These are great days to serve God, but they are difficult days as well. Down through the ages, born again people have zealously guarded the fundamental principles of the Gospel in the midst of unrelenting persecution, all while maintaining a life of compassion, love and burden for the lost. There was a passion to impact the world for Christ but an ongoing loyalty to the truth and unwillingness to compromise it. Early Christians were separatists and nonconformists and gladly embraced those terms that the average believer now regards as dirty, harsh and possibly offensive. As the centuries came and went and the enemy sought to do his worst, God’s people met the challenge by drawing a line in the sand and boldly declaring, “Here we stand, and we shall not be moved.”
But a monumental shift has taken place that has knocked us from our traditional moorings and has set us afloat on a sea of compromise. We have become a generation of non-separating evangelicals. We no longer are separating from those that deviate from the “faith that was once delivered to the saints” (Jude 3b). 2 Corinthians 6:14-17 warns the believer to not be “unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” In fact, it says “come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord.” The word “separate” refers to the setting of a boundary. Darkness, error and cooperation with false doctrine must be out-of-bounds for the believer. Many believers are like Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, who followed the Lord, but when asked to join wicked King Ahab said, “I am as thou art, and my people as thy people; and we will be with thee…” (2 Chronicles 18:3). This compromising decision was met with the swift indictment of God, “Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? Therefore is wrath upon thee from before the Lord.”
Those who deny the fundamentals of the faith must not be given “spiritual recognition” by God’s people, and certainly not spiritual cooperation. Evangelicals have stopped contending and have begun compromising the faith. They are accepting the non-evangelical element as legitimate and equally Christian. The lack of separation by God’s people has led to a growing spirit of confusion amongst the unsaved and believer alike. Separation should not be viewed negatively by a Christian but rather positively. It is boldly declaring that you are exclusively on the Lord’s side. It is a decision to give no aid or to render no service to the enemies of the Gospel. Love them; yes, reach them; yes, but do not dignify or support their error. To take such a stand may sound the alarm of many and cause others to view you as some kind of spiritual maverick, but never forget that it puts you squarely into the camp of thousands of believers who have marched faithfully through the corridors of history.
Post by: Matthew Little, NBBI Faculty
This article appears in the February 2011 NBBI Open Bible Bulletin