Personal and Corporate Cleansing
Why Personal AND Corporate? People ask this question from both sides. Some may say, “What does my personal life have to do with anything? The corporation is its own legal entity and stands on its own merits.” Others may say, “Why do we have to look into corporate history? I own (manage) the organization now, and I know my motives are pure.”
First let’s answer the question about why it’s important to look at personal purity. There are two specific reasons The first has to do with a scripture passage from Ephesians 4. Most of us are very familiar with verses 26-27, which say, “’In your anger do not sin:’ Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” These two verses help answer our question because they warn us that remaining in anger creates a platform for Satan to interfere in our lives. The surrounding verses, however, greatly expand the meaning and the importance of the effects of personal purity on our lives and on our effectiveness.
“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbor, for we are all members of one body. “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need. Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:22-32)
Indeed, the last three chapters of Ephesians is a treatise on right living and why it is important to the divine purpose of unity: “to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.” (Ephesians 1:10b) The effectiveness of our mission, our calling is absolutely dependent on our living pure and holy lives. It is clear that destructive behaviors give opportunity for Satan to obstruct this divine work. The following sections will elaborate on this point, but the book of Ephesians teaches us that right living is essential for achieving God’s purposes.
There is a second important reason for personal purity that has to do with the heavy responsibility and accountability leadership carries. “To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” (1Peter 5:1-3) God was especially hard on the leaders of the Old Testament who put their own needs first, and we all know what type of judgments Jesus pronounced on the New Testament leaders whose thoughts and actions were evil.
There is also a “world-wise” benefit to attending to personal purity. It has to do with the concept of “the corporate veil.” The individual board member or officer is generally protected from attacks on the corporation as long as the individual behaved in a way that any prudent person in a similar position and circumstance would behave. It is vital that our motives and actions with regard to the corporation are free from any desire for personal gain, hence the importance of personal purity.
Now we address the question about why it’s important to look at corporate purity. It is easy to read and interpret Scripture from an individualist point of view, but God clearly has a much broader purpose. He chose to favor a people-group, the Israelites. Later, He chose to include the rest of the world – the Gentiles. He sent us into the world to ”make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19, emphasis is ours). The entire book of Revelation describes the New Jerusalem and the process of bringing in all the tribes and nations and cultures. The corporate body is important to God and He judges and holds it accountable as He does with individuals.
The second reason to look at corporate purity is one which we present from a slightly different understanding of the scriptures that say the sins of the fathers are visited upon the sons. “I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” (Genesis 20:5-6) This Old Testament, Old Covenant passage teaches some important truths about Past and Present Cleansing in a Transformation Organization.
Past and Present Cleansing
There is a great deal of teaching out there about generational sins or inherited sin and how it affects us in the present. We believe that Christ's death on the cross paid the price for all people, for all time, for all sin.
Hebrews 10:11-14 "Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He" [Christ], "having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified." (NASB) Everyone born since the resurrection of Christ is free from the sins of the preceding generations.
Further, we are free from the curses accompanying those sins.
Galatians 3:13 "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us - in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." (NASB) We are not a generation living under curses of previous generations' sins, but we are living under all the blessings of the New Covenant.
The work of Christ is complete; it is perfect. We have nothing left to do to erase sin or curse. Hebrews 10 goes on to say:
Hebrews 10:14-18 "For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us; for after saying, 'This is the covenant that I will make with them. After those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws upon their heart, and on their mind I will write them,' He then says, 'And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.' Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin." (NASB)
However, we also believe that the actions of the past have ongoing consequences that must be cleaned up. Jesus redeemed the world, but the world still needs to be reclaimed from the deplorable shape it had gotten into since the Fall. This is where Personal and Corporate cleansing come in.
People have had so much trouble understanding and accepting this concept of reclaiming the world that we began sharing this way of illustrating this truth. The date is 1975. For the last two years, the people of North and South Vietnam have been watching the war gradually die out. The other countries pulled out in 1973 and hostilities have slowly dwindled until now, a peace is finally declared. The destruction is unbelievable. 1.25 million Vietnamese soldiers killed on both sides and an estimated 4 million civilians. Viet Nam’s economy and lands are devastated and the nation is still recovering. Entire families and the fundamental fabric of its culture and identity were severely damaged.
The atrocities committed against each other have taken a terrible toll. Political rhetoric, declarations of war, trampling of human rights, all opened the door for evil to run rampant through the entire culture as untold thousands fled the communist North, leaving their families and their lands for what they thought would be the safety of the South. But trauma and war followed them, ruining their lives, their families, their land and their freedom.
The decisions of the politicians in both Viet Nam and the U.S. gave entry to evils that plague all of us to this very day. Viet Nam’s politicians opened the doors to the intervention of the U.S. who brought with it the most extensive bombing war in history. War invited in genocide, wholesale corruption, rape, destruction of natural resources and much more.
Flash forward to 2011, almost two whole generations later. The war is ended. Peace has returned to the land. But the ravages of war still remain. The annual per capita income in Viet Nam is $320. There are an estimated 800,000 tons of unexploded ordinance scattered throughout the country. It is projected that it will take 300 years and over $10 billion dollars to clean it up. How long is 300 years? About twelve generations. In the meantime, it takes 2000 lives per year – mostly young men, trying to support their families; but it also kills women and children every day. None of those victims were even living between 1957 and 1975. They were not in any way responsible or involved in the scattering of that ordinance throughout their land. Yet they are dying, losing their loved ones, unable to reclaim their farmland and make a living.
In the United States families are still devastated by the loss of over 54,000 young men and women. Mental and physical health problems abound stemming from PTSD, exposure to Agent Orange, tens of thousands of life-changing wounds. Some say our country has never recovered from the economic impact of those war years. All because of ancestral involvement in the war.
Are our sins and those of our ancestors forgiven? Absolutely. They died with Christ on the cross.
Are we cursed because of past sins? No. Christ cancelled the curses.
Is there a mess that still needs to be cleaned up in the physical, social, and cultural arenas? Yes, unfortunately.
That is the job of restoring what was destroyed. This is the job of Personal and Corporate Cleansing. We now see that Jesus’ words to commission believers to heal and deliver as well as preach takes on new meaning. He knew that even those who would come to eternal life through commitment of their lives to Jesus Christ would still need to be set free from the condition the world has been in since the Fall. He knew that the enemy would try to continue holding us in bondage by convincing us we remain in sin. To heal in our case is to release ourselves and others from the lie that Satan has a continuing hold on us. Through our spheres of influence in the marketplace, we have an opportunity and a responsibility to follow Jesus' commission to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, preach the Kingdom of God and heal the sick. (Luke 9:1-2). You will find in Module 4 on Transformation Marketing that this is the very role a marketplace minister takes on.