BE YE SEPARATE
By John C. Carpenter
The apostle Paul instructed the church in Corinth, Be ye not unequally yoked together
with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what
concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 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. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing;
and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (2 Corinthians
6:14-18). In verse 17 above, the word separate is translated from the Greek word aphorizo, which means to set off by boundary, to
limit, exclude, divide, separate, departure, or to sever.
In this year of 2023, the contemporary Christian church has abandoned
many of its past conservative, historical, and biblical doctrines, and become much more influenced by and accepting of worldly doctrines,
concepts, behavior, values, priorities, and standards. Many without the church, and, sadly, some within the church of 2023, have come
to believe that the primary function of the church is to love, and that love is defined as being completely inclusive and tolerant
of everything and everybody. Politically and culturally speaking, this pressure, or demand, that we all, including believers in Christ,
accept all things, all behavior, and all people has been labeled as tolerance, acceptance, and inclusiveness. Unfortunately, some
in the church have come to believe that it is supposed to accept all manner of people, all manner of behavior, and, even, all manner
of sin; and when the church does not accept these standards and social and political demands, it is labeled as racist, sexist, homophobic,
exclusionary, intolerant, discriminatory, hateful, or a thousand other worldly descriptions. However, we in the church should ask,
is tolerance and inclusiveness of any and all things biblical? Is this concept of total inclusion Godly? Regarding many things, God
does indeed desire unity, tolerance, acceptance, and inclusiveness - many scriptures do verify this. However, many verses also speak
to God's will regarding inequality, separation, segregation, and division. We can more fully understand these two concepts of unity
and separation by examining what the scriptures have to say.
HOW PLEASANT IT IS FOR THE BRETHREN TO DWELL TOGETHER IN UNITY
many scriptures do teach God the Father's priorities and will for unity, tolerance, and acceptance. We can begin with Solomon, who
wrote, Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity [Hebrew, yachad, a unit, unitedly, alike, all,
both, likewise, together, to be one, or joined]! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even
Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains
of Zion: for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore (Psalms 133:1-3). Likewise, in the new testament, the apostle
Paul also referred to God's desire for unity when he wrote the Philippian believers, If there be therefore any consolation in Christ,
if any comfort of love, if any fellowship [Greek, koinonia, partnership, participation, communion, sharer, associate] of the Spirit,
if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord [Greek, sumpsuchos,
cop-spirited, similar in sentiment, like-minded], of one mind (Philippians 2:1-2).
Paul also instructed the believers in Colossae
to ...put on the new man, which is renewed [Greek, anakainoo, to renovate or renew into the image of Christ] in knowledge after the
image [Greek, eikon, become a likeness, representation of, resemblance] of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor
Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all [Greek, pas, all, any, every, the whole,
including every one, every way, whosoever], and in all (Colossians 3:10-11).
Paul certainly emphasized the unity of believers
in Christ when he wrote the church in Corinth, For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body,
being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles,
whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot
shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am
not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the
whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto
the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body,
which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow
more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered
the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: That there should be no schism [Greek, schisma, a
split or gap, division, rent] in the body [the church]; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether
one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body
of Christ, and members in particular (1 Corinthians 12:12-27). Paul likewise emphasized unity in the faith to believers in Rome. Paul
wrote them, So we, being many, are one [Greek, heis, close to one another, only, some, to agree] body [Greek, soma, a sound whole]in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy,
let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith (Romans 12:6).
Paul also instructed the believers in Corinth about their
need for unity of understanding, emotion, and opinion: Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind [to
have the same mind, sentiment, or opinion], live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you (2 Corinthians 13:11).
Additionally, to the church in Galatia, the apostle taught God's unity: For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor
free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all [Greek, pas, all, every, the whole, whosoever] one [Greek, heis, one, any,
one another, only, other] in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26-28).
The book of Acts refers to the unity of early believers in Christ:when they [all] had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost,
and they spake the [gospel] word of God with boldness. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul:
neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power
gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all (Acts 4:31-33). Some Corinthian
believers in Christ were not only following and idolizing various men, rather than Christ. The apostle Paul was critical of these
divisions within the church in Corinth, and in his letter to the Corinthians, Paul scolded them, Now I beseech you, brethren, by the
name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions [Greek, schisma, a split or gap, to
be rent, a break, division] among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it
hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions [Greek, eris,
quarreling, wrangling, debates, strife, variance] among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos;
and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? (1 Corinthians
1:10-13). At times, we believers in Christ tend to want to hate and isolate our enemies, but Jesus, Himself, clearly taught that believers
in Christ should love and accept even their enemies: Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate
thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which
despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise
on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust (Matthew 5:43-45). To love your enemies is the ultimate
expression [and challenge] of unity and cohesion.
The apostle Peter teaches that believers are to be of one mind, or understanding.
Peter wrote to fellow believers, Finally, be ye all of one mind [Greek, homophron, like minded, harmonious in thought], having compassion
one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise
blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days,
let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace,
and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord
is against them that do evil (1 Peter 3:8-12). God's priority of unity is exemplified in Paul's letter to the church in Ephesus. Paul
wrote, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places
in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before
him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his
will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through
his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;
Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation
of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even
in him (Ephesians 1:3-10). Look how often the apostle refers to 'us' who are gathered together into the unity of one faith.
the apostle Paul reminded believers in Ephesus that, due to the shed blood of Christ, they were now united to Christ and God the Father,
and now fellow citizens in the household of God the Father. Paul wrote, Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in
the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;That at that time ye
were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and
without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our
peace [with God the Father], who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished
in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments continued in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making
peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached
peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now
therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God (Ephesians 2:11-19).
in his letter to the Ephesians, Paul refers to the believer Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There
is one [Greek, heis, one another, one certain, only, other, some] body, and one [heis] Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of
your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all (Ephesians
4:3-6), Till we all come in the unity [Greek, henotes, oneness, unanimity] of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto
a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13). Clearly, at times, God the Father does have
a priority of unity, togetherness, inclusion, oneness, and tolerance.
Possibly the ultimate example of biblical and spiritual
oneness, unity, acceptance, and cohesion, is based upon the believer's faith and salvation. Paul says of the believer in Christ, Now
therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built
upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly
framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the
Spirit (Ephesians 2:19-22). The believer is no more a stranger and foreigner, that is, separated from the presence, love, mercy, and
forgiveness of God the Father, but has become united with God the Father, and is now a fellow citizen with other believers destined
for an habitation of God through the miraculous working of the Holy Spirit. There is no better symbol of fellow-citizenship than that.
DIVIDED THE LIGHT FROM THE DARKNESS
At times, as we have seen above, God the Fathers' perfect will is for unity, togetherness,
oneness, acceptance, and cohesion. Within many scriptures, however, God the Father's purposes, priority, and will for division, intolerance,
discrimination, and separation is also quite clear.
The first biblical example which reflects God the Father's desire and priority
for division and separation can be found in the first five verses of the book of Genesis, that is, at the very beginning of time.
Scriptures instruct us, In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness
was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there
was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided [Hebrew, badal, to divide, separate, distinguish, make a distinction,
make a difference, or sever] the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the
evening and the morning were the first day (Genesis 1:1-5). At the very beginning of creation, God established a priority of separation
- God distinguished and separated the light from darkness. During creation, God also divided one more thing heaven and earth. The
Father said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament,
and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called
the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day (Genesis 1:5-8).
To what may be a surprise to many,
old testament scriptures even teach that separation, discrimination, and division can sometimes bear good fruit [such as peace], as
in the rather long story concerning Lot and Abram. The story goes as follows: Abram went up out of Egypt, he, and his wife, and all
that he had, and Lot with him, into the south. And Abram was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold. And he went on his journeys
from the south even to Bethel, unto the place where his tent had been at the beginning, between Bethel and Hai; Unto the place of
the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD. And Lot also, which went with Abram,
had flocks, and herds, and tents. And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was
great, so that they could not dwell together. And there was a strife [Hebrew, riyb, a contest, adversity, chiding, contention, controversy,
striving, grappling, rangling] between the herdmen of Abram's cattle and the herdmen of Lot's cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite
dwelled then in the land. And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife [Hebrew, meriybah, quarreling, grappling, rangling, provocation],
I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? Separate [Hebrew,parad, to spread, separate onself, disperse, divide, part, scatter abroad, sever self] thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt
take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left. And Lot lifted up
his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah,
even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and
Lot journeyed east: and they separated [Hebrew, parad, to spread, separate onself, disperse, divide, part, scatter abroad, sever self] themselves
the one from the other. Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward
Sodom. But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly. And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was
separated [Hebrew, parad, to spread, separate onself, disperse, divide, part, scatter abroad, sever self] from him Abram, Lift up
now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward (Genesis 13:1-14). Therefore,
Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and [Lot] pitched his tent toward Sodom (Genesis
13:12). In this old testament example, separation and segregation bore the good fruit of peace, safety, stability, tranquility, and
prosperity. Again, the scriptures teach us that God the Father used division to accomplish His own will, as He did with Moses and
the deliverance of Israel from Egypt. We read in Exodus, the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children
of Israel, that they go forward: But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children
of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea. And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they
shall follow them: and I will get me honour upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen. And the
Egyptians shall know that I am the LORD, when I have gotten me honour upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen (Exodus
14:15-18). Scriptures also instruct us that, at the judgment, Jesus, Himself, personally, will have a priority of separation. When
Jesus' disciples asked Him, what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?, He responded, When the Son of man
shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be
gathered all nations: and he shall separate [Greek, aphorizo, to set off by boundary, limit, exclude, divide, sever] them one from
another, as a shepherd divideth [Greek, aphorizo, to set off by boundary, limit, exclude, divide, sever] sheep from the goats: And
he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left (Matthew 25:31-33).
God the Father, through the operation
of the Holy Spirit, can also separate someone unto God's service. In the book of Acts, we read, Now there were in the church that
was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which
had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate [Greek,aphorizo, to set off by boundary, limit, exclude, divide, sever, specify] me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called
them (Acts 13:1-2). The apostle Paul taught the church in Corinth the necessity of separating and isolating themselves from unbelievers.
Paul wrote the Corinthians, Be ye not unequally yoked [Greek, heterozugeo, to yoke up differently, to associate discordantly, to be
different but coupled together] together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath
light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 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. Wherefore come out [Greek, exerchomai, come forth, depart out of, escape from, get
out, proceed, spread abroad] from among them [sinners], and be ye separate [Greek, aphorizo, to set off by boundary, limit, exclude,
divide, sever], saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall
be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
Regarding a thing which may seem trivial, unnecessary,
and unproductive to some, Jesus even taught His own disciples to seek secrecy, separation, isolation, and privacy when giving alms
[good and beneficial deeds out of compassion]: Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have
no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites
do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when
thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth
in secret [Greek, kruptos, concealed, private, inward, secret] himself shall reward thee openly. And when thou prayest, thou shalt
not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be
seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast
shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly (Matthew 6:1-6).
In order to have private prayer and quiet time with His heavenly Father, Jesus even separated Himself from others. Matthew wrote,and straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes
away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart [Greek, idios, pertaining to self, on one's own,
apart. aside, privately,] to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone (Matthew 14:22-23). Additionally we see, And
in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed (Mark 1:35).
The believer in Christ is to separate himself or herself from those who do not abide in the doctrine of Jesus Christ: Whosoever transgresseth,
and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the
Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that
biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds (2 John 1:9-11). The believer is to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works
of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret (Ephesians
Jesus personally recognized the necessity and value of separation in some circumstances. For example, Jesus purposely
separated Himself for intimate seasons of prayer with His heavenly Father. After healing a man full of leprosy, Jesus, withdrew himselfinto the wilderness, and prayed (Luke 5:16). Elsewhere we read, And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship,
and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up
into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone (Matthew 14:22-23). Jesus even instructed His own
disciples in how to pray. He said, And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing
in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy
Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly (Matthew 6:5-6). Jesus even explained that the believer in Christ must separate
himself or herself from the world and its ways, and that he or she must love Christ more than his or her own family. We are told there
went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, If any man [or woman] come to me, and hate [Greek, miseo, to love
less] not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple (Luke
14:25-26). In our relationship with Jesus Christ, we must distinguish and separate our love for Christ from our love for the things
of the world; and Christ must come first.
The Lord taught Peter and His other disciples that part of why He came to earth was
not to bring peace, but division and separation. He said to them, Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay;
but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father
shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother;
the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law (Luke 12:51-53). Also, Jesus clearly
taught that the believer can expect to experience variance even with his or her own family. In sending forth His twelve disciples,
the Lord said, Think not that I am come to send peace [Greek, eirene, to join together, quietness, rest, to set at one again] on earth:I came not to send peace, but a sword [Greek, achaira, a knife or instrument for cutting or dividing, war, or conflict]. For I am
come to set a man at variance [Greek, dichazo, to make apart, alienate, set at variance] against his father, and the daughter against
her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth
father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that
taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his
life for my sake shall find it (Matthew 10:34-39).
Jesus clearly taught that, at times, distinguishing and separation were not
only desirable, but necessary. To some Jews who wanted to kill Him, and to His brethren who did not believe in Him, Jesus firmly taught,Judge [Greek, krino, to distinguish, decide mentally, conclude, condemn, determine, ordain one over another, or call into question]not according to the appearance [Greek, opsis, sight or what we see on the outside, an external show, appearance, countenance, or
face], but judge righteous [Greek, dikaios, equitable in character or act, innocent, holy, just, meet, or right] judgment [Greek,krisis, to be for or against, justice involving divine law, to express condemnation of] (John 7:24). In this context, Christ taught
that judgment of people and circumstances is necessary at times, and that our judgment should not be based upon the outward appearance,
that is, on the superficial, but upon what is equitable in character or act, what is holy, just, and right. Mental decision and the
resultiing condemnation is sometimes holy, appropriate, and periodically desired and necessary. Total inclusion, cohesion, and unity
is not always the proper path, or solution. Similarly, the apostle Peter taught that the believer must commit judgment, that is, distinguish
good from evil: Finally be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering
evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him
eschew [avoid, shun] evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his
ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil (1 Peter 3:8-12). . Isaiah even prophesied,Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet,
and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20). If the believer is to shun evil, he or she must first know the difference between good and evil.
A judgment must be made.
In our last example, Christ blessed His own disciples, and all other believers, through division. In
a passover meal, the Lord divided the symbols of Himself and His ministry, the bread and wine, and gave them to His own disciples:And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat
this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom
of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not
drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake [divide, separate
into pieces] it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the
cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you (Luke 22:14-20). Without division and separation,
there would be no Lord's supper.
Within the context of our subject verses, Paul is teaching specifically that believers in Christ
should separate from unbelievers. However, this article is not specifically about believers separating themselves from unbelievers,
but about the general idea that God, according to His will, purposes, and timing, periodically desires separation and division for
the believer regarding many things in life. In some circumstances, it becomes very clear that God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the
Holy Spirit desire acceptance, tolerance, and unity, while, at other times, they require separation, division, alienation, judgment
of right and wrong, and segregation. In the eyes of God, separation is not a bad thing; it is, at times, just a God thing. AMEN.