God’s kind of righteousness has a positive effect on society. “You are the salt of the earth” (Matt. 5:13), and “You are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14).
Righteousness is not to be ineffective. Salt that does not have the characteristics of salt is good for nothing. Light that is hidden is not light. Men do not praise God for bad deeds in the lives of Christians.
There are two events in biblical history which take this truth to two opposite extremes.
One is the destruction of Sodom, and the other is the minor defeat of Israel at Ai. The stories are found in Genesis 18-19 and Joshua 6-7. God had promised the safety of a very wicked city if ten righteous people were found in it. In the other case, God allowed the defeat of a righteous nation by a wicked city because there was one unrighteous man in the camp. Thirty-six other men were killed because of this man’s unrighteousness.
I think that these are not opposite principles, but only opposite effects of the same principle. God will spare a wicked city if there is an adequate righteous witness in it. However, God will not give victoryunless there are all righteous people in the camp. We as Christians have settled for the first. We are content with minimum light, just enough to keep the Sodoms of the world from being destroyed. We are not willing to purge the unrighteousness in ourselves and in the church in order to take the Ais of this world with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
One is a defensive view, and the other is an offensive view. We, the church, who, like Joshua, should have an offensive view, have endeavored to spread the gospel with unrighteous men in the army. The Lord is not with us for victory.
It is not enough that we increase our methods of war if the Lord is not with us for victory. We in the Christian church need all of our men and women walking in the light as He is in the light. Would you ask God to show you if there is any unconfessed, unforsaken sin in your life? Then confess and forsake it.