The man who acts presumptuously and insolently by not listening to the priest who stands there to serve the Lord your God, nor to the judge, that man shall die; so you shall remove the evil from Israel. Then all the people will hear and be afraid, and will not act presumptuously again. – Deuteronomy 17:12-13
Consider a person who unconsciously allows worldly prosperity to sap their good Christian character from integrity and honesty. Because of this person’s love for money they are unconscious that the great current of their Christian life is being corrupted by the desire for worldly riches and that there is only a trickle of Christ’s Spirit coming to them. Now is this person any less guilty because they do not know? Are they not the more so, because they would have known if they had given their actions some thought and paid more attention to God’s honour and Christ’s good name.
Believers are not to get swept up in the hype and boastful pride of life. We, as believers, must direct our focus and energy on our spiritual growth. The believer will seek to build upon their privileged position in Christ. This is accomplished through the consistent intake and application of sound doctrine. The believer who fails to prioritize their life in accordance with the clear commands of Scripture and are captivated by “the things in the world” set themselves up for spiritual ruin. The rational believer recognizes that “the things of world”, although very attractive, are also very superficial and will not satisfy. As believers we must see the importance of doctrine and its efficacy. Our place is unique. We have been delivered from “the domain of darkness” and transferred into the kingdom of Christ through faith in Christ. Despite our continued physical residence in the world, we are now viewed as citizens of His kingdom. We must not think and behave as we did when we lived in the realm of darkness.
And although I know that our brotherhood there, assuredly fortified by your foresight, and besides sufficiently cautious by their own vigilance, cannot be taken nor deceived by the poisons of heretics, and that the teachings and precepts of God prevail with them only in proportion as the fear of God is in them; yet, even although needlessly, either my solicitude or my love persuaded me to write these things to you, that no commerce should be entered into with such; that no banquets nor conferences be entertained with the wicked; but that we should be as much separated from them, as they are deserters from the Church; because it is written, Matthew 18:17 And the blessed apostle not only warns, but also commands us to withdraw from such.We command you,he says,in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother that walks disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.There can be no fellowship between faith and faithlessness. He who is not with Christ, who is an adversary of Christ, who is hostile to His unity and peace, cannot be associated with us. If they come with prayers and atonements, let them be heard; if they heap together curses and threats, let them be rejected. I bid you, dearest brother, ever heartily farewell.
To Cornelius, Concerning Fortunatus and Felicissimus, or Against the Heretics. Argument.— Cyprian Chiefly Warns Cornelius in This Letter Not to Hear the Calumnies of Felicissimus and Fortunatus Against Him, and Not to Be Frightened by Their Threats, But to Be of a Brave Spirit, as Becomes God’s Priests in Opposition to Heretics; Namely, Those Who, After the Custom Prevailing Among Heretics, Began Their Heresy and Schisms with the Contempt of One Bishop in the Church.