Boletim dos Obreiros

Separation from Evil - Holiness

2 Corinthians 6:14 to 7:1

The indulgence with which many so called Christians live in relation to the practice of evil is frightening! There is notorious indifference in the context of many that make up the roster of members of so-called Evangelical churches with regard to the necessary evidence of new life well defined in the text of 2 Corinthians 5:17 ... "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things are become new. " Promiscuity with evil, in the practice of life said to be Christian, is becoming increasingly natural and passively accepted by leaders also committed to such a practice frowned upon by the Scriptures.

2 Corinthians 6:14 a 7:1 is one of the texts in the Bible which is clearer and more scathing  about the need for "separation from evil" (holiness) in the believer's life. Many Bible scholars believe that this paragraph is out of context, because it would have been a loose sheet of the letter that was lost (severe letter from Paul to the Corinthians) mentioned in 1 Corinthians 5:9. The way that Paul uses in his strong argument in favour of "holiness" is very incisive, using questions that lead inevitably to negative responses. He seeks to define clearly the absolute impossibility of permanent connection between the believer and the world, which is controlled by Satan.

Paul treats, therefore, in the text under study, of the importance of "Holiness" in Christian experience. Let's see:

1- The personal responsibility of the Christian in the exercise of Holiness (v. 14a).

Paul states: "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers". He is, of course, speaking of "practical sanctification", this is  that which develops in Christian procedure by his exclusive initiative and personal responsibility. It has nothing to do with the "positional sanctification", that is, the one we reach by the grace of God and that we accepted graciously by the effectiveness of the redemptive work of Christ on Calvary, in the act of our sincere faith. In this sense, God sees us sanctified in Christ Jesus, by the power of His blood (Ephesians 2:11 -17).

Remember that in the concept of "sanctification",  is implied the notion of "separation" of the things of the world and separation unto God. In the text Paul makes it clear our personal responsibility in exercising the "practical sanctification" practice when he says "do not be". This sanctification is only achieved as a result of our "wanting" and our "doing". To "be holy" we need "to want" be holy and "to do" for being holy! Paul uses a metaphor very own to highlight this fact, which is taken of horses and oxen which, being placed under a common yoke, to produce good work, should walk and pull together in the same direction, with the same target or otherwise, will have serious problems.

Believers and unbelievers do not have the same principles, natures, or goals. Cannot, therefore, walk together, in harmony, because they are not in agreement as to the essential Affairs of life, sin, Salvation, the glory of God and the Gospel (Amos 3: 3). Therefore, it is not wise to the believer who marries an unbeliever (1 Corinthians 7:39), which forms a society with an unbeliever, which searches for the company and the Association of the unbelievers, that with them brings worship or orient religious projects.

However, these principles and advice should not be understood as a ban on any contact, conversation, relationship, or business with the civil society, because if that were so, believers would have to live out of this world. But God put us in the world to be "salt and light" (Matthew 5:13 -16) to testify to all men and to be an example of his grace, even to those who despise his name. However, fetch-if an Alliance or unnecessary society with someone you don't know or love to our master would be madness. So, this "prohibition" applies to marital relationships, commercial, ecclesiastical and interpersonal.

2- The absolute incompatibilities (vs. 14b-16)

Paul has, then, through a series of questions, an indisputable assertion of argumentation principle regarding the essentiality of "sanctification" in the Christian life. Offers five examples of "absolute incompatibilities", which define this essential sanctification of the believer. The only possible answer to each of these questions argumentation is negative. With this way of arguing Paul emphasizes the folly of adoption of "yoked", in various circumstances of life.

To search an alliance and unnecessary society with someone you don't know nor loves our master would be madness, since "what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness?" Also, "what communion has light with darkness?" How absurd it would be to think of joining in a comfortable association darkness and light, or water and fire (1 Corinthians 10:20,21; Ephesians 5: 5-11). Also "what accord has Christ with Belial?" Christ, who dwells in us and we in him, do not have communion nor consensus with Satan. Therefore, how can we enjoy fellowship unnecessary or useless to those who demonstrate they are themselves children of the devil? Christ is our life, our serving; but the portion of the wicked-of the unbelievers,-is the sin, the ego and the eternal damnation. So, what do we have or we share nodes that give us a common basis for communion? Therefore, "Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?".

The argument for believers to depart the company of wicked, to separate from them and to avoid holding an unequal, unnecessary and useless yoke "in communion" is reinforced by the question: "what agreement has the temple of God with idols?" Certainly, we are the sanctuary of God, because he said, "I will dwell in them and walk among them; I will be their God, and they shall be my people ". See 1 Corinthians 3:16 and Ephesians 2:21 and 22. Idols have no life, they are dead things and representatives of dead men. So, what consensus or what part may life have with death? We cannot, walking with the faithful God, find more joy and solace in fellowship with unbelievers, than the joy and solace that we wouold have in bringing or introducing dead idols in the temple of the living God! Or, in other words, it is absolutely impossible to enjoy communion with the living God and unbelievers; he is puzzled or surprised as to the prior reasons that lead believers to seek such alliances and what consensus or communion is possible arising from such unions, because they have nothing in common.

3- The divine order concerning "practical sanctification" (vs. 17-18)

Paul quotes the Old Testament, not literally, but keeping its true teaching. In the same quote he uses another passage (Isaiah 52:11 and Jeremiah 31:1,9). Israel was a special people, the elected nation (Deuteronomy 7: 6-8), and therefore it was ordained to separate itself from idols, pagan people and evil ways.The believer is chosen or elected by God, beloved, gathered and called to a life of righteousness. Therefore, he must "separate himself" (and this is the meaning of "sanctification") from superstition and religion imagined or invented by the same man in transcendent matters of the soul or spirit. He will separate himself from the bad habits and bad ways of the world and conduct himself as a child of the King; he will separate himself from  perverse and immoral people, no longer wishing to stay with them in their sins, nor will he expose himself to their wickedness through an association. God does not become our Father for our splitting away from worldly associations, because He is our Father by grace and adoption by His own will in Christ, but He will take care of us as a father of his children in our needs (Matthew 6:31-33).

4 – The final recommendation of Paul (7:1)

Paul makes a timely final recommendation regarding the exercise of "sanctification". Motivated by the "promises" that we have, "let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit". We must cleanse us of all the filth that can corrupt the body and the spirit, by the grace of God (1 Corinthians 5:10), through the word (Psalm 119: 9-11), with the help of the spirit of God, keeping us pure, not only of carnal corruption, such as profanity, dishonesty, intemperance, sexual impurity, idolatry, but also of the errors of the spirit, such as the vanity, envy, greed, malice, evil thoughts and self-righteousness.

The result that Paul points out of that type of attitude is the "perfecting of holiness in the fear of God". Our life of obedience should be motivated not only by our love of God for us and our love for him (2 Corinthians 5:14 .15), but also  by the fear of the Lord" (Proverbs 3: 7; 16: 6). The fear of the Lord for the believer is not a servile or enslaving fear, nor fear of wrath and hell, but rather a reverential affection as a child toward a parent. The fear of the Lord emanating from respect, trust and dependence on Him and a vision for His glory and approval (2 Corinthians 5:9).

Conclusion - Consider seriously the teaching of Paul. There has to be, as a matter of urgency, a change of attitude on the part of leaderships called Evangelical and of thos who call themselves Christians, as to tolerance to the detestable promiscuity with evil (sin),  because nobody deceives God and the consequences of that rebellious attitude to divine guidance will be disastrous, affecting the work of the Lord and placing us under the inevitable disapproval of God (Isaiah 1:11 -17).

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