Biblical Separation

Author: B. W. Roeser

Sometimes it can really be tough to be a Grace Believer. In a world where it seems that everybody is a "Christian" (which, BTW, is the term coined by NON believers to describe us Acts 11:26) and the big, glittery, popular trappings of the religious system tempt the flesh it can be very easy to give in to the comforts of a big and exciting movement that makes such big promises and where new, wonderful and entertaining activities abound.  The key idea in today's religious system seems to be "strength in numbers" rather than "Thus saith the LORD".

Today’s religious system (and the one the Lord Jesus Christ took on 2,000 years ago) more resembles the system in Babylon. (See Daniel 3).

Some points about taking a stand for the truth of Paul's Gospel:

It's Specific

1 Cor 15:1-4 - There's nothing new to us here, we know that salvation comes from placing our trust in this and that it does not require any works [Rom 4:5, Eph 2:8-9, Rom 16:25-26].  

However - it can be lonely

Yup. It was lonely for Paul, too. 2 Tim 4:7-18, 2 Tim 1:15

It requires separation

Rom 16:17-18, 1 Cor 5:9-11, 2 Cor 6:14-17, 2 Ths 3:6, 2 Ths 3:14. The true followers of God (that refused to compromise) have always been in the minority. To be a Grace Believer means that you are selective about who you hang around. (1 Cor 5:9-13, Amos 3:3).  

Sometimes it requires taking a dangerous risk

Staying away from the religious system to follow Paul requires the kind of individual determination that the three Jews (Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego) demonstrated when Nebuchadnezzar set up a religious worship system and they refused to participate in it. Dan 3 Note that they did not even hesitate to tell the king exactly why (Dan 3:16).  

What are we to do about the religious system? (Come out) 2 Cor 6:14-17

Note here that Paul refers to unbelievers and idolaters. Most "Christians" do not consider themselves as such. However note that a believer here is someone who trusts in Paul's gospel. (Follow me, I am pattern, me first, etc) [1 Cor 4:16, 1 Cor 11:1-2, 2 Ths 3:6,9]. Like it or not, anyone today who does not consider Paul's gospel as the final authority is an unbeliever. (1 Cor 14:37).

What are we supposed to be doing "outside the camp" then? (Individual evangelism - not religious "activity").  How did Paul spend his time?

It lacks religious confusion

I.E. There is a consistency of experience and a clear direction based on a finished and complete document and doctrine. Religion always keeps you guessing: you're never 100% sure where the truth is. God's “will” is very elusive and a real moving target in religion.  You’re always being told to do something that will “make God happy”.  If you truly understand Paul’s Gospel you’ll notice that your salvation requires none of this.  You can rest knowing that He really did do it all.  Rom 4:5 Any activities you do in the flesh, however “good” they may look are going to get you nowhere. (Except tired!)  Rom 8:5-8. The only activity that has any meaning is learning and teaching the truth. 2 Tim 2:24-26.

One particular situation where Paul called for level-headedness instead of religious practice and superstition:  Acts 17:16-34

Peter was very clear that experience comes in second to the Word of God: 2 Pet 1:15-21 This is a real stumbling block for many believers today.  They stand on their experiences as an authority on doctrine rather than clearing same with the scriptures.  This is a very dangerous attitude to have because the enemy is very capable of counterfeiting what many believe are “signs” from God. 2 Cor 11:14. True believers rely on the preserved word as their Final authority and are not distracted by “signs” which were for Israel and are not taking place today.