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Separation:- 1 |2 | 3 |4 |

IV. Separation from the world.

By Nelson Thomas Mumbai

Summary: - The Lord Jesus Christ dwelt much upon our relation with the world.
Right understanding of the world in the Biblical point of view is essential to live a separated life and yet fulfilling our duty to the world.

            More than anything else, the Lord Jesus Christ emphasized our separation from the world. The main theme of His intercessory prayer was our life in this world. John.17:6,11ff. The word ‘world' is repeated 19 times here. As the Lord Jesus Christ is about to leave this world He gives the disciples in the hands of the Father in prayer. Not only He prayed for them, but also for those who would believe in the Lord Jesus Christ through their testimony -that is you & me. John.17:19.

Now, the natural question would be, if ‘God so loved the world' (John.3:16) why should we separate ourselves from the world? Why can't we too love the world? 1John.2:15.

What is the world?
              In the New Testament we find that the term ‘world' has been used in various meaning.
              •  ‘Earth' – “before the foundation of the world.” Ephesians.1:4
             •  ‘Age / dispensation' – “the world to come”. Hebrews.2:5; 6:5.
             •  ‘People' “God so loved the world” John.3:16
             •  “Evil system' – “Love not the world”. 1John.2:15.
        Viewed as the earth/universe, world must be enjoyed - enjoy the beauty of God's creation. Mountains, valleys, colorful flowers and various living creatures all declare the greatness of our God as the creator. Viewed as people, world must be loved. As God loved, we ought to love all the inhabitants of this world.

        However, viewed as an evil system, world must not be loved. When God loved the world, it was holy love of redemption - to save sinners. John.3:16. Our love for the world system is selfish love for involvement – to share its evil. Christians are exhorted to be away from such affection for the world. 1John.2:15.

          It is in this ethical sense the Bible refers to the world as something that believers ought to be careful about. We can refer it as the system / style or the spirit of the world.

Four things about the world system:-

I. It is contrary to the divine plan.

John.17:25:- world doesn't know the Father.
John.15:18:- world hates the Lord and His people.
John.14:17:- World does not know the Spirit.
1John.3:1:- World does not know God and His people.

              The world has no place for the Triune God and His people. World does not understand / regard / appreciate recognize the believers. The world system, it's course, its style is against God and His people. So we can not expect any good thing from this world.

II. It is controlled by the wicked one.

        Devil is called the prince of world. Ephesians.2:2; 1John.5:19; John.14:30; 16:11 . From behind the scene spirit of the wicked one controls the world. Cf. Ephesians.6:12. Often we do not notice it, yet it is a true fact that behind various world incidents satanic hands are there! World system, its going, its spirit, and its policy is guided and controlled by the evil forces. Does it mean God failed? No, He has just allowed-permitted them for now. He will fulfill His plan in due time. If we follow this world system today, later we shall be ashamed.

iii. Corrupted by satanic influences.

            “All that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” 1John.2:16
          Apostle John speaks of the things that the world system can contribute; things that will satisfy the cravings of the fallen /sin nature, the appetite of the sinful eyes, the desire to be great, popular, superior etc. Nothing else the world system gives for man.
          In other word whatever we see in the world is not for our benefit as far as a Christian is concerned.

         Often we hear about air pollution, noise pollution, water pollution etc, but no body is concerned about pollution that affects the mind of man, especially through media. Apostle Peter wrote about it 2000 years ago. 2Peter.2:20. Things we see, hear, read are all influencing / affecting us, most of the time adversely because the world has no good in itself. In this sense the world is fully corrupted, wicked. We need to escape these by keeping safe distance/ separation.

iv. It has been condemned to be destroyed.

              1Jn.2:17 “ And the world passeth away, and the lust there of.”
              1Cor. 7:31b:- “ For the fashion of this world passeth away.”
One day every thing shall vanish away—world and all its glory, system. Cf. John.12:31; 16:11 ; Revelation.20:11; 21:1
            In such a world we live and the Lord wants us to keep separation in every walk of our life.

In His high priestly prayer the Lord Jesus Christ dwelt upon our life in this world so much. Let us consider what does Christ says about our relation with this world.

Six things about a Christian and the world.

            Just before the Lord Jesus Christ was caught and crucified, He prayed to the Father that we find in John chapter 17. This prayer is known as the high priestly prayer of Christ. He prays for His people including you and me. He refers to six important things about our relation with the world. Understanding those truths in all its seriousness will help us in our day to day life in this world.
        I. Taken from the world. . John .17:6
 Once we walked according to the course of this world and enjoyed it. Ephesians.2:2. Now the Lord has chosen us out of the world for Himself. John.15:19.
       ii. Not of the world. John.17:14b, 16
 Not only that we have been taken out of this world, we have been given a new life which is not of this world. John.1:13. So we are the citizens of heaven. Philippians.3:21. Thus Christians have a distinct identity. Not of the world but a different race!

       This is something hard for some to comprehend. How can we say that we are not of this world and yet we live here? Example of a boat is often taken to illustrate it. Boat is in the sea - in the waters, but if water get inside the boat, it is dangerous. So are we, we though we are here in this world, we should live in such a manner that we should not allow the world in come inside us! “Because as He is, so are we in this world.” 1John.4:17b

        Another example is of a diver who goes to the depth of the sea for various purposes —with oxygen cylinder he goes—under the sea, it's creatures would think he is one of them! But he is not of the sea, he is there for a short period for a particular purpose.

       iii. Hated by the world. John.17:14
 This world will not understand us. 1 John.3:1. It will not listen to us either. 1John.4:5, 6. Instead the world will give trials. John.16:33. Never forget we live in such a world that hated the Lord Jesus Christ. John.1:10; 15:18, 19. The world was not worthy for the saints in the past. Hebrews.11:38. Down through the centuries God's people faced the same experience from the world: misunderstood, hated and rejected. Expect nothing more.

        Hatred is the characteristic of the world - as love is of the Lord's people. Nevertheless believers should never hate the people of this world.

       iv . Kept in the world. John.17:11.
As we continue in this hostile world, the Lord has not left us alone. We are protected and provided by the Lord.

       v. Placed with a purpose. John. 17:18, cf. 11a, 15a.
“As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.” Cf. 1John.4:17 ‘As He is so are we'

        He does not want to take us home soon—why? As the Father sent Him, He has sent us, placed us here in this world. We have a mission: –to complete the work the Lord has initiated. Cf. John.17:21, 23 “world may believe’.

        We can not just escape this world; need to remain here to fulfill the interest of our homeland - as an ambassador. A diplomat's only aim is to represent his country and do some thing for his country. So are we here. We are not supposed to interfere in the affairs of the host country. If any problem occurs between the countries, diplomats are pulled back immediately!

        As already mentioned, separation is not isolation. We must be unworldly without being other worldly. Fulfill the duty for which we have been placed.

       vi. Be ready to leave the world! Jn.17:24

Notice the longing of the Lord Jesus Christ –we may be with Him in glory. Is it not true that every death of a saint is an answer to this prayer? Then we should be ready too. Be prepared to leave.
       “ For I am in a strait between two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better.” Philippians.1:22
       “ Hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1Peter.1:13
       “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.” 2Timothy.4:6

We must look forward to that day when the Lord Himself shall appear in the air to take us to Himself. Such a longing will comfort us and prompt us to purify ourselves. Cf. 1 Thessalonians.4:17; 1Jn.3: 2.

V. How to live a separated life in this world?

Summary: - It is not effortless for a Christian to survive in this world as a faithful witness to Christ,
but the following steps will help us to succeed.

        We have seen a lot about the world and our relation with it. Yet we reside here. It is the Lord's purpose that we may continue in this world for His glory. How shall we live in this wicked world? There are number of things we should be careful about. At least six things are found in the New Testament.

1. Not to love the world 1John.2:15
        If we cherish affection for the world we can not enjoy the love of the Father. We can not serve two masters. We can not love the world through out the week and show love for God on the Lord’s Day.
       Psalm.97:10:- Ye that love the Lord hate evil. Love and hatred go together!
       Galatians.6:14:- Consider ourselves as crucified to the world.

2. Not to be spotted by the world James. 1:27
 Affection – a preference for the world leaves a mark. Bad testimony is not easily gone.

3. Not to be conformed to the world. Romans.12:2
        As a result of many spots we may be conformed to the world gradually! 1Peter. 1:14 We are not suppose to follow the fashions of this world. Cf. Matthew. 13:22 Care for this world would chokes up the word of God in our life. A life after the world destroys the effectiveness of the word in the life of a Christian. What is the solution? Christina must be transformed daily.

4. Not to be captured by the world. . 2Timothy.4:10
       Demas loved the world and went after it. Notice how the world slowly taking hold of a Christian. If not careful still this can take place. Cf. 1 Timothy.1:19, 20. Luke.21:34

5. Not to abuse the world. 1Corinthinas.7:30b, 31
        Not to overuse the world, not to be attached so much to it. In other word, be ready to disown what ever we use here as essential for our existence and life. We must use the things of this world only as a necessity .cf. 2Peter.3:10; 1John.2:17.

6. Not to be defeated by the world- overcome. 1John. 5:4, 5; 4:4
 We can be over comers by the help of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

7. Not to keep quite John.14:31
 ‘Let the world know' We have been placed in this world to testify of the Lord. Let us do it faithfully. John 17:21, 23.

        The above points are just some of the key precautions that we should take while living in this world. Yes, beloved, it is not easy for a Christian to continue in this world as a faithful witness to the Lord Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, the comforting truth is that His presence is with us. He is interceding for us in glory; His Holy Spirit indwells in us to equip us and the word of guides us. Let us prayerfully and humbly live for Christ, looking for that day when He shall come and take us to His presence.

This world is not my home I am just passing through
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me from heavens open door
And I can't feel at home in this world any more.”
     Jim Reeves

Points to ponder:-

How do you view this world system?
Is it our effort to follow the trend of this world or be away?
As Christians, though we live in this world, we are not of this world.
Are we ready to leave this world as the Lord is earnestly longing for it?


Prepared by Nelson Thomas as part of his teaching ministry. You are free to use it for your personal study. You can also reproduce this article in any medium, provided it is unedited, and retain the original author / copyright information and
reference to this website. Please feel free to write to the author for details. Or contact    gracepeaceu AT gmail.com