Christian Separation From The World
Christians being separate from the world in today’s society is a highly subjective topic. One of many, in our busy, muddled, blend of living in the world and applying just the right amount holiness to justify our definition of being a believer in Christianity, a follower of Jesus, and living in the will of God. Depending on the position from which you are looking at this subject your opinion will be tailored to fit your perspective and your conduct or actions will be in support of that perspective. Isn’t that how people judge everything in their life? By their relationship to that thing.
The problem with that subjective assessment of living in the standards of the will of God is that I would imagine maybe one in one hundred people could intelligibly articulate or justify their position, from scripture, to explain how they live and what they routinely do in their walk with God. And without being able to justify, with scripture, and not knowing what is prescribed in the Bible, the answers to just what that standard is and how to apply it to the lives of Christians defaults to, “it’ just what I believe, or, “it’s just how I feel.”
For example, if you are one who associates excessively with unsaved persons but still maintains the idea that you are a Christian inside the will of God, well, your opinion will be different from someone, let’s say, who believes he is a member of a royal priesthood.
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, so that you may proclaim the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. —1 Peter 2:9
And being a member of that royal priesthood would not subject God who dwells in him from associating with idols.
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship does righteousness have with unrighteousness? And what fellowship does light have with darkness? 15 And what agreement does Christ have with Bell (Satan)? Or what part does he have with an unbeliever? 16 And what mutual agreement does the temple of God have with idols? For you are the temple of the living God as God has said, “I will dwell in them and walk in them, and I will be their God ad they shall be my people. 17 Therefore, come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” —2 Corinthians 6:14-17
Idols in this case being just about anything the world (unsaved people) does that is in opposition to God (which is just about everything).
On a scale from 1-10 I would be hard pressed to guess where today’s Christianity finds itself in relation to its separation from the world. But a casual observation would be maybe a one or two. I base that on the fact that I believe that the works of the apostles, which should be our inheritance, are severely lacking from today’s Christianity. And I believe that the failure of the church today to evidence the manifestation gifts of the Holy Spirit is due in large part to the failure of the Church as a whole, and believers in part, to come out of the world to the extent that the Bible says we should.
While today’s Christianity covers a wide range of denominations and subsequent interpretations of what the Bible says or doesn’t say, the manifestation works of the Holy Spirit are almost just as lacking from those groups that profess a belief in them, Charismatics, Pentecostals, Full Gospel, Word of Faith, etc. While these groups profess a belief that the gifts of the Spirit are still for the Church today, and they are correct, the manifestation is severely limited at best. To their credit those groups that still believe in the manifestation gifts don’t give up easily. While there are miracles, healings, and manifestations of the other gifts, it isn’t like the early church. The resolve of these groups to not give in is admirable.
There is no indication in the Bible that these workings, the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12, ended at some point in the past, as cessationists would have you believe. To the contrary.
Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and forever. —Hebrews 13:8
These gifts are, in a measure, alive today. They should be in abundance. After all, didn’t Jesus say that very same thing.
Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it. —John 14:12-14
What about all the “worldy Christians” would scripture require being separate from. Absolutely yes. This may be a reason we don’t see the workings of the early church to the degree that we should. Because of our association or tolerance of those who prefer the ways of the world.
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. —1 John 2:15-16
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, 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. —James4:4
We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. —1 John 5:19
And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen. —Mark 16:20
Excerpt from Dwight L. Moody, and evangelist in the 1800’s talking about separation from the world
Here is an excellent excerpt from an evangelist who lived in the 1800’s. This was his take on the concept of separation from the world.
Now I want to touch on something that is practical, that keeps us out of communion with God. I believe there is one truth that ought to be preached to Christians more than anything else; and that is, separation from the world. If the church would draw the line and take its stand, I believe it would have a hundred times more power than it has at the present time. I do not fear what these infidels say about the church of God. The trouble is, we have so many traitors in camp. They blow hot one day and cold the next. They pat you on the back one day, and then stab you in the back. They meet you and say, “Oh, this is a fine work, I am very much interested in it;” and the next day perhaps they meet an enemy and say, “I don’t believe in that work at all.” We have too many of those men. It would be a good thing if every man who is opposed to Jesus Christ would take his stand and fight him. What we want is separation; and the quicker it comes the better.