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A Call To Separation

By Arthur Pink

"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" (2 Cor. 6:14-18).

This passage gives utterance to a Divine exhortation for those belonging to Christ to hold aloof from all intimate associations with the ungodly. It expressly forbids them entering into alliances with the unconverted. It definitely prohibits the children of God walking arm-in-arm with worldlings. It is an admonition applying to every phase and department of our lives, religious, domestic, social, commercial. And never, perhaps, was there a time when it more needed pressing on Christians than now. The days which we are living are marked by the spirit of compromise. On every side we behold unholy mixtures, ungodly alliances, unequal yokes. Many professing Christians appear to be trying how near to the world they may walk and yet go to heaven.

"Be ye not unequally yoked together." This is a call to godly separation. In each dispensation this Divine demand has been made. To Abraham Jehovah's peremptory word was, "Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house." To Israel He said, "After the doings of the land of Egypt wherein ye dwelt shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land neither shall ye walk in their ordinances" (Lev. 18:3). And again, "Ye shall not walk in the manners of the nations which I cast out before you" (Lev. 20:23).

It was for their disregard of these very prohibitions that Israel brought down upon themselves such severe chastisements. At the beginning of the New Testament we are shown the forerunner of Christ standing outside the organized Judaism of his day, calling on men to flee from the wrath to come. The Saviour announced that, "He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out." (John 10:3). On the day of Pentecost the word to believers was, "Save yourselves from this untoward generation." (Acts 2:40) Later, to the Christian Hebrews Paul wrote, "Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp." (13:13) God's call to His people in Babylon is, "Come out of her, My people, that ye be not be partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." (Rev. 18:4)

"Be ye not unequally yoked together." This is God's word unto His people today. Nor does it stand alone. In Rom. 16:17 it is said, "Mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them." In 2 Tim 2:20 we read, "In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the Master's use." 2 Tim. 3:5 speaks of those "having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof," then is added, "from such turn away."

What a word is that in 2 Thess. 3:14, "If any man obey not our word by this epistle, not that man, and have no company with him." How radical is the admonition of 1 Cor. 5:11, "Now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortion: with such an one no, not to eat."

"Be ye not unequally yoked together." We are fully persuaded that it is disregard of this commandment it is, which is largely responsible for the low state which now obtains so generally among Christians, both individually and corporately. No wonder the spiritual pulse of many churches beats so feebly. No wonder their prayer-meetings are so thinly attended; Christians who are unequally yoked have no heart for prayer. Disobedience at this point is a certain preventative to read and whole-hearted devotion to Christ. No one can be an unshackled follower of the Lord Jesus who is, in any way, "yoked" to His enemies. He may be a truly saved person, but the testimony of his life, the witness of his walk, will not honor and glorify Christ.

"Be ye not unequally yoked together." This applies first to our religious or ecclesiastical connections. How many Christians are members of so-called 'churches,' where much is going on which they know is at direct variance with the Word of God--either the teaching from the pulpit, the worldly attractions used to draw the ungodly, and the worldly methods employed to finance it or the constant receiving into its memberships of those who give no evidence of having been born again.

Believers in Christ who remain in such 'churches' are dishonoring their Lord. Should they answer: "Practically all the churches are the same, and were we to resign, what could we do? We must go somewhere on Sundays," such language would show they are putting their own interests before the glory of Christ. Better stay home and read God's Word, than fellowship that which His Word condemns.

"Be ye not unequally yoked together." This applies to membership in Secret Orders. A yoke is that which unites. Those who belong to a "lodge" are united in solemn oath and covenant with their "brother" members. Many of their fellow-members give no evidence of being born again. They may believe in a "Supreme Being", but what love have they for God's Word? What is their relation to God's Son? "Can two walk together except they be agreed?" (Amos 3:3) Can those who owe their all to Christ, both who "despise and reject" Him? Let any Christian reader who is thus unequally yoked get from under it without delay.

"Be ye not unequally yoked together." This applies to marriage. There are but two families in this world: the children of God, and the children of the devil. (1 John 3:10) If, then, a daughter of God marries a son of the evil one, she becomes a daughter-in-law to Satan! If a son of God marries a daughter of Satan, he becomes a son-in-law to the devil! By such an infamous step an affinity is formed between one belonging to the Most High and one belonging to His archenemy "Strong language!" Yes, but not too strong. And oh the bitter reaping from such a sowing. In every case it is the poor Christian who suffers.

Read the inspired histories of Samson, Solomon, and Ahab, and see what followed their unholy alliances in wedlock. As well might an athlete, who attached to himself a heavy weight, expect to win a race, as a Christian to progress spiritually by marrying a worldling. Oh what watchfulness in prayer is needed in the regulation of our affections!

"Be ye not unequally yoked together." This applies to business partnerships. Disobedience at this point has wrecked many a Christian's testimony and pierced him through with many sorrows. Whatever may be gained of this world by seeking it's avenues to wealth and social prestige, will but poorly compensate for the loss of fellowship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. Read Prov. 1:10-14. The path which the disciple of Christ is called to read is a narrow one, and if he leaves it for a wider road, it will mean severe chastenings, heart-breaking losses, and perhaps the forfeiting the Savior's "Well done" at the end of the journey.

We are to hate even the "garment"--figure of our habits and ways--spotted by the flesh (Jude 23), and are to keep ourselves "unspotted from the world." (James 1:27) What a searching and sweeping word is that in 2Cor. 7:1, "Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." If any occupation or association is found to hinder our communion with God or our enjoyment of spiritual things, then it must be abandoned. Beware of "leprosy" in the garment. (Lev. 13:47) Anything in my habits or ways which mars happy fellowship with the brethren or robs me of power in service, is to be unsparingly judged and made an end of--"burned." (Lev. 13:52) Whatever I cannot do for God's glory must be avoided.



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