“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.” 2 Cor 6.17 (KJV)
This is the second study in this Series, What Does it Mean? You may want to grab your coffee, your Bible and a notebook as we begin today’s study.
Read the whole chapter of 2 Corinthians 6 for context for this verse and to correct any misuse of the verse as well.
The context: Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers pleading with them that they have not received the grace of God in vain. He goes on to clarify that he and his ministry coworkers have not given offense in anything as they have given much patience, been through tribulations, imprisonments, sleepless nights, many fastings, and the list goes on. Read verses 3-10 for the details.
As in other studies I have published, I like to use the King James Version, so if you have your own favourite version, please use it to read along with me.
Paul gave an appeal for the believers not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers as there is no union between light and darkness, righteousness and lawlessness and Christ with Belial or even a believer with an unbeliever. He reminded them they are the temple of the living God and as God said in Ezekiel, Leviticus, and Jeremiah, that “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God and they shall be My people.”
Therefore, “come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” verse 17.
What are We Coming out From?
And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Eph 4.24
And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him. Col 3.10
This old carnal nature is everything that opposes righteousness. It is fornication or sexual immorality (pre-marital sex and adultery)* [see note, below], it is covetousness, filthiness or foolish talk or crude joking. It is holding on to bitterness, wrath, anger, corrupt or filthy communication, malice, deviousness, blasphemy, lying, murdering. When you look at these sins, they are sins towards others.
Basically, we are walking from and leaving behind everything that opposes righteousness.
We make the choice to walk through the ‘strait gate’ onto the ‘narrow road’ and join the ‘few that find it’ Matthew 7.13-14. We have the Spirit of the Living God who dwells in us and as we walk in the Lord, following His ways, we have the light of the Word of God to guide and direct us. We can see clearly how we ought to walk, and we cannot continue to walk in darkness. We must separate ourselves from unrighteousness!
How Do We Separate Ourselves?
To be obedient to God’s word to ‘come out from among them’, we must first make a decision to obey God. We leave behind our old carnal nature, the nature that lived in constant sin. We simply turn away from it. For example, as a young 20 year old woman, I used to drink alcohol and do drugs. I made a decision to stop that, cold turkey. No side effects, just said ‘no’ to those who offered me anything. I also gradually stopped hanging out with those friends who were into that lifestyle. I made new friends at the church and between being a new wife, and a new believer, I was busy learning how to be a Christian wife.
So, turn away from the old lifestyle. Leave behind the things that are part of that life. If friends are the problem, you will need to make a decision about that. If you are the stronger influence in that friendship and you can share Christ with them, then share Christ.
Paul wrote in Romans 12.1-2, ‘to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God‘ and ‘be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.‘
Part of the ‘how’ answer is to present ourselves to God, that is our decision, as mentioned already. The second part of the ‘how’ is toÂ renew our minds and we do that by reading the Word of God. By obeying it when we learn what it is saying to us. Don’t just take my word for it, read it for yourself. Spend time in prayer about it. Ask God what it is He wants you to do and let Him direct you back to His written word.
Be separate from among them. (based on 2 Corinthians 6.17)
Be renewed in the spirit of your mind. (based on Ephesians 4.23)
Hide the word of God in your heart so you won’t sin against Him. (based on Psalm 119.11)
Why Should we Separate Ourselves from the Rest of the World?
As Paul said in Romans 12.1-2, we are to present ourselves a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God. In the Old Testament, God commanded the Hebrew children to be separate from the people in the land they were conquering. Not to take on their idols, religious practices, or their way of life. He wanted them to stand out from the crowd. To be separated, to live a holy life. It is not any different today. He still wants that for His children.
What is in the world that we cannot be a part of? We read already in 2 Cor 6.14-16 that light and darkness do not mix, as does righteousness with unrighteousness, believers with unbelievers.This is what the word of God says. Not me. I’m only sharing what He said in His word.
Does this mean we cannot talk with our neighbours who aren’t saved? Or with our friends who laugh at us because we ‘go to church’? Or friends who are tolerant of our beliefs but don’t want to accept Christ?
We are to share the gospel message that Jesus saves, and we share this with unbelievers no matter who they are. What it does mean is that we don’t let ourselves be influenced negatively, to fall back into the old lifestyle that we have been saved from. We are to be the stronger person in the relationship. I would recommend seeking God concerning unequally yoked relationships. In all of my such relationships, I have always asked the Lord to let me be a light in their lives and if they will not receive it, to let the friendship fall aside. My goal is to be obedient to Him, at all costs.
As always, I invite your comments and feedback. Have I missed anything? Would you like to add anything? Please leave a comment, below. I’d love to hear from you!
Note: *for a great resource for the definition of ‘fornication’, follow this link.