2 Cor 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
John 17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
What does it mean to live a separated life? What is true biblical separation?
Some would maintain that it refers to outward dress and appearance. We know that can’t be true or Jesus would not have condemned the Pharisees. They were outwardly “righteous” (Matt. 23:28) but inside were “full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” You can force a person to live an outwardly separated life while in their hearts they are living in the world (see Acts 7:39). A person sins in the heart before it ever comes out in the open.
Biblical separation does not take you out of the world (see John 17:15), but keeps you from the evil forces, influences and company of the world. Living a separated Christian life implies conformity to the word of God instead of to the world. This nonconformity to the world and sin takes place in the heart. Note the following verses:
21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
22 The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
If your heart is full of pride and arrogance but you don’t have a T.V. big deal. You are no more spiritual than a CD changer! If your heart is covetous and wicked full of envy, gossip, slander, anger and lust it matters little that you refuse to eat at a restaurant on Sunday. If your heart is full of self-righteousness who cares that you believe the King James Bible is the word of God! You are not practicing it, so WHAT is the big deal!
God is concerned with your heart. If you get the heart right, the other things will take care of themselves. Some “standards promoters” like to claim they are practicing biblical separation when they are doing nothing more than “will worship” (Col. 2:23). Some folks start cleaning up the outside and never do “heart inventory.” Then, later on down the road the inside eventually comes out: they never got Egypt out of their heart!
Below are some things the scriptures tell us as Christians to separate from:
1. The world – the system of evil that is all around us.
1 John 2:15-16
15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Rom 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
2. Marriage between unbelievers and believers.
2 Cor 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
NOTE – If a person marries an unbeliever prior to their conversion, they are not to divorce their spouse just because they are not saved. In fact, the scriptures teach that the believing party should stay with the unbeliever in order to win them to Christ. Now, if the non-Christian leaves, the Christian is not held responsible and can remarry. See 1 Cor. 7:12-16
3. Unrighteousness. – 2 Cor. 6:14. Unrighteousness basically covers the entire scope of sin.
4. Infidels. An infidel is someone who blatantly rejects the Lord Jesus or the scriptures. If a person only wants to argue for the sake of arguing, don’t waste your time.
2 Cor 6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
5 Idols. America is full of idols. Little trinkets and images of things are really of no spiritual value whatsoever. If you think a little cross around your neck, or a angel hanging from your visor will help you – sorry, you are DEAD WRONG. Don’t be an idolater. There is absolutely no spiritual worth to any physical image of anything!!!! If you think there is, you are an idolater. Read Exodus 20:3,4.
2 Cor 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
6. Those that cause divisions. Don’t listen to that person that only wants to give one side of the story – gossip. Don’t be like the man (yeah – men are just as bad or worse) who said: “I don’t repeat gossip, so listen carefully the first time.” Don’t have roast preacher on Sunday afternoon, and then give the leftovers to another church member! Stay away from people who want to talk, talk, talk, talk in order to turn you against someone!
Rom 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
7. False teachers. Stay away from these slick, cool teachers that are teaching heresy. Judge what they say by the scriptures. If they are teaching contrary to what your Pastor teaches, you need to avoid them. You should be getting your spiritual nourishment from your Pastor anyway. He is the shepherd of the flock, and his primary job is to FEED you! Don’t go to another pasture for food. Avoid these false teachers.
1 Tim 6:3-5
3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
What about things you might think are sinful, but are not exactly sure. This falls under the category of personal convictions. Below are some guidelines that will help you determine and classify what you should separate from:
1. Is it for the glory of God?
Col 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
2. Can you ask God’s blessings upon it?
1 Thess 5:18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
3. Would you be comfortable if you were doing it when Christ returned?
Luke 18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
4. Is it a good Christian example? Or, would it cause another Christian to stumble?
1 Cor 8:13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.
5. Is it in obedience to the written word of God?
Rom 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
A study of biblical separation would not be complete without a note of what a Christian should separate TO. When you get saved and begin to dump the bad things out of your life, you need to fill our life with good things. Below are some things you should separate yourself TO:
1. The gospel.
Rom 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
2. The work of Christ.
Acts 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
3. The Bible.
Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
4. Hymns and spiritual songs. – Col. 3:16
Every Christian should live a separated, pure Christian life. You don’t need a spiritual police type preacher telling you what you can and cannot do. You have the Bible and the Holy Spirit in your heart. Determine that you are going to separate from the bad influences, habits and deeds of the old man, and then set your affection (Col. 3:2) on spiritual things. Get your heart on the Lord Jesus Christ!!! Make first things first!!