The Main Reason for Separation
by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
(Chapter 1 from excellent book, Jack Hyles Speaks On Biblical Separation)
Dear Reader, Please read Introduction before reading Chapter One.
Titus 2:14, "Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." Luke 1:17, "And he shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord." Ephesians 1:5, "Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will." It is obvious from these passages as to why God created man.
Man was created for the glory of God. He was created for the praise of God. He was created in order that the great heart of God, Who is love, would have a special object of His care and recipient of His love. God does not want us basically to save us from Hell, though that is one reason. He does not want us mainly to give us Heaven, though that is another reason. He does not want us mainly to give us joy and peace, but that is certainly another reason. God mainly wants us for Himself, that we may praise Him, adore Him, magnify Him, fellowship with Him and become the object of His great love. This is why we are commanded to do everything we do to the glory of God. I Corinthians 10:31, "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
One might then ask, "Isn't it wrong to want to receive glory for yourself?" Yes, it is wrong for man to desire glory, for man does not deserve glory. It is not the desire for glory that is wrong; it is the desire for undeserved glory that is wrong. Hence, it is not wrong for God to want glory for Himself, for He is deserving of glory.
Then why isn't that the reason that God appeals to us to be saved? Why doesn't He come to man and say, "I want to be glorified. Would you trust Me as your Saviour and receive Me as your God because I will get more glory if you do?" The simple answer is that few would be saved through those incentives. So God comes to us, offers us peace, joy, Heaven and salvation from Hell if we will receive Him. When we do receive Him, He then gives us the Holy Spirit Who leads us to desire to praise God, glorify God, to fellowship with Him and to be the object and recipient of His great heart of love.
Now if God does not have us, He is jealous of whatever takes us from Him. This is the basis of separation. God wants the Christian to be separate from everything that would take away the purpose of God's creation and redemption of man. If God doesn't have all of us, He is jealous of what takes us from Himself. Exodus 20:5, "Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me." Exodus 34:14, "For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, Whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God." Deuteronomy 4:24, "For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God."
Deuteronomy 5:9, "Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me." Zechariah 1:14, "So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy."
Zechariah 8:2, "Thus saith the Lord of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury." In these and other passages in the Bible we find that God is a jealous God. At one place, He is named Jealous. We find in these passages that He is jealous of His people. He is jealous for Jerusalem. He is jealous for Zion. This means that since God made us for Himself and redeemed us for Himself, He wants us for Himself and desires that we be separate from anything that detracts from His praise, from His glory and from His fellowship with His special creation. This is the reason God is jealous of and wants us to be separate from liberal theologians and those professing Christians who do not believe the verbal inspiration of the Bible, the virgin birth, the perfect life of Christ, His deity, His vicarious death, His bodily resurrection, His ascension into Heaven and His second coming to earth. When God's people fellowship with such doubters, there is a good chance that some seeds of doubt will be lodged in their hearts.
God wants to be praised. Anything that takes away the deity of Christ could be a barrier between the praise and glory that God should receive from us. He does not want us to associate with those who doubt His honesty, His deity and His integrity. Because of this, He tells us to separate from such people.
II Corinthians 6:14-17, "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? and what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you." You will notice that we are to separate from unbelievers, from darkness, from Belial, from the unclean. God is not just being "picky"; He wants us for Himself. He wants the purpose for His creating us and redeeming us to be fulfilled. Therefore, since this would be hindered by our fellowship with those things mentioned in the above passage, He wants us separate from them.
A Christian in bad health cannot praise the Lord as much as a Christian in good health. This is why He wants us to separate ourselves from things that would impair our health, thereby limiting our ability to praise Him, honor Him and glorify Him as we should. God does not tell us to separate ourselves from unclean things such as strong drink, narcotics (which would include tobacco and alcohol), et cetera. just because He wants to restrain us from a few of His pet peeves; rather, He knows that if we partake of these things, we will limit our physical and mental ability to fulfill the purpose for our creation and redemption.
Since man can praise his God better with a sound mind than with one that is weakened and deadened, He tells us to separate ourselves from those things that would limit our mental ability to give Him the honor, glory and praise that He wants and deserves from us. "But," says someone, "jealousy is wrong, isn't it?" Certainly jealousy for man is a dangerous thing, but it is not wrong for God. God has a perfect right to our praise, our glory and our honor, and so the attribute of jealousy is certainly justifiable for God. God wants us especially for Himself. Lamentations 3:24, "The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him."
In the time of the patriarchs, the firstborn belonged to God. Later, God turned to a tribe. Instead of the firstborn being set apart for God's service, the tribe of Levi was chosen. Numbers 3:12, "And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be Mine." The Levites were chosen because of their separation after the "golden calf' sin. Exodus 32:26-28, "Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord's side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. And he said unto them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour. And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men."
The Levites were divided into three groups-the Gershonites, the Merarites and the Kohathites. Basically, the Gershonites were given the responsibility of transporting the tent and the hangings of the tabernacle as the Jews traveled from place to place. The Merarites were given the responsibility of transporting the bars, the boards and the pillars. The Kohathites were given the responsibility of transporting the furniture. The tribe of Levi had replaced the firstborn of the patriarchal days, as those given to God especially for His service.
When the Israelites got to the land of Canaan, the tribe of Levi was given no inheritance. Numbers 18:20, "And the Lord spake unto Aaron, Thou shalt have no inheritance in their land, neither shalt thou have any part among them; I am thy part and thine inheritance among the children of Israel."
Deuteronomy 10:8, 9, "At that time the Lord separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister unto Him, and to bless in His name, unto this day. Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the Lord is his inheritance, according as the Lord thy God promised him." Deuteronomy 18:1, 2, "The priests the Levites, and all the tribe of Levi, shall have no part nor inheritance with Israel: they shall eat the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and His inheritance. Therefore shall they have no inheritance among their brethren: the Lord is their inheritance, as He hath said unto them."
Ezekiel 44:27, 28, "And in the day that he goeth into the sanctuary, unto the inner court, to minister in the sanctuary, he shall offer his sin-offering, saith the Lord God. And it shall be unto them for an inheritance: I am their inheritance: and ye shall give them no possession in Israel: I am their possession." God told them that He was to be their inheritance. He was their portion. In other words, God wanted to be all that they needed.
Today all believers have access to the priesthood. God is our portion. He wants to be all that we need. He wants us to Himself. He wants our praise, our glory, our honor, our adoration, our devotion and our worship, just as He wanted to be all that was needed by the Levites.
However, this is not all that God wanted. He not only wanted to be their inheritance and for Him to be their portion, but He wanted for the Levites to be His portion. Deuteronomy 32:9, "For the Lord's portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance." Not only was He all that they needed, but they were all that He needed. He wanted them separated to Himself so that they could find their all in Him and He could find His all in them. Today, through salvation, all believers have access to the priesthood.
I Corinthians 2:5, 9, "That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." God wants us to find our all in Him, and He wants to find His all in us.
In summary, God made us for Himself. He redeemed us for Himself, and He is jealous of anything that takes us from Him. So He has made "off limits" for us anything or any person that would hinder the purpose for our creation and salvation. He did not just arbitrarily sit down and make a list of things from which He wanted us to be separated, but rather, He listed those things that would hinder the very purpose for His creation and redemption of His people.
Any personal pleasures that would detract from our purpose of being, any contact with people who would hinder God's purpose for us, or any endeavor that would damage our union with Christ for Whom we were made are out of bounds. He made you for Himself He wants you for Himself, and He wants you to separate yourself from anything or anybody that would keep Him from being your portion and keep you from being His.
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