Ezekiel 21.3-4 records, this is what the Lord says: I am against you. I will draw My sword from its sheath and cut off from you both the righteous and the wicked. Because I am going to cut off the righteous and the wicked, My sword will be unsheathed against everyone from south to north.
The sin of Israel was too much, too consistent, too long for God to overlook any longer. Though there were a few who obeyed God, the culture itself was rotten to the core. Judgement, punishment and disaster were the result of Israel’s persistent disobedience to God. Yet even in this promise to slay the righteous and the wicked, God also promised to save a few.
Jeremiah was saved. The eunuch who helped him out of the well when his detractors tried to kill him, was saved. The scribe who recorded Jeremiah’s words was also promised his life. God spared some but He allowed many to be killed, many who were righteous. Why was this so? Surely God does not punish the righteous with unrighteous does He? Sometimes, the answer is a resounding, ‘yes.’
Perhaps the righteousness of the righteous was their own obedience to God but they did little to nothing to turn their culture from disobedience to God toward obedience to God. Like today, so many Christians think they are good people, obeying the moral commands of God, which is indeed good, but not doing the work of God which is the seeking and saving of the lost and the teaching of all people obedience to all the commands of Jesus.
God calls His people salt and light, leaven in the dough. The church is not to be isolated nor castrated, rather it is to be actively engaged in society, causing change that reflects the character and nature of God and obedience to His Word. Why in the past was abortion wrong? Homosexual behavior shameful? Divorce despised? These things, and many others like them, are described as evil in the Word of God which the majority of people understood and sought to obey.
The American culture through the 1950’s knew the commands of God because the people of God identified with God; clearly, consistently and courageously. Now the Christians in the marketplace, in the government and in the university mainly cower, work underground, keep to themselves or with a few others, resulting in a culture run rampant with sin and evil from God’s perspective.
If the world is to be a more godly place it will be because Christians brought more people into obedience to God.