“Come out and be separate”
The ultimate and only purpose of God in creation is to build up a family that would become, “Like Himself” in every way, in character, nature and performance. We gain this insight, initially, from Genesis 1:26-27. It is a consistent understanding in Scripture.
All the other endeavours of our God, the Lord Jesus and of the Ecclesia of God, are to enhance and forward this Divine objective. The primary reason then, for our existence at all, is for God’s glory. Hallelujah!
The term ‘separate’ is often used in our western ecclesial community to identify any of the many worldly activities, pleasures or pursuits that are not compatible or consistent with the NEW Life in Christ. This presented to me, as a young brother, a mostly negative outlook on living the Truth. Christadelphians were to stand apart from many things. This may well be true, BUT there is another and wonderfully positive side to, and reason for separateness!
We are not just separated from the world – but separated to and for God!
The term ‘Ecclesia’ we like to use, actually carries this very concept. It defines a gracious and undeserved invitation to, “Come to the Father through Jesus, His Son,” and to form an integrated part of the very family of God Himself - to take on His Name. This is a great honour extended to ‘all flesh’ (every human being) that should choose to respond to His great love. At the first, this call was extended to the descendants of Abraham’s natural family, but is now expanded to embrace the worldwide spiritual family in Christ - taken out from every nation. The Power of God (Elohim) is behind this purposefilled work of the LORD (Yahweh).
The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were termed ‘separated ones’ and basked in the glory of men, assuming a self-generated status and a role reserved for the true sons and daughters of the Living God. They were very mistaken.
Let us see the proper role for separateness in joyfully responding to the call of the Gospel. They stood apart from the misery and needs of the nation whereas our Lord entered into and engaged fully with every human weakness and wonderfully fulfilled the needs of many. He is still doing just this – and more!
Jesus of Nazareth, then, is our ever-living example.
To follow Jesus is to be fully dedicated to His service as Gospel preachers, teachers of the truth, helpers in the ecclesia, servants to all, in every way possible that will glorify ‘our Heavenly Father’ in the eyes of the world. What a lofty ideal to strive for!
Time for the unproductive, unsatisfying and worldly life we see around us to be ‘swallowed up’ and re-directed into faithful activity. This is ‘living for the Lord’ as distinct from living for self.
There is another beneficial aspect to this change. Physical and mental health, simple, personal well-being is often an attendant outcome, I believe this to be so, for many believers.
Following Jesus then is not about what, “Christians can't do,” but much more about what active believers in Jesus are doing!
Bro Neil Todd (New Zealand)