“I spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, following their own devices; a people who provoke me to my face continually, sacrificing in gardens and making offerings on bricks; who sit in tombs, and spend the night in secret places; who eat pig’s flesh, and broth of tainted meat is in their vessels; who say, ‘Keep to yourself, do not come near me, for I am too holy for you.’ These are a smoke in my nostrils, a fire that burns all the day.” (Isaiah 65:2-5)
These days it seems that our culture has embraced sin and sinful lifestyles as not only legal and normal but blessed by God. We believers should be very careful about endorsing or excusing the sinful practices and teachings of our wicked society. Back in Isaiah’s day, the people of God faced judgment because of this. Although they claimed to be the Lord’s chosen ones, most had deserted Him to worship false gods and indulge in idolatrous practices, secret rituals conducted while sitting in tombs as well as eating pig’s flesh. These practices indicated a deliberate and shameless disregard of God’s law.
Both of these elements are present in the gospel reading from Luke 8:26-39 concerning the demon-possessed man who lived among the tombs. The legion of demons who possessed Him went into a herd of pigs when Jesus cast them out. Pigs and dead bodies are both elements of appalling uncleanness, the total opposite of holiness. Uncleanness such as this is a result of sin as well as its punishment. Those who live in sin become as unclean and enslaved as that demon-possessed man. Sinners can do nothing but sin even though they think it is their free choice, their legal right. And God’s Word clearly tells us that those who are unclean are excluded from heaven, from dwelling with God. This was the reason why God punished Judah with the loss of their nation and exile in a land of unclean people and practices, Babylon.
Isaiah tells us that the coming Kingdom of God excludes idolaters but is open to those who have faith. Only the faithful will enjoy the peace of God’s kingdom which is the new creation, uncorrupted and pure like the Garden of Eden once was. Therefore we believers today must avoid embracing or applauding unclean practices lest we dishonor God and fall into judgment ourselves. Jesus enables us to avoid sin despite the pressures of the world, the flesh and the devil. Only faith in Him, not the acceptance of sin as the norm, can free anyone from the misery of the bondage to sin and Satan.