Verse of the Day

My Musings, Observations, etc.


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January 31, 2011

Anyone who has listened to anything the world has said has heard the phrase “separation of church and state.” This is a myth. There is no such thing as separation of church and state. However, there is a “separation” in the Bible. It is not the “separation of church and state” myth, but it is the separation from the world that every Christian should demonstrate in their lives. As Christians, we are called to be distinct, peculiar and set apart people. We should be a people who are quickly and clearly known by the world to be Christians and our lives should be an enticement to the people in the world to come to the Lord.

Simply, separate means to set or keep apart. In the case of believers, from what are we separating?
Mat 25:32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
There will come a time when all will gather before God. At that time, God will separate the sheep from the goats. If God is a shepherd who is being separated? It does not take much study of the Word of God to realize God is separating the Christians who are the sheep from the unsaved who are the goats.
Luke 6:22-23 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake. (23) Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.
Next, we see that separating from the world should not be a problem. If we are actually walking as Christians and living the Christian life we should be living, the world will separate from us. In fact, we should rejoice! When we realize our walk is such that worldly are convicted and made uncomfortable by our presence so much that they cast us out of their company, we should leap for joy! It is not God who is causing the separation in this passage, it is the unsaved who are separating from the believers. To be cast out from your unsaved friends is a tremendous testimony for the believer. It means that God is working and showing through you. It means that the Holy Spirit in you is convicting those around you.
2 Cor 6:14-18 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? (15) And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? (16) And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (17) Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, (18) And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
The term “yoked” is one that may not be familiar to you. A yoke is a wooden bar which attaches two animals, such as oxen, at the neck so that they can work together. If the two oxen want to go in different directions, they will never accomplish anything or the stronger will pull them in circles. In the case of Christians being yoked with unbelievers simply means that a Christian is somehow bound to a believer. In almost every case, the believer is pulled down into disobedience.
This passage is giving us a clear exhortation to avoid the peril of being bound together with unbelievers. The Word of God only makes two distinctions: believer or non-believer. When a believer is bound to an unbeliever, the believer will almost certainly fall. God knows this. We should offer a testimony and we should offer the Word of God to the unsaved, but we should never be bound up with them.

The Basics of Practical Separation

1 Pet 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
Separation will be natural when we simply obey God. We are commanded to he holy. When we are holy, the unsaved will either see our testimony and come to Christ or they will be convicted by our testimony and separate from us.
1 Cor 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
Living a holy life should not be difficult. The body of the saint of God is the temple of the Holy Spirit of God. Yes, if you are saved, the Holy Spirit of God lives within you. You need only allow Him to do His work in you. When you do, you will direct people to Christ. Also, when you allow the Spirit of God to work through you, you will be a conviction to the people around you.

Personal Separation

Before we get started, let’s look at what we mean by “worldliness” or “the world.” In the Bible, as well as in discussions with fellow Christians, you will hear the terms "world" and "worldliness." Basically, these terms refer to those who are unsaved and the things the unsaved people do. Another way to think of it is like this: the world will always do what the devil wants. So, worldliness is always going to be sinful.
John 15:19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
When one decides to become a Christian, many things happen: God, in the form of the Holy Spirit, will move into the new believer's heart and begin working, God chooses to adopt us and our desire to sin changes into a desire to serve God, etc. Of those, note that God chooses to adopt us and we are marked. Lucifer knows that he cannot get our souls any longer and, I believe, we are marked. From that moment on, the world (those who follow Lucifer) hates us. The degree to which they hate us depends on our testimony. The more bold we are for Christ, the more the world hates us. This begs the question: "Why would the world hate us?" When we are saved, the devil knows he cannot touch our soul. We will never go to hell. If a Christian is doing what he should, that Christian will be a thorn in Satan's side. When a Christian has the testimony he should, and serves Christ as he should, he will be winning souls for Jesus. The effective Christian will have a testimony which will steal souls from the devil. Of course, the devil hates this and fights against it. He certainly uses every tool he can to fight. Often, he will use the new believer's old friends to fight this battle.
Rom 12:14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
When we are saved and begin walking with God, the world will hate us. The world will begin to war against us and our walk. What should we do? First, we need to walk with God without fear and without discouragement. Second, we need to remember that those who now oppose us do not understand what they are doing. They do not understand that they are pawns on Satan's Chess table. So, how do we respond to them? We love them and we pray for them. Then we allow God to deal with their hearts.
Gal 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, (20) Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, (21) Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
As we talk about the world, we also talk about the flesh. These are the things we still want to do, even though we are saved. Things we know are sinful, things we know are wrong. Yet we still want to do these things. It is when this happens that we realize there is a clear difference between what our flesh wants to do and what our spirit wants to do.
James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Even when our flesh wants to do wrong, we should strive to do right. Yes, it is a battle which will rage in our bodies as long as we live, but it is a battle we must win.

Developing Personal Standards

Before we can really begin to develop personal standards, we must take a moment to define the following terms: precepts, principals and preferences. Understanding the difference between the three is vitally important to having a victorious Christian life as well as living a life where we do not superimpose our preferences where we should not.
First of all, what is a precept? It is a rule or principle prescribing a particular course of action or conduct ( For our discussion, let’s equate a precept with “Thus saith the Lord.” Basically, a precept is a direct commandment from the Lord. Exo 20:15, “Thou shalt not steal” is an example of a precept. It is a clear, direct command from God. There are many such precepts throughout the Word of God.
A Principle is a directive from God derived from the Word of God, based on other precepts and examples. Sometimes, principles are not quite as clear as precepts, but violating a biblical principle is as much a sin as violating a precept. For example, we all know that men should not look at pornography, but why is this? Is there a statement in Scripture saying, “Thou shalt not look at pornography”? No. But there is a very clear principle.
First, there is a precept: Exo 20:14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Second, there is an example. Jesus explained in Mat 5:28, …whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Based on the precept and the example, we can safely assume that looking at porn is a sin, right? Exactly. That is how a principle is defined.
A preference may be related to precepts and principles, but do not have a direct link to Scriptures. An example of a preference would be something like: I don’t want to own a television because I might be tempted to let the television dominate my life.
Now, a television is not, in itself, evil. It is a tool, a device. Granted, you can watch evil things on a television. You can also watch things on television which edify your spirit, entertain, educate or inform.
There are some who claim that owning a television is a sin. When they make this claim, they are in error. The Scriptures do not address the television, but many people do use televisions for evil programming. Some people have looked at only the bad, and assumed it is all bad. Based on this faulty assumption, they have made the blanket statement that owning a television is evil. They have elevated their own personal preference to the level of a precept. In effect, they have added their personal preference to the Word of God.
Adding to the Word of God is evil. Forcing standards on someone where there is no principle or precept to support the standards is also wrong.

Guidelines for Personal Standards

As you determine your personal standards, there is at least one verse you should always use as a filter. This verse gives you the clear guideline for everything you do in your life!
1 Cor 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
When we consider our actions in the light of this verse we are forced to consider our actions in the light of how it will bring glory to God. Would drinking that beer glorify God? No. Would going to that movie theater glorify God? No! Would telling that lie glorify God? No. Pick your sin - will it glorify God? No.
Mat 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Through all that we do, we must remember that our light - the light of Jesus Christ dwelling within us must always shine. Sin hides the light within us and prevents those around us from seeing the love which God offers to all.
At this point, we could examine a list of individual precepts, one by one, but we will not. Every day, you should examine yourself and ask the Lord to reveal anything to you that is against His Word. As you grow closer to the Lord, the Lord will show you things that you need to change. the rest of your life on earth will be a process of growing and changing to be more like Christ’s likeness.


What does all of this have to do with the church? Stay tuned. That is what we will examine in the next issue.