Separated For A Purpose
By Sean Mungin
Many Christians do not understand the importance of choosing our associations wisely. It has often been stated within the Body of Christ that if a Christian continues to frequent certain areas or associate with certain people, then one of two things are going to happen:
1) either they are going to pull the people into the Body of Christ, or 2) the people and / or the situation are going to pull the Christian back into the world.
Realistically speaking, this is true to certain extent…more often than not. But why would anyone want to risk the chance of becoming separated from God (death) after being separated unto God (holiness)?
When we are called out of the world, we are called unto God to live a life of holiness that corresponds with God’s Divine Nature. In fact the word for church in the Greek is, ecclesia (ek, out of, out from; klesia, called). It is descriptive of the Christian community as a way of differentiating it from the Jewish community in the New Testament, which was called sunagoge (synagogue). It denotes the New Testament community of believers who were called by and to Christ in the fellowship of His salvation and out from their former lifestyles. The idea is that God would take a people out from the midst of the cultures of the world, and make a people of His own (i.e., Abraham, Israel, and church) that would define and represent a lifestyle and culture which is the express manifestation of His Divine Nature.
This brings us to our present state wherein we can presently observe the level of tolerance within the contemporary church (called out ones). While it is true that we can use differing methods without compromising the message of the Gospel, we have subscribed to both directly and indirectly compromising the Gospel message with philosophies and opinions that have the form of godliness, but they deny the very power which extends from that godliness (2 Tim 3:1-9, AMP). For this reason, we are admonished to watch, as well as, pray (Mt 26:41). The AMP version’s rendering of this passage of Scripture states,
“All of you must keep awake (give strict attention, be cautious and active) and watch and pray, that you may not come into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
We engage in fostering relationships without discerning whether the person or activity aligns with the Word of God and His will for our lives. We make unholy alliances with people in the world who will not seek to influence us in the things of God. We simultaneously forge the same types of associations with people ‘in’ the church who are not a part ‘of’ the church. It can also be someone who is a believer but does understand the will of God for our lives and will attempt to force their will upon our lives. As a result, we get distracted from the assignment for which God has ‘called us of, and out from’ this element in the first place.
The Apostle Paul addresses this dilemma in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18:
14) Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers [do not make mismated alliances with them or come under a different yoke with them, inconsistent with your faith]. For what partnership have right living and right standing with God with iniquity and lawlessness? Or how can light have fellowship with darkness? 15) What harmony can there be between Christ and Belial [the devil]? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16) What agreement [can there be between] a temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God; even as God said, I will dwell in and with and among them and will walk in and with and among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people [Ex. 25:8; 29:45; Lev 26:12; Jer 31:1; Ez 37:27]. 17) So, come out from among [unbelievers], and separate (sever) yourselves from them, says the Lord, and touch not [any] unclean thing; then I will receive you kindly and treat you with favor, [Is 52:11]. 18) And I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty [Is 43:6, 7; Hos 1:10]. (AMP)
Within this passage of Scripture, Paul sets forth the command, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers…” (v. 14, KJV). But what does the phrase ‘unequally yoked together’ mean? The phrase ‘unequally yoked together’ in the original Greek language comes from the word, heterozugeo, which is derived from two Greek words, heteros, which means ‘another, different,’ and, zugos, which means ‘a yoke.’ Heteros can also mean ‘a different one, another of a different quality; other, foreign, strange.’ Zugos comes from the Greek word, zeugnumi, which means ‘to join.’ In other words, Paul was admonishing us to not be joined together with a person who is other-minded and possesses a belief system that is foreign to one in which we, now as ‘the called out ones,’ have embraced and adopted as our own, which extends from the hearing, receiving, and internalizing of the Kingdom principles that are found within the Word of God.
Also within this passage of Scripture, Paul sets forth the contrasting natures of those who are ‘called out of, from’ and those who have the ‘other-mindedness and foreign belief systems of the world.’ The first contrast is between ‘righteousness’ and ‘unrighteousness’ (v. 14). The word ‘righteousness’ comes from the Greek word, dikaiosune, and is the state commanded by God and standing the test of His judgment. It is the conformity to all that God commands or appoints. Since God Himself is the Standard for the believer, the righteousness of God is the right which God has upon man and is imputed to man as a gift and cannot be earned through works, but only through repenting from sin and receiving Christ as Savior through faith. ‘Unrighteousness’ comes from the Greek word, anomia, which means lawless, not having, knowing or acknowledging the law.
The second contrast is between ‘light’ and ‘darkness’ (v. 14). ‘Light’ comes from the Greek word, phos, and represents an eternal light that is never kindled and therefore never quenched. Its source and origin is of Divine Agency. ‘Darkness’ come from the Greek word, skotos, and is derived from the Greek word, ischo, which means to restrain, stop (for when one is overcome by the night, he is forced to stop). It is definitive of a person whose life has been overcome by the darkness which extends from their sinful nature and his or her sinful works that are practiced habitually.
The next contrast is self – explanatory because we know that Jesus Christ does not have any relationship with the devil except being Lord and the One Who has triumphed victoriously and gloriously over the devil (v. 15). The fourth contrast is between ‘he that believeth’ and ‘an infidel.’ The phrase, ‘he that believeth,’ comes from the Greek word, pistos, and means ‘one believing in the Gospel of Jesus Christ faithfully; a believer; a Christian.’ The word, infidel, comes from the Greek word, apistis, and means ‘one not worthy of confidence, untrustworthy, and an unbeliever.’ It denotes one who disbelieves the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The fifth contrast is between the ‘temple’ of God and ‘idols’ (v. 16). The word, ‘temple,’ comes from the Greek word, naos, and is derived from the Greek word, naio, which means ‘to dwell.’ In understanding this structure of the sacred building, the ‘temple’ is the heart and center of the whole sacred enclosure (Gr. word, hieron), and the ‘naos’ was the actual Holy of Holies. In other words, the ‘called out of, from’ are the dwellingplaces of the Most High God, wherein our hearts become the housing of the mercy seat in which God promised to be seated between the two cherubim and would meet and commune with us (Ex 24:22).
The word, ‘idols,’ comes from the Greek word, eidolon, which is derived from the Greek word, eidos, and means ‘a form or appearance.’ It is an image of or a representation of something that is perceived with the outward senses as opposed to those things that are readily received by faith without having to see it with the physical, human extremities. It is a concept of the human mind about God’s Divinity that is based on human perception, not spiritual reality and truth.
Based on the first two contrasts, what ‘communion’ (fellowship, shared identity, or partnership) should one have who has received Christ as his or her Savior and has had the Righteousness of God ‘imputed’ (accredited, ascribed, referenced, and hung on) to his or her life and dwells in the eternal light of God’s Word and Kingdom with one who is lawless and still overcome by the dictates of sin and the darkness associated to a life that is dominated by the sinful nature and is considered by the Word of God to be an enemy of God?
Based on the final two conflicts, what ‘communion’ (fellowship, shared identity, and partnership) does one have who believes faithfully in Christ and His Gospel Which identifies his or her heart as the place of meeting and communion with the True and Living God with one who disbelieves in the Gospel of Christ and subscribes to living his or her life based on what is perceived to ‘material reality’ based upon what is tangible to them and elevates these perceptions and misconceptions to Divine status by their actions and adherence to them in rejection of a relationship with the One Whose truth can
“cast down imaginations and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and brings into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ?” (2 Cor 10:5, KJV)
The answer is that there can be no partnership, fellowship, or shared identity that will be effective within God’s Kingdom between the two antithetical lifestyles. One will either be strong enough to pull the other onto its side, or it will find itself being pulled to the other side. It will begin as compromising in order to maintain the false sense of unity that exists between them. But the end result will more than likely be the believers having to divide their loyalties. Jesus emphatically states that,
“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.” (Mt 6:24, KJV).
Another rendering of this passage is found in the Amplified Version,
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he ill stand by and be devoted to the one and despise and be against the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon (deceitful riches, money, possessions, or whatever is trusted in).”
Paul, in 2 Corinthians 6:17, writes,
“So, come out from among [unbelievers], and separate (sever) yourselves from them, says the Lord, and touch not [any] unclean thing; then I will receive you kindly and treat you with favor.” (AMP).
The Message states,
“’So leave the corruption and compromise; leave it for good,’ says God. ‘Don’t link up with those who will pollute you. I want you all for Myself.”
What is Paul communicating to us? What does he mean by ‘unclean’ and ‘not linking with those who will pollute you?’ What does he mean by ‘being separate?’
The word, ‘unclean’, comes from the Greek word, akathartos, which means ‘a reference to all idolatrous worship and heathen impurity.’ It denotes a devotion to and adoration for anything other than the things of God and His Kingdom. It is a lifestyle wherein God’s will is not the goal and His Word is not the ruling principle. It is the system wherein the prevailing thought is relativism and not the Absolute Truth of God’s Word as interpreted though communing with the Holy Spirit of the Living God. It is living in total and complete antithesis to the holy and righteous precepts of the Kingdom of God. Therefore, in God’s eyes and from His perspective, anyone who does not subscribe to holy and righteous living as instructed by His Word is considered ‘unclean’…in other words, the unbeliever.
The unbelieving lifestyle will ‘pollute’ and ‘contaminate’ the life of the believer in the sense that the believer has been washed in the Blood of the Lamb and made clean. Imagine taking a white cloth and brushing against a dusty surface. After having made contact with the surface, the cloth is no longer going to be completely white any longer. It would need to be washed again and contact with the dusty surface would need to be discontinued. This is only after light contact. Imagine what happen if the same white cloth was used to wipe mud from another surface…where am I going with this?
In Leviticus 5:3, it states,
“…if he touch the uncleanness of man, whatsoever uncleanness it be that a man shall be defiled withal…when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty.” (KJV).
‘Uncleanness’ comes from the Hebrew word, tum’ah, and comes from the Hebrew word, tame’, and means ‘uncleanness, impurity, and pollution’ and denotes uncleanness in a ritual or moral sense. The focus, however, is on the moral implications. The person mentioned in this verse is one who is considered to be profane, defiled, and polluted based solely upon his or her contact with something that was unclean.
As it relates to the topic of study, the more contact a believer has with an unbeliever, the more the believer will be challenged about his or her beliefs. This does not mean to completely isolate oneself from the unbelieving world because it is impossible. But it does send forth a message that echoes a warning from Jesus “to watch and pray” (Matt 26:41).
How do we resolve the problem of not becoming “unclean” and “polluted”? Paul teaches us in 2 Corinthians 6:17 (mentioned above) that we are to come out from among the unbelieving world, and separate ourselves. ‘To separate’ comes from the Greek word, ‘aphorizo’, which comes from two Greek words, ‘Apo’, means, ‘from’, and ‘horizo’, which means ‘to define’. ‘Horizo’ also means ‘to set up a boundary; put limits to; to establish or determine.’ Interestingly enough, ‘horizo’ comes from the Greek word, horos, which gives the connotation of ‘rising above’ or ‘lifting oneself above the plain.’
What does this mean for the believer? This means that even though we are in this world, we are not of this world (Jn 17). We have to ‘rise above’ the systems of this world and the only way this can be done is to, first, acknowledge where we are standing spiritually and determine whether our hearts, minds, and spirits are aligned with the Word and Spirit of God. If there are areas of our lives that are out of place, then there needs to be a cleansing. If there are unholy alliances that are hindering God’s activity within, then there needs to be ‘a separation that defines’ who we truly are and where our loyalties lie. There has to be ‘a boundary established’ and ‘a wall of protection erected’ to keep our inner man from becoming ‘polluted’ and ‘contaminated’ by the elements of the belief systems of the world.
In 2 Chronicles 29:15 – 19, King Hezekiah undertook a large campaign of repentance, cleansing, and reestablishing the covenant with God that had been broken by the kings and people of the past. In like manner, we must resolve within ourselves to not be identified with the sins and with the associations of the past, but to step forward and proclaim with Joshua who declared,
“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Josh 24:15, KJV).
This renewal will begin to take place when we decide
‘to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service.” (Rom 12:1, KJV).
As we continue to commit our lives to God and His Kingdom Agenda, He promises that He
“…will be a Father unto us, and we shall be His sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (2 Cor 6:18, KJV).
So… “Therefore, since these [great] promises are ours, beloved, let us cleanses ourselves from everything that contaminates and defiles body and spirit, and bring [our] consecration to completeness in the [reverential] fear of God.” (2 Cor 7:1, AMP).