Separation to God.

Separation to God, and from the world, especially in its religion, is the way of the Lord. This He has in His Word commanded and called His people in all ages to obey.

Yet in nothing has full obedience been less known. The enemy has ever sought to blot out the line of demarcation between the saved and the unsaved, never more so than at the present time.

The death of the Lord Jesus had this object among others, to deliver His redeemed from the present evil world (Gal. 1:4), that they might be unto Himself a peculiar people (Titus 2:14). Such was the purpose of His love. By His death upon the Cross they have been crucified unto the world and the world unto them (Gal.6:14). How will they act toward that world, while for a brief period they are left in it to shine as lights (Phil. 2:12) amid its darkness? Will they be true to their Lord who was rejected and crucified by it, and who for a time has passed to yon throne, where in grace toward the world that rejected Him He waits, while from it a people given to Him by the Father, are being gathered out from the nations. Or, will they, deceived by plausible religious appearances, which the world for its own comfort choses to adopt, not as in ancient times perhaps of its own inventing, but rather of its own corrupting, be decoyed thereby into unholy alliance with that world, which, however religious it may appear outwardly, is the same world still. That this it has been, is, and shall be, the Word of God leaves us in no manner of doubt.

At the beginning of the world’s course there were two seeds, to wit, those of the ungodly and those of the “sons of God” (Gen.6:1-3). These were separate, not only in their spirits, but as would appear from the narrative, locally also, the one hovering for a time on the outskirts of Eden, where were the cherubim and the Shechinah, while the other, even in Cain’s time “went out from the presence of the Lord.” But in process of time, as the two seeds multiplied, they approximated one to the other, until they became intermarried and thus the place of separation was abandoned, with the result that a race of “men of renown” came upon the scene, with such violence and breaking down all barriers, that judgment from God by a deluge followed.

From this first departure from the path of separation, much may be learned of the enemy’s way in this our own time. Twice in the later Epistles—which have all special teaching for the last days—is this scene referred to (see 2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6), where the “angels” are identical with the “sons of God.” That both were human there is overwhelming evidence, which those who wish to blunt the point of the passage by making these “angels” celestial beings entirely ignore (see Matthew 22:30; also Matthew 24:38). The call of Abram from his kindred and country to be a witness for God, his kinsman Lot’s departure to Sodom to sit as a judge in its gates (Gen. 19), with the frequent attempts of the enemy to allure the pilgrim man of faith from the path of separation to God, tell how persistently the enemy seeks to waylay and seduce all who tread that path, and how the eye steadfastly fixed on God, and the heart set on heavenly things, can alone sustain the heaven-bound pilgrim in that path (Heb. 11:13-16).

When Israel, the elect nation, was about to be brought out from Egypt to become Jehovah’s witness against idolatry in the earth, Pharoah sought by strategy and craft, assisted by the sorcerers of Egypt, who imitated the miracles wrought by Moses in Jehovah’s Name, to hinder the people from entire separation from Egypt, its people, and its gods (Exod. 7:10). And again, in the wilderness, and with more success, Balaam, the false prophet, taught the Midianite King to set a snare before the separated people, for the purpose of causing them to amalgamate with the enemies of the Lord. How well that snare succeeded, and with what consequences, the history tells (Numb. 25.)

And now that God is calling out for Himself a heavenly people, who are not of the world even as Christ is not of the world (John 17:16), the adversary’s great aim is, to bring that people from their high estate down to the level of the world. In no way does he more frequently succeed in this than by getting the world to adopt the outward profession of Christianity, and then by co-mixing that which is of the world with that which bears the Name of Christ, to produce the thing called Christendom. The relation of the Christian to this world-church is clearly denned in the Word as that of separation—not in spirit only, but in person. The solemn words of the Holy Ghost in 2 Cor. 6:17, “Come out from among them and be ye separate, touch not the unclean and I will receive you,” are plain and clear. Equally so are the words of 2 Timothy 3:7, concerning those who have a “form of godliness,” but deny the power thereof; “from such turn away.” It has been objected that to separate from the flimsy Christianity of the world, and go forth unto a rejected Christ without the camp, is to lose influence with those who still abide in or form that camp. To this we might make reply by inquiring whether Abram who dwelt on the plain of Mamre in his tent, afar from Sodom, in the presence of God, or Lot who sat in its gate, had the most influence. Clearly Lot had little respect from his fellow-citizens, as their words concerning him show (see Gen. 19:9), while his rescue from its final overthrow was due solely to the prayers of his pilgrim kinsmen (see Gen. 18:33), as his former deliverance from capture by the confederate Kings had been due to his efforts (Gen. 14:14-16). The man who walks with God, in the path of obedience to His will, he and he only has power with God and with men.