Approximately eight billion of us occupy this place we call earth. Many religions, ideologies and ways of life exert influence on the world’s societies. As Christians, we live in this world, but we are also set apart from the world. For most of us, this is a paradox. What exactly does it mean?
Just what does it mean to be “set apart”? Today I want to examine this common thread of being set apart that is found in the New Testament. I will then present a series of questions designed to make us ponder these Bible verses.
The Bible leaves no doubt that we, as Christians, have been set apart from this world. Many passages make this clear. They tell us that we have been called forth from the darkness of this world. Let’s take a look at some of those verses.
Romans 12:2 “Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”
1 Peter 2:9 “But you are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may announce the praises” of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”
John 15:19 “If you belonged to the world, the world would love its own; but because you do not belong to the world, and I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you.”
Romans 12:1-2 “I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”
1 Corinthians 6:19 “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?”
2 Corinthians 5:17 “So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come.”
2 Corinthians 6:14-15 &17 “Do not be yoked with those who are different, with unbelievers. For what partnership do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what fellowship does light have with darkness? What accord has Christ with Beliar? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?” Verse 17 states, “Therefore, come forth from them and be separate,” says the Lord, “and touch nothing unclean; then I will receive you.”
- Do our lives look like someone who is set apart from the world or do we blend in and look like everyone else in this secular society?
- Have we truly been transformed, or are we conforming to this world?
- In what areas of our life are we still living in darkness?
- Jesus said if we follow after Him the world will hate us. Have we ever experienced insults, hatred, or been mistreated or maligned because of our Christian views and way of life?
- Our bodies are meant to be holy and pleasing to God. They are a temple for the Holy Spirit. Do we treat them as holy and sacred? In what ways are we treating our body that would not be pleasing to God?
- Are we storing up treasures for this earth or are we living in a way that we are storing up treasures in Heaven?
- Would a critical review of our life show that we are seeking after God or would it reveal that we are seeking after wealth, power, prestige, and the comforts of this world?
- Do we run from those things in this world that seek to pull us away from God or, like so many others, do we run after them?
- Have we truly become a new creation in Christ or are there some old things or habits that still need to pass away?
Jesus has gone forth to prepare a heavenly home for us but, first we have to navigate the often treacherous roads of this world. God longs for us to one day be in Heaven with Him but, until that day, He has called us to be set apart in this world. Does our life demonstrate that we are?
Heavenly Father, it is not easy to live in this world and be set apart from it. I often fall short. Send forth your Holy Spirit to strengthen my resolve. Help me always to live by Your Word. Amen!
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