555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

265. What Are We to Understand by Christ's Parable of the Return of the Unclean Spirit?

Its first application, as the closing words show, is to the Jews of that time. (See Matt 12*43, 450 They were rid of the evil of idolatry, but were worse than their fathers, who worshiped idols, in that they rejected Jesus and finally crucified him. In modern times, the same evil is seen when a nation abandons its superstitions, but instead of turning to Christ, and becoming Christian, becomes atheistic. Its application to individuals is of the same character. Christianity is positive as well as negative in its effects. It forbids and condemns sin (that is negative); it also enjoins love, kindness, service (that is positive). If, for example, a man who has been a drunkard overcomes his propensity, that is, gets rid of his unclean spirit, but does not go forward to faith in Christ, he is liable to become Pharisaic and intolerant, and perhaps skeptical. In that condition he is liable to fall into worse sin. The throne of the soul is never empty. If Christ does not rule, some evil spirit takes possession.