Why and how are we to be separate from the world?
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” II Corinthians 6:17, 18.
The object of being separate from the world is not to be different so we stand out and look odd, nor is it to draw attention to ourselves. The reason for coming apart from the world is to glorify God and to fulfill His purpose for our lives.
“We have a heaven to gain and a hell to shun.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 259. This principle should guide the choices we make and the things we do. In order for us to make the proper choices, we have to know the standards that are required to gain heaven, or what it takes to send us to hell.
We will look at the latter one first. What are the goals? Number one is to please self; get all you can out of this world to make self look good, to feel good, and to get attention. The number one individual is yourself. Your own feelings come first. Push anybody down so that you can be elevated; your goal is to be number one. You are concerned about the final result only as it pertains to your own desires at the present time. Many times you do good things for others to make yourself look good and benevolent.
What are the goals to gain heaven? Self is to be hid in Christ; you live to glorify God, not self.
If you are Christ’s, you think more highly of others than of yourself. You live to please God and your fellow men. You recognize that you are a being of His creation; therefore, you care for your body to honor God. You do this by obeying the rules of health so you may preserve your life to be of service to God and man. You are to dress neatly, modestly, and healthfully to honor God by being a fit representative of His kingdom.
In other words, if you eat, drink, and dress like the world, you will receive the world’s reward. If you live to honor God, you will receive the reward He offers to His children, which is eternal life with Him.
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:13, 14.
“It is by leading the followers of Christ to associate with the ungodly and unite in their amusements that Satan is most successful in alluring them into sin… God requires of His people now as great a distinction from the world, in customs, habits, and principles, as He required of Israel anciently.” The Adventist Home, 460.
“The condition of our acceptance with God is a practical separation from the world… The world may despise you because you do not meet their standard, engage in their dissipating amusements, and follow their pernicious ways; but the God of heaven promises to receive you, and to be a Father unto you.” Counsels on Health, 51.