Spiritual Law of Separation
Throughout the Bible, we see God separating things and making distinctions. Even the creation account describes him as separating light from darkness, and water from the sky and dry ground (Gen 1:4, 6, 9). He intended Israel to be separate from the surrounding nations (Ezra 9:1; Esth 3:8). The New Testament continues this theme of separating or distinguishing wheat from weeds, the wise from the foolish, the righteous from the unrighteous (Mt 3:30; 13:49; 25:1-4, 32-33).
So it shouldn’t surprise us that God asks us to separate ourselves voluntarily from those who are opposed to him (2 Co 6:17; Rev 18:4). That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be around or interact with such people, because we have what they need. Jesus associated with sinners for the same reason (Mk 2:17). Rather, our character and behavior should reflect God’s to the point it’s clear we’re very different in a positive way and we don’t engage in wickedness.
The Bible uses words like “holy,” “holiness” and other related words to describe this intentional separation. The importance of holiness, however, is not what we’re separated from as much as what we’re separated to; we’re set apart for God, reserved for his praise and service. Once we acknowledge Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin and accept him as our Savior and Lord, we no longer belong to ourselves (1 Co 6:19-20).
In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church, he referred to the Christians as “sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy” (1 Co 1:2). To be sanctified is to be dedicated to God, set apart for his exclusive use and separated from profane things. Sanctification is the process of becoming or being made holy.
God calls or chooses all Christians to be holy (Ro 12:1; Eph 1:4; 1 Pet 1:15). We respond to his call by choosing to cooperate with him, then he makes us holy. We can’t make ourselves holy through our own efforts, but we clearly have a part in the process. Just as we used to be slaves to sin and wickedness, now we choose to be slaves to righteousness, which leads to holiness (Ro 6:19).
Is this really a spiritual law? Like other laws, if we do our part then God does his. This process is immutable (never changes), inviolable (God’s nature never changes so he’ll always do his part), and universal (applies to all believers in all circumstances). Our part is to reflect God’s nature so there’s a clear distinction between us and the ungodly; live as if we belong to God, not ourselves; and offer ourselves to him as if righteousness were our only option. His part is to make us holy.