Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Meditation for the week of July 1, 2007

2 Corinthians 6:17-18 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.
John 17:18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.

When we become children of God through faith in Christ (John 1:12), we are set free from the bondage of sin. After we are saved, we are servants or bond slaves of righteousness or Christ and He is the One who gives us our marching orders. (Romans 6:18). Even though sin may tempt us and may deceive us into serving the wrong master on occasion, our real allegiance is to righteousness.

In order for our spiritual Father to play his role as Father, we who are born again need to recognize that we are now “different”. God calls us His peculiar or special people (Titus 2:14, 1 Peter 2:9). We are holy, that is, we are a people set apart for God. In order for God to be a Father to his spiritual children, we need to “separate from unbelievers” according to 1 Corinthians 6:17. This keeps us from being influenced by the attitudes of those who have rejected Christ and His claims, and it frees us to follow the Lord and to get our guidance from our heavenly Father.

Separation has been understood in various ways. Some think Christians should completely isolate themselves from the people of the world. However, in John 17 we are sent into the world to serve and to preach the Gospel. So how can we serve the Lord in the world and still not be yoked to unbelievers in such a way that they and not the Lord dictate how we live and serve? Some say we should go to taverns and bars to reach unbelievers and others say that a separated people should not do that because of the temptations that present themselves, and because going to these places makes it appear that we approve the lifestyle of those who frequent these establishments.

Most of us agree that marrying an unbeliever would give the world a place in our life that it should not have. Most of us understand that business partnerships with unbelievers will make it very difficult to maintain Christian standards in the way the business is run. But what is the rule of thumb that guides us in our social relationships with unbelievers if we want to be separated unto the Lord and yet serve Him in the world?

We need to remember that the Lord is offering the world a new life, and our relationships with the unsaved should be offering them an alternative to what they now have. We don’t become like the unsaved to reach the unsaved, we need to be different (or holy or separated) to reach them. When Paul said he became all things to all men to reach them with the Gospel (1 Corinthians 9:22), he seemed to be identifying with the way they thought in order to help them. I think he tried to find common ground in his discussions with them. However in offering the unsaved an alternative, I do believe that we can be a separated people in places and circumstances that would normally make us uncomfortable if we are there for the right reason doing the right things. I would think that any relationship or approach to the ministry that causes us to be something that is not Biblical and that we as Christians would not be if we weren’t nurturing that relationship would be an unequal yoke. In addition, we should not knowingly be using our money to support causes that the Lord would not support. Also, we should not socialize in situations where we have to participate in sin in order to pursue the relationship.

I believe a separated people serving in the world should be changing the world by reaching people with the good news of the Gospel. If we are changing the world and the world is not changing us and if we are offering the world an alternative to their present lives, then likely the Lord will be pleased with us. If instead we are being changed by the world, then we are likely going where we should not go and doing what we should not do.

Bruce Collins

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