Separation From The World

Christians often hear that they are separate from the world. Typically in Pentecostal churches, separate means wearing a skirt, having long hair, and having no jewelry or makeup (for women). Men, on the other hand, focus more on wearing nice shirts and pants, having cut hair, and perhaps no facial hair (though this is becoming phased out in many churches).

The very idea of being separated from the world places the idea that you must be different and stand out from the world (society). Dress differently, act differently, and transform yourself in the Church’s idea of what being a good Christian means.

But ask yourself this, what does it mean to be separated from the world? To be different from the world? Two Corinthians chapter six and verse seventeen says:

Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” - 2 Corinthians 6:17 NKJV

If we are to assume that to be separate refers to clothing and behavior, then we have many questions we must ask. For starters, our clothes are built usually by fashion designers who design clothing to be what consumers want. Consumers want to look good, therefore, most designers fashion clothes around appeal. Our clothes are designed to look appealing not only to us, but to the observers around us.

So, let’s throw out all brand-named clothing and focus on basic brands. These clothing products are based on a general design for mass production. Oh wait, this means that everyone else is probably buying these clothes too. Too far? Probably, but let’s remember, we want to be entirely separate from the world, right?

Okay, so let’s skip this and just move on to the next issue. We’ve found a small unique clothing store that sells Pentecostal outfits. Now, what do they offer? Since most pentecostal churches disagree with makeup and jewelry, it’s safe to say we can throw them out. But what’s next, pants? Ah, but remember, not even Jesus wore pants. He wore a tunic (a short dress or a longer blouse). So I think the best thing to do would be to simply go back to the Bible and ask what clothes did the early Christians wear because they were entirely separate from society. Except we find that the typical Middle East clothing was, in fact, skirts/dresses. In fact, look at any Asian religion (Middle East religions included) and you will find men and women wearing similar styles. While there are differences between male and female tunics, the differences were not always black and white.

So, let us go back to what the Bible says about being separate.

Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” - 2 Corinthians 6:17 NKJV

There are two points I would like to make about this verse. First, we have Paul here dealing with false teachers working with Satan or possibly out of their own agenda, and Paul is telling the church(es) of Corinth to stop allowing these teachers to teach and having a communion among the believers. This is where the “unequally yoked” verse comes into play. Paul is telling the church that Christ and Satan cannot live under the same roof. (This is not to say anything on marriages between a believer and non-believer, please don’t use this verse to try bashing a couple.) Paul says what he has to say about the issue of believers mixing Christ with Satan and goes further by using Isa. 52:11 and 2 Sam. 7:14. Paul combines these two verses and makes his point to the Corinthian church.

Depart! Depart! Go out from there, Touch no unclean thing; Go out from the midst of her, Be clean, You who bear the vessels of the LORD. - Isaiah 52:11
I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. - 2 Samuel 7:14

Now that we’ve established the first point, let’s move on to the second and final point. Second Corinthians six and seventeen says, “Do not touch what is unclean;” Under the Mosaic Law, animals, women, men, and children, could become unclean and would have to be purified. For instance, if a woman was on her period, she was considered unclean. Another instance is animal categorization. Animals were split into clean and unclean categories. Later in Acts, we read that Peter is told all things are cleaned. The Christian version of this is whether something is working for Christ or for Satan. If sinners were considered unclean, we couldn’t touch them or perhaps even speak to them. Yet, we find Jesus eating and drinking with sinners.

So again, you might be wondering where we defined what it means to be separated. We haven’t yet, but hold on. Being separated is not simply black and white. If that was true, the church of Laodicea should’ve been alright. They had the dress and the behavior, yet they lacked. Jesus said you will know his servants by their fruits. If God wanted men and women to wear particular clothing styles and certain lengths, He should’ve written it down. As it stands now, churches today tend to dictate dress codes based on societal constructs today and from ideals in the 1950s.

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