The Lord commands every believer to separate himself from everything that is spiritually unclean. We see this in 2 Corinthians 6:17 and many other places in the Bible. Those Christians who obey are truly happy. Satan never wants Christians to be separated to God. He is always trying to divide what God wants to bring together, and to bring together what God wants to keep separated. For example, God wants all true believers to be one, but Satan knows that Christians are strong when they are all one. He has succeeded in dividing believers by giving them different thoughts and opinions about the teaching of the Bible. God also wants Christians to be separated from the unbeliever, but again Satan tries very hard to prevent this.
In Romans 12:2, we read that we should not conform to the standards of the world. Just what did the Spirit mean by "the world"? Read 1 John 2:16 and look for three things which belong to this world.
In 1 John 5:19, we see that the whole world is ruled by Satan. The 'world' consists of those people, places, pleasures and activities from which God is left out.
The attitude of the world was seen at the cross of Calvary where men of the world cried out, Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him. People belonging to the world crucified our Saviour and have never repented of the crime. Because of this, God has condemned the world and it will be destroyed when Christ returns as Judge, Acts 17:31; Revelation chapter 19.
God the Father has taken the Christian out of the world. Our bodies are still here, but God has separated us from the world, John 17:6. The Lord Jesus Christ sends us back into the world to witness for Him, John 17:18, even though we do not belong to the world, John 17:6. We should live like strangers and refugees in the world, 1 Peter 2:11.
There is a picture of separation in the very first chapter of the Bible, where God divided between light and darkness, Genesis 1:4. Also read Leviticus 19:19 and Deuteronomy 22:9-11.
God told Israel not to do three things:
We can learn from these verses that God does not want us to mix together things which are really different.
God Himself separated the Israelites from the Egyptians, Exodus 11:7, and told them not to marry the people of the nations around them, Deuteronomy 7:3,4.
It is impossible for a person to serve two masters at the same time. This means that we cannot serve both God and money, Matthew 6:24. Paul tells us not to have anything to do with people who do worthless, sinful things, but rather to rebuke them, Ephesians 5:11. He also told Christians to turn away from sin, 2 Timothy 2:19. [ How can I love the world and God the Father also? 1 John 2:15 ]
There are many other verses which teach this truth, but the ones we have named are enough to show that God wants believers to be separate from this world which refuses and rejects their Lord. Christians should not unite with unbelievers in their pleasures, in marriage, in business, or in worshipping God. This does not mean that Christians should move away and live by themselves. We must live among the people of this world from day to day, so that we can bring them to Christ. But we must not enter into any agreements or partnerships with them.
There are two kinds of earthly things: (1) those that are sinful, and (2) those which are worthless. The first kind is always wrong. The second kind is wrong when these things become too important to us and we spend too much time on them.
Christians often ask themselves if certain things are right or not. The Bible does not plainly say that we should do them or not do them. What should we do about these things? Here are four simple questions by which we can test these things:
Our answers to these questions will show us plainly whether the thing is right or wrong.
Separated Christians enjoy the fellowship, power and blessing of the Lord. Perhaps they do not seem to get on very well here in this world, but God has promised them three wonderful things, because they obey the command of 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. Read these verses.
In the Old Testament, we read of a number of true believers who did NOT obey this command to be separate from the world.
Lot was a true child of God (see 2 Peter 2:7,8), but he lived in social partnership with the people of the world and was a good friend of the men of Sodom, Genesis 19.
Solomon joined with heathen women in marriage, but they drew him away from God, 1 Kings 11:1-4.
Jehoshaphat made a commercial agreement with wicked Ahaziah. The result was that he lost his ships and his spiritual blessings, 2 Chronicles 20:35-37.
It is possible for us to enjoy close fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. If we do, we will refuse anything the world offers us, because the Lord Jesus Christ Himself supplies all our physical and spiritual needs.