Dear Fellow Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In 2 Corinthians 6:17, the Apostle Paul writes, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,”
I grew up in a wonderful Christian home. I am blessed to have two godly parents, a wonderful church, and great Christian fellowship through homeschool groups. I am thankful for the wonderful people I have known and for the doctrine I have learned. As I prepare to enroll in a university this Fall, one of the many things going through my mind—as well as the minds of my fellow graduates—is how to represent Christ while I am there. And so, this week I come to you all to write on the subject on separation. How do we, as Christians, stay separate from the world? What does Biblical separation look like?
The first and most fundamental step to being separate is to personally connect with God. Psalm 1:1-2 says, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” The Psalmist goes on to say that whatever this godly man does shall prosper, sharply contrasting with the ungodly, whose way shall perish. A key factor is that the godly man meditated on God’s law. You may say, “Connecting with God is certainly important, but why is it separation from the world? Isn’t it simply a personal matter?” While it certainly is personal, time in the Bible and prayer—as well as communal fellowship at church—inherently leads to a more godly, separated life. When we know God’s Word, we are reminded that the things of this world are constantly changing, but God remains the same forever. The things of this world are temporary, but God remains eternal. And so, we carry that truth with us everywhere we go, and become more able to live it out and show it to others.
Another step to being separate is to not be enslaved to the sinful trends of this world. Although this might seem obvious and easy to understand, it is often sadly forgotten in the lives of Christians. 1 John 2:15 says, “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.” John is admonishing the church to not love the world’s evil deeds. It is often very easy to think, “I’ll just do a few worldly things”, or “I can have it both ways.” But remember what the verse says, “If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” Likewise, Jesus said in Matthew 12:30, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.” Both these verses are important reminders that living for God also means living against the wickedness of this world, and that standing for the Lord’s truth also means standing against worldly lies. We need to be very careful not to let the world’s sinful philosophies and trends influence us; as for those trends which are not inherently sinful, though we do not need to avoid them, we still need to make sure that it does not become an obsession to the point of hindering our walk with God or leading us to sinful trends.
A third step (and the last one I will discuss here) to being separate is to cut off harmful companionships when necessary. This step can be painful at times, but it is nevertheless what God commands. 2 Corinthians 6:14 says, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” This is a very famous verse, and it is often used in the context of romantic relationships. While it is certainly applicable in that context, it goes far beyond that; we must be careful with our relationships with unbelievers in general. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be friendly with unbelievers; Jesus was a friend of sinners, and the apostles often knew unbelievers and later won them to Christ.
Companionship with unbelievers can be a wonderful way to witness. But when a companionship causes us to sin or impedes our walk with God, it is time to end it. Paul talks about this even with regards to companionships with fellow believers, 1 Corinthians 5:11 says, “ But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.” Temporarily ending fellowship is difficult, but it is sometimes necessary, both to protect ourselves from sin, and to be a wake-up call to an unbeliever, or our brother who is living in sin.
So as we go out into the world, whether it is at school, work, or just with friends, let us always remember to be separate and a peculiar people. Let us remember to be separate in our knowledge of the Word, our deeds, and in our fellowship. Let us remember to do this to grow closer to God, to be a witness to the world, and to further the cause of Christ. May God bless you all!
Thank you for reading,
Orion Mendenall (17) is on staff at Changing Lives Ministry. He will be a freshman at Florida Atlantic University.