As human beings, we have a natural tendency to separate ourselves from anything that doesn’t add to our quality of life. Maybe even at the birth of humanity, for our survival as a species, acting harshly towards anything (and anyone) that detracted from our quality of life was a necessity. Maybe, from the very beginning, the slowest runners, the weakest men, those who refused to adhere to a set of rules, were recognized as liabilities and, if accepted, would serve to decrease our chances of survival, so we cut them off, or killed them off. And maybe, because of that, we evolved into a people who rely on division as a way of making ourselves feel more secure.
Nowadays, those who don’t follow the rules, people who at one time would’ve been banished forever for doing so, are sent into exile temporarily, and eventually reintroduced to society. But you know who they are. When they step through security at an airport, when officers run their ID’s, when they apply for jobs and you run a background check, you know who they are. And, to you, they are law-breakers, people who operate on a lower level, people with a known disregard for the rules instituted by “civilized” society, criminals. In reality, the only factor that separates the criminal from the non-criminal is a set of laws that he chooses to ignore, and that disregard comes with a price, the loss of his freedom. Most people, maybe all people, would readily agree, whether true or not, that civilized society operates on a higher plane of existence than the criminal. They’ll tell you that civilized society is all about the greater good of the people, at least it’s supposed to be, which is the reason why certain laws are in place, to keep the peace and protect the people.
So, a criminal is a criminal because he chooses to behave in ways that are unacceptable by society’s standards. An “upstanding” citizen is regarded as such when he seemingly acquiesces to the rules and laws that society deems acceptable. And a Christian is a Christian, not because he doesn’t have the urge to satisfy his flesh, but because he strives to reinforce the thoughts and behaviors that Christ deems acceptable. He will, inevitably, fall short at times, but his failures aren’t an endorsement of popular culture, it’s an admission, in accord with the word, that the “flesh is weak.” He still regards many of society’s ideas of normality as, not just socially unacceptable, but spiritually unacceptable as well. Christian society goes one step further than “civilized” society in saying yes, we agree that killing and stealing and those things are wrong, but we also agree that lying and drinking and smoking and slander and adultery are wrong. The thing that separates the criminal from the non-criminal is the same thing that separates the non-Christian from the Christian, a greater list of laws and rules, ones that extend even into the spiritual realm. And if adherence to a longer list of rules and laws is the measuring stick society uses to distinguish a “good” citizen from a “bad” one, why is it wrong for a Christian to use that same measuring stick in a similar way? Again, the only factor that separates the non-Christian from the Christian is a set of laws that the non-Christian chooses to ignore, but that disregard is a rejection of God. It’s a lost opportunity for salvation that comes with a hefty price. Most people, maybe all people, who would readily agree that “civilized” society operates on a higher plane than the criminal must, then, also agree that Christian society operates on a higher plane than non-Christian society. You see, Christian society is about more than just the greater good of the people, it’s also about the gentrification of the spirit, the refinement of the soul. It’s the reason why certain physical and spiritual laws are in place, to promote peace and protect the spirit, all for the glory of God.