Being called by God to be set apart as a faithful city carries with it a great deal of responsibility and expectation. We are supposed to be like a city set on a hill (Matthew 5:14). How blessed we are when we live up to the Lord’s expectations.
The people of Jerusalem at one time were considered to be God’s faithful city, according to Isaiah 1:21, but they became lax in their devotion to God and turned into the opposite of what they were called to be. The Lord pointed out the following to them through Isaiah:
21 How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.
22 Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water:
23 Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them. Isaiah 1
When the Lord calls people, he desires that they be “full of judgment,” discerning good from evil in order to carry out the good based on the righteousness “lodged in” them. But Jerusalem thought it would be more fun to be a harlot, cheating on God with other gods and the false doctrines that came with them. It opened the door to more sin, making them spiritually unproductive, their works worthless, as their leaders sought to take advantage of people for personal gain instead of helping the less fortunate.
So it is when the church, individual or corporate, plays the harlot with the world. Spiritual harlotry can lead to physical harlotry in its various forms of fornication. Such harlotry can lead to the church attracting murderers. Granted, most of the unfaithful will not literally take a person’s life. They simply become murderers in the sense that they try to kill a person’s spirit (see Matthew 5:22) to discourage them from progressing on God’s path.
Then their spiritual and material blessings which God supplied to them so they could store up treasures in heaven, become like worthless dross and tasteless watered down wine where the wine, symbolic of God’s word, Christ’s blood, and the Holy Spirit, becomes despised. Thus, the church (individual or corporate) becomes obsessed with serving mammon, not God, resulting in apathy toward those in need.
Nevertheless, just as the Lord told Isaiah he would restore Zion to righteousness (Isaiah 1:25-27), he will do the same for churches that need it since he will present to himself a church without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:27). Amen.