It dawned on me one day that the Church of Jesus Christ has great issue with separation.
We don’t generally have a problem with separation per se, it’s just that we have trouble discerning what to separate from.
Take 2 Corinthians 6:17 for instance. Paul says, “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.”
In fact, it could be said that much of the conflict and difficulty in the life of a believer is directly related to the refusal to obey the above passage. The Christian has usually not discerned the verse properly. They think it means to desert the sinner and not have anything at all to do with them, even within their own family. Not true. “Come out from among” means to leave the association with their sins, the uncleanness, not the sinners themselves. We must always reach back to those that we left behind when we became believers. The Church lives and thrives on that fact. Jesus Himself operated that way.
However, that’s not the end of this phenomenon of separation.
While far too many believers have not been able to separate properly from sin, they have also practiced another type of separation. One that God has forbidden.
The separation from Godly relationships.
Marriages, family, friends, churches, fellowships.
Not only do many fail to separate from what God WANTS them to, but they also fail in separating from what God does NOT WANT them to! (insert head scratch here)
Yes, the head scratch indicates that I do not get it.
In marriage the admonition (actual command) is “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate (Matt. 19:6)”.
That one gets all of the press, because in marriage the two actually become one, so that the dissolution of said marriage (which is very narrow in allowable excuses, two to be exact) is a literal “ripping or rending” of what has been made one, back into two separate individuals. A situation that God takes very, very serious. On other words, don’t tear asunder what God has sewn together. Emphasis on “ripping”, “tearing”, “rending” (because it is every bit as spiritually violent as that).
It’s not just marriage of husband and wife in my opinion. There are also the other relationships we are responsible for.
Parents and children. Friends. Neighbors. Church.
Consider the complex relationships of the church environment, which we are admonished to not forsake (also not a mere suggestion) in Hebrews 10:25:
“Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.
Marriage is a covenant, a “type” which is germane to all other relationships we have in Christ with each other.
The description of Hebrews 10:23-25 is serious business as far as God is concerned.
Hebrews 10:23-25 (AMP)
“23 So let us seize and hold fast and retain without wavering the hope we cherish and confess and our acknowledgement of it, for He Who promised is reliable (sure) and faithful to His word.
24 And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities,
25 Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.”
How bad must it be when He establishes the fact that the penalty under the old Law was death, but that what awaits the person who violates the brotherhood of believers in exchange for sin will be much worse?
The hinge on which that gate swings is centered squarely in the fellowship and care of each other as believers! That my friends is a marriage between you, me, each other, and Jesus Christ.
So, we need to get our separation anxiety in order. Learn to stick when you should stick, separate when you should separate.
It’s critical we get that right.
Keepin’ it Real,