the feelings of the group to the place of God. “Group dynamics” has replaced morality, and all too many people respond to peer pressure rather than the law-word of God. For such people, the law is what people think and not what God says. Some churches try to capitalize on “group dynamics” by using the music, fads, and currents of the world as a means of attracting youth. They forget that faith involves a break with this fallen world, not a merger with it. Faith comes by the power of God, not by merging with the spirit of the age.

(From a Word in Season, Vol. 7)


Topics: Biblical Law, Church, The, Theology

R. J. Rushdoony

Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965.  His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.”  He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.

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