Separate, But Not Isolated
"`Come out from among them, and be ye separate,' saith the Lord." (2 Corinthians 6:17)
This text touches a subject of vast importance in religion. That subject is the great duty of separation from the world. In every age of the church since its inception, separation from the world has always been one of the grand evidences of a work of grace in the heart. He that has been really born of the Spirit, and made a new creature in Christ Jesus, has always endeavored to "come out from the world," and live a separate life.
The world is a source of great danger to the soul. God's creation is wonderful and good. I am not talking about that. I am talking about the pursuit of vain riches and glory, and the desire to please the carnal nature, that is worldly and dangerous for a Christian. Sin in all of its forms must be denounced and avoided by those professing to be followers of the Lord. Paul says, "Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2). "We have received, not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit which is of God" (1 Corinthians 2:12). "Christ gave Himself for us that He might rescue us from this present evil world" (Galatians 1:4). "In time past you walked according to the course of this world" (Ephesians 2:2). "Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world" (2 Timothy 4:10).
James said, "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world" (James 1:27). "Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." (James 4:4)
And John wrote, "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. 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. And the world passes away, and the lust
thereof, but he that does the will of God abides forever" (1 John
"The world knows us not, because it knew Him not" (1 John
"They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the
world hears them" (1 John 4:5).
"Whatsoever is born of God
overcomes the world" (1 John 5:4).
"We know that we are of God
and the whole world lies in wickedness" (1 John 5:19). But being separate from the world does not
mean we should be isolated from the world: "Even so let your light shine before
men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father Who is in
heaven." (Matthew 5:16) The key here is letting the world see our good works. We can not do
that if we are of the world.