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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lessons from Paul: Separation

     One of the most difficult separations came when my mother sent me off to school with this parting admonition: “I don’t care what all of the other kids are doing, it is wrong and you don’t do that!” Of course not all of the other kids were misbehaving at recess, just those I wanted to play with! How often throughout those early years of school, the most “fun” seemed to be waiting just outside the boundaries of the rules! Nevermind that those rules had been set down to keep us safe or to keep us from hurting some other child, they just seem to beckon us by their very forbidden nature. Fear of repercussions at home if the teacher should phone my mother to report my rebellion often kept me from breaking the rules when my playmates wanted to do it.
     What my parents were trying to teach me on an elementary level, was what the Apostle Paul had been trying to teach the disciples of the early church: Separate yourselves from rebellion and disobedience. When we choose to disobey God’s rules/laws, we are making an idol of “self” because we don’t care what anyone, even God, thinks about what we are doing; we have a “right” to do it and we will do it just like everyone else. Paul is trying to teach us that to choose not to separate ourselves from such behavior is also to choose separation from God.

II. Corinthians 6:16-18 Be Separate…
16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17“Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord. “and do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you. 18 “And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” says the Lord Almighty”.

What we must realize is this: Only those who choose to step out and be separate by following the Lord God Almighty are His sons and daughters, not just everyone on earth. Touching the “unclean things” means doing all those things God has forbidden in His laws.
     Another comforting lesson the Apostle Paul is trying to teach us through his letter to the Romans deals with what we can expect from God’s side of things. Times may get pretty tough and we feel like all is lost but we can be assured that, because of what Jesus has done for us, nothing will ever separate us from the love of God. If we choose to separate ourselves from sin and rebellion, there will never be anything on this earth that will be able to convince God to leave us or turn His back on us!

     Romans 8:35, 37 - 39: 35 “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

     Do you see it: through the love of God that is in Christ Jesus. That is the foundation of our love relationship with the Almighty God because it was the one way that Father God made for us to find forgiveness for sin and restoration of our relationship with Him.
     If we will separate ourselves from those things which do not please God, then He will promise to never let anything separate us from Him ever again! That’s a really good deal, eternally!

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