2 Corinthians 6:11-18: 11 O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open. 12 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections. 13 Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open. 14Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.” 17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.”18 “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.”
A few years back there was a television program called “What Not To Wear” that aired weekly on the cable network TLC. The show featured two style experts, Clinton and Stacy. At the request of friends or family members, Clinton and Stacy would invade the life of a “fashion failure” whose wardrobe was holding him or her back from reaching their full potential. Of course, the initial wardrobe detox was always met with significant resistance, then unraveled with revealed layers of insecurities, and finally evolved into surrender and success. A new perspective of who they were altered how they dressed, boosted their confidence, and supposedly set a foundation for a different level of success in their personal and corporate lives. It was nothing short of a fashion intervention that was used to alter a person’s overall quality of life.
The apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthian Church in an effort to accomplish a few things of greater intervention. First, he wanted to express his love for them as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. Secondly, he wished to warn them of the false “apostles” that were making the rounds, detouring many with distorted teaching. And ultimately, he was receiving reports back of the believers intermingling with the toxic lifestyles of those in their culture and needed to set them straight. Believe me, what we see in US culture today had nothing on the debauchery going on during that era of time! Sexual sin was available with the connection of the eyes and a very public display of such behavior was common.
“What fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?”, he asked. I’m fully aware there was a time when the terms “separation” and “holiness” were distorted to such an extent where the length of a woman’s hair or a man’s shirt sleeve determined her or his level of consecration to God. In an effort to re-define true holiness to God as being a measure of the heart’s surrender, the Church at large tipped the scales much too far in the opposite direction. In many cases the term “holiness” has been discarded altogether. “Separation means judging and only God can judge”.
Today I’m challenging those who call themselves disciples of Christ with the words of God Himself through the prophet Isaiah to “Come out from among them And be separate”. We simply cannot allow ourselves to believe that if we become like the world we will lead them to Christ. We cannot ask God to take the idols of this world and make them righteous. God will only anoint that which His Blood has cleansed.
Like it or not, we must be separate. Throughout your weekly activities there will be consistent decisions you must make for yourself and your family. Will I participate in this? Can we listen to that music? Does God approve of my wearing that? Do I attract worldly or sexual attention to myself with this pair of shorts or the cut of this dress? Does this book add to or take away from my pursuit of spiritual, Biblical growth? Should I engage in this sort of coarse conversation? Can I hear the Spirit of God while maintaining this pace of life?
Our separation unto God will solicit an increase of His blessing on our lives. He can only add His blessing to sacrifices consecrated unto Him from a pure heart. Our separation unto God will also bristle some about us: most definitely, from unbelievers, but also from many believers. He wasn’t telling us to ignore unbelievers. He was telling us to live differently than unbelievers: to live according to His Word and be a peculiar people, a people belonging to God, that we may declare the praise of Him who called us out of darkness into His wonderful light (1 Peter 2:9). Ultimately, we are to glorify God with our lives and trust Him to fulfill His Word. If we walk in the Light of His Word He will draw men to us, that they may see the difference in our lives and put their trust in God also.
Yours for Souls,