Series - Separation Tightrope

The Tightrope of Separation: Four Contrasts

From Voice, Mar/Apr 2014. Used by permission. Read the series so far.

In that crucial New Testament passage on separation, 2 Corinthians 6:14, God gives us four areas of contrast. Note that there is nothing in common in any of these areas.

The first contrast is the matter of principles and standards. Verse 14 asks: “What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? What communion hath light with darkness?” What possible fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? If it is righteous, it is not unrighteous; and if it is unrighteous, it is not righteous. These utterly contradict each other. It is just like light and darkness: if it is dark, it is not light, and if it is light, it is not dark. It is just the same thing as saying that God has learned to live in peaceful coexistence with Satan (which is impossible). Or that righteousness can stand unrighteousness—impossible. They cannot be together in any sense of the word.

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The Tightrope of Separation: False Starts

From Voice, Mar/Apr 2014. Used by permission. Read the series so far.

False starts

There are several false starts that we can make in the matter of separation. There is no doubt that God has called us to a position of separation. The question is how and in what way? There are several false responses that have been devised by man.

The first response is asceticism.

There are those who have said that Christians are not of this world and so they must get away from the world completely. Those who advocated this are called ascetics and they became hermits, went to monasteries, caves, deserts, and the wilderness. They said they had to get away from man and pleasures in order to be separate unto God. That however was a complete distortion of Scripture because we are commanded to go into all the world and preach the gospel. Scripture has told us to witness to, live before, and seek to reach men for Christ. After ascetics arrived out in the deserts and caves they discovered they brought the world with them because the sinful impulses exhibited in the world were also in them. Satan appealed to their pride, self, and false motives even when they were alone, and the world manifested itself in them. Wherever we go we take the sinful impulses exhibited in the world with us. Asceticism is not the answer.

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The Tightrope of Separation: Worldliness

From Voice, Mar/Apr 2014. Used by permission. Read the series so far.

Worldliness defined

What is a definition of the term “the world” or “worldliness?” Romans 12:2 says, “Be not conformed to this world.” That passage of Scripture really describes the whole matter. In 1 John 2:15 we find, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.” In both passages, God is saying there is something out there which we as Christians are not to love. A true Christian is contrary to it. We are not to love the world because we are contrary to it.

Different words are translated “world” in the New Testament. One word refers to the inhabited earth. Another refers to an age or time and it can have a wicked connotation. A third word is the one which is most frequently used. It is the Greek word kosmos.

The world (kosmos) is that system organized by God’s enemy Satan. Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer in his theology defined the world as “civilization now functioning apart from God” (Systematic Theology, Vol. II. Dallas Seminary Press, 1971; 77). The unseen powers of spiritual evil, which have Satan as their head, are organized on a vast scale with great efficiency (Ephesians 6:12). This evil organization dominates the lives of unredeemed humanity, and Satan rules this kingdom in opposition to God and everything devoted to God and everyone dedicated to God. As Dr. Chafer expressed it, this civilization is dominated by Satan, functions apart from God, does not recognize God, and has a philosophy of independence (Chafer, 76-90). People of this world’s system say: “I have a right to go my own way, do my own thing, be what I want to be. I don’t owe God anything, I owe no allegiance to anyone.” That is the philosophy of Satan and the world. It is this world system which God says “do not love it, do not be conformed to it.” And so essentially we as Christians are to have no association with the world’s philosophies, ideas, pollutions, or system—because this world is functioning apart from God and in opposition to Him.

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The Tightrope of Separation: Separated Unto God

From Voice, Mar/Apr 2014. Used by permission.

Recently I read an article which began with these words:

Some time ago a man said to me, “I drink beer in the pub in my spare time. Some guys I know go out chasing women. So what’s the difference? Your hobby is Christianity.” To think that a man could look at me and say that Christianity was just a pleasant spare time occupation like collecting stamps or yachting. Is that my definition of Christianity? Do I put it second, or do I put it first?

This quotation points out the fact that if our faith does not change our lives, even the world questions the genuineness of our profession.

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