Separation and Redemption

Separation Brings Unity

We hear a lot about unity today, but I want to look at separation. You will see that separation and redemption brings unity. It is an amazing thing.

Throughout the Word of God, the Bible declares there is no redemption without separation. None! In Genesis 12:1, we find Abraham being called out by God from Ur of the Chaldees to go to the Promised Land. In Exodus 20:1, 2, we find these words: “And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.”

In Matthew 1:21, we have the familiar text of Scripture where Gabriel said, “Thou shalt call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins.”

Jesus came into this world to separate His people from sin. “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.” 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18.

Redemption Demands Separation

There is no redemption without separation. The final call of God to His people will be, “Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins.” Revelation 18:4. From Genesis to Revelation there is a thread that runs through all that God says to His people, and this thread is separation, separation!

God illustrates this separation to which He calls His people by calling them “…a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9.

Jesus illustrates the work of separation as calling His people out of darkness into light. He separates us from the darkness into the light. There are three truths revealed in this text that we want to look at.

  1. He separates us from darkness. He brings us out of the darkness of sin and error and confusion into the light of truth.
  2. He separates us to show forth His praises. The marginal reference for praises in the King James Version says virtues. God wants to separate us from the darkness of this world and bring us into the light of His truth, so we can show forth His virtues, His goodness to a world that does not have any idea what kind of God we serve.
  3. Separation comes by God! He is the only One who can separate us from the darkness and bring us into the light. All our efforts, no matter how good they might be, will leave us short and still in the darkness without God. God is the only One! He has the power to bring us out of the darkness into the light. There is no redemption without separation.

A Foreign Word

When you look in Webster’s Dictionary under the word separation, you find these singular definitions: “Divide, sever, disunite, isolate, alone.” Separation seems to denote a lot of negatives, and I would suggest to you, that before sin entered this universe the word separation was a foreign word in the language of heaven.

Scripture tells us what heaven was like before sin entered. Everything was in harmony: “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” Isaiah 32:17. That is heaven.

Let us look at those words, “the work of righteousness”,—they infer an outward work. We know that righteousness means right doing, doing what is right. In heaven, before sin began, everyone was doing the work of righteousness. They were doing what was right, at the right time, for the right reason.

The foundation for all of God’s righteousness is found in Psalm 119:172, which says, “All Thy commandments are righteousness.” The foundation of all of God’s righteousness, the righteousness of heaven before sin entered, is His Law, His commandments. Every being in heaven, in the vast universe of God’s creation, was in harmony with God’s Law.

It is a wonderful thing to be in harmony with God’s Law. You can see the world from a different perspective if you are in harmony with the Law. All heaven was in harmony with God’s Law, and it brought forth the fruit of righteousness.

The effect of the work of righteousness, and outward revelation of harmony with God’s Law, was quietness. No sound of murmuring or complaining was heard in the courts above, before sin began. Why? Because everyone who was in harmony with God’s Law of righteousness, had quietness within their hearts. They were at peace with God, their Creator, and they were at peace with one another. There was no murmuring; there was no complaining heard.

The effect of righteousness is quietness and assurance. Righteousness brings assurance to your heart. Assurance of what? Assurance that the Creator God loves you as a personal being and that He is no respecter of persons. He loves you the same as He loves me.

Before sin there was an assurance brought forth by this work of righteousness that was in harmony with God’s Law, a personal assurance that all was well. There was no sound of envy. There was no sound of jealousy. There was no striving to be number one. Why? Because the work of righteousness brings not only quietness, but it also brings assurance that you are accepted. Righteousness, God’s righteousness, produced a harmony in heaven before sin entered.

The Sound of Separation

“So long as all created beings acknowledged the allegiance of love, there was perfect harmony throughout the universe of God. It was the joy of the heavenly host to fulfill the purpose of their Creator. They delighted in reflecting His glory and showing forth His praise. And while love to God was supreme, love for one another was confiding and unselfish. There was no note of discord to mar the celestial harmonies.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 35.

And then the next word says, “But!” “But a change came over this happy state.” Ibid. And you and I know all about that change. The word separation was introduced when sin was originated in the mind of a created being. And the word separation brought a sound that was totally foreign to the universe of God.

The sound of separation began with a created being. What was this sound that was so different from anything heaven had ever heard up to that point? “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” Ezekiel 28:15.

When you look up the Hebrew definition of the word iniquity, interestingly enough you will find that it means unrighteousness was found in thee. So from the sound of righteousness that was in perfect harmony with God’s Law, now we had another sound, and that was the sound of unrighteousness.

The Sound of Unrighteousness

What does God call this sound of unrighteousness that now was becoming more prevalent in the kingdom of God? “All unrighteousness is sin.” 1 John 5:17. “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the Law: for sin is the transgression of the [God’s] Law.” 1 John 3:4.

So this new sound, the sound of unrighteousness, came into being as a result of choosing to be out of harmony with God’s Law. And to show you how foolish sin is, let me use an example.

There is not one of us who would jump out of a plane with a parachute and half way down cut the parachute away. No, because we respect the physical Law of gravity too much to do that. God wants to help us see that He has this marvelous Law that is filled with His love. Romans 13:10 tells us, “Love is the fulfilling of the Law.” God has filled His Law full with His love. It is for our good.

So now we have this sound of unrighteousness reverberating through the universe. It started with one created being. Separation from God’s Law brings a new sound, the sound of unrighteousness. Isaiah 59:2 tells us of the ultimate separation that takes place as a result of imbibing this new sound. “But your iniquities [What are iniquities? They are unrighteousness. What is unrighteousness? It is sin. What is sin? It is the transgression of God’s Law. It is separating ourselves from God’s Law. Now what do they do?] have separated between you and your God.” That is what takes place when we choose to imbibe the sound of unrighteousness, to listen to unrighteousness and to practice unrighteousness, which is transgressing God’s Law. We have chosen to separate ourselves from the God who created us.

Separation from Sin Reunites Us to God

Now, if separation from God’s Law, or His righteousness, separates us from God, then separation from sin will reunite us to God. Do you see that? The gospel is simple. The only thing that will reunite us to God is separation from sin. And what is sin? Sin is the transgressing of God’s Law. It is our separation from God’s Law.

Matthew 1:21 tells us that Jesus came into this world to save us from sin, from our sins. He came into this world to separate us from sin. If He came to separate us from sin, which is the transgression of God’s Law, then He came to bring us back into harmony with God’s Law!

He is calling us out of the darkness of error, the darkness of unbelief, the darkness of falsehood into the bright light of His truth—if we will receive it, if we will respond. He has the power to separate us from the darkness unto the light. He is the only Being in the entire universe who can separate us, whether we are young or old, from the darkness of sin into the bright light of His righteousness.

Separated from the Darkness into His Light

What is the power that Jesus only can give us, which will help us to be separated from our sins, separated from the darkness into His light? We find our answer in Romans 1:16, 17. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith.”

The power is in His righteousness! The power that we can access is Christ’s righteousness! If we are willing to receive it, it is user friendly.

If the power is in His righteousness, that means that righteousness is also embodied in His Law. “All Thy commandments are righteousness.” Psalm 119:172.

Three Requirements for Power

There are three things necessary for us to access, or to receive and reveal this righteousness, three things in which God is asking us to cooperate with Him so that we might receive His righteousness. In receiving His righteousness, we receive His power, power that will enable us to separate ourselves from the darkness of sin into the light of His truth.

Faith: First is a marvelous promise, but there are tremendous conditions attached. “But without faith it is impossible.” Hebrews 11:6. We can go no further without faith. If we choose to not have faith, it is impossible to be separated from the darkness and to be brought into the light.

God cannot do anything unless we have faith. Faith in what? Faith in His Word. That is the only thing in which God is asking you to have faith. What He has said, He wants us to believe. But if we do not have faith, it is impossible to be separated from sin. Notice the kind of faith that God wants us to have. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Ibid.

Do you have that kind of faith? Can you have that kind of faith? Yes, if you base it on the Word of God, but if you are trying to have that kind of faith based on your feelings or based on your own works, you will fail. It is impossible.

We can have that kind of faith if we simply come to God’s Word, believe what God says, and go no further. Let us stop adding and subtracting. Let us believe what God has said and believe that God means what He says.

That is what He wants from us—to believe that He is and to believe that He is a rewarder of them that diligently, consistently, constantly seek Him, believing that He will reward us according to the promise. Faith is number one, but we see that it has to be a certain kind of faith.

It is the kind of faith that God asks for, not the kind of faith that you and I try to exercise in and of ourselves, apart from Him, having good feelings and occasionally being on a religious high. No, God wants us to be consistent, constant, diligent and faithful. Can we be? Yes, if we are basing it all on His Word, His promises, with nothing added, nothing subtracted.

Obedience (or Works): Second, there is another condition, if we are going to access the righteousness of Jesus. This righteousness of Jesus is the power that is going to enable us to separate ourselves from all sin. Here is the condition: “But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?” James 2:20–22.

So, we need two things; we need faith and works. Now let us consider Hebrews 11:8. Abraham was mentioned as an illustration of someone who had faith with works. Notice what those works were:

“By faith Abraham, [So we know that Abraham had faith, but what are the works?] When he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed.” Do you see any works there? Obedience! God is looking for obedience as the fruit of our faith.

The third necessary item we need to access the righteousness of God, to give us the power to separate from sin, is a motivating influence.

Love: Faith and obedience need a motor. They need a motive, and this is it: “For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” Galatians 5:6.

There it is. That is the motivating influence. It is the greatest influence that we need to move us to choose to exercise the kind of faith that we saw in Hebrews 11:6 and to work the works that we saw in James 2. We need the motive of love, and there is only one Being who can give us that love. It is the same One who gives us His righteousness—Jesus.

Jesus wants us to have a faith that works by love. How do we get that? Well, in 1 John 4:19, John says, “We love Him, because He first loved us.”

We will never love God until we believe that God loves us. You can have good desires; you can have good intentions; you can have religion. But until you personally believe that God loves you, you will never love Him supremely to the degree that you will have a faith that works and allows Him to separate you from sin and from darkness.

The Price of Redemption

What has Jesus paid to give us an opportunity to choose to be separated from sin? We are going to go right to the heart of the issue. Jesus had been ministering for three and a half years to a people who did not want to be separated from their sins, to a people who had chosen to love darkness rather than light, to a people who would rather hear the sound of unrighteousness than the sound of heaven and its righteousness. For three and a half years Jesus had been separated from every human being, to a great degree, by misunderstanding.

They did not understand Him. Jesus experienced an emotional separation that we can never fully understand. It was part of the price, coming into a world that loved darkness rather than light. And now He is in a garden. “And He went a little further, and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, ‘O My Father, if it be possible,…’”

Was it possible? Oh, yes, it was possible. It was possible, but it would have meant that it would have been impossible for you and for me. Yes, for Jesus it was possible to get up off that ground and go back to heaven. But He would leave us in an impossible situation, because without Him, we would never be separated from sin. Never!

“…let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will but as Thou wilt.’” Matthew 26:39.

Not My Will, Thine be Done

That is the genuine motive of every true, born-again Christian. “Not as I will but as Thou wilt.” Every temptation, every trial that we go through in life, as professed Christians, should be met with, “Not as I will, but as Thou wilt.”

His humanity is struggling here. “He went a short distance from them, and fell prostrate upon the ground. He felt that by sin He was being separated from the Father.” The gulf between them appeared so broad, so black, so deep, that He shuddered before it.” The Story of Jesus, 102.

Remember that we are talking about separation and redemption. You and I cannot separate the two. There is no redemption without separation. We are seeing the greatest illustration of that in this quote. We cannot fully understand these inspired statements. We cannot fully understand, because we have no idea of the tremendous intimacy that existed between the Father and the Son, and the tremendous love that They have for one another. We can only measure what Jesus went through by understanding the intimacy between the Two.

“Again Christ went away, and prayed that if it were possible this cup might pass from Him. His soul was filled with an overpowering fear of separation from God in consequence of sin. Satan told Him that if He became the Substitute and Surety for a sinful world, He would nevermore be one with God, but would be under his control.” Signs of the Times, June 3, 1897.

The Ultimate Consequence—Separation

This was the strongest, almost overmastering temptation that came to Jesus while on this earth. If there were any being in the universe of God who would best understand the intimacy between the Father and the Son, it would be the being who stood next to Christ in the courts of heaven. His name was Lucifer, Light Bearer. Now he is Satan, the adversary.

The ultimate consequence for Jesus was paying the price to give us an opportunity to be separated from the darkness unto the light. “Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.” Matthew 27:45, 46.

For three hours His cross was clothed in darkness. Three hours during which we have no idea what was transpiring in the heart of Jesus, other than what we have read.

“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani, that is to say, My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” Verse 46.

The separation had taken place. What He feared was now apparently a reality. Do we understand the price Jesus paid? Oh, He wants to help us understand. He wants to help us see clearly so we will be willing to accept His righteousness and allow Him to separate us from all the darkness, from all the sin in this world. Then we can show forth His praises and His virtues.

“But now with the terrible weight of guilt [that] He bears, He cannot see the Father’s reconciling face. The withdrawal of the divine countenance from the Saviour in this hour of supreme anguish pierced His heart with a sorrow that can never be fully understood by man. So great was this agony that His physical pain was hardly felt. Satan with his fierce temptations wrung the heart of Jesus. The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God that their separation was to be eternal.” The Desire of Ages, 753.

Restoring Harmony

It cost so much to give us an opportunity to separate from sin. We will never understand it. “Christ felt the anguish which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race.” Ibid.

He does not want us to experience what He experienced for us.

“It was the sense of sin bringing the Father’s wrath upon Him as man’s substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.” Ibid.

Separation cost a tremendous price. It cost the Father and the Son everything to give us the opportunity to be separated from the darkness into the light, from our sins into His righteousness, from being out of harmony with God’s Law to being brought back into harmony with heaven’s ways.

It cost everything. Jesus was willing to give everything. Oh, how ashamed we should be when we are hesitant to give Him our sins. All of us have need to grow in faith, in obedience, in love to Him and to allow Him to do the work that He came to do. He came to separate us from our sins.

Now let me ask you a question. How many sins would have brought the separation from the Father upon Jesus? One sin!

What will make us fully His separated people, separated from darkness into the light? “Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith.” Hebrews 12:2. What a wonderful text, inspired by God’s Spirit for those of us who are choosing to cooperate, to be separated from our sins unto His righteousness!

What does it say? “Looking unto Jesus.” He is the only One in all the universe of God, who can help us become separated from the darkness into the light. But we must look to Him. We must have our focus on Him, not upon each other, not upon another man.

Finishing the Good Work

“Looking unto Jesus who is the Author.” What does that mean? He is our beginning; He is the One who is going to author your character, if you allow Him to do that. He wants to finish what He begins, and He will, if we submit. Do you see that in all the works that God has made? Ah, that is a part of His character. Jesus wants to finish the work that He has begun in your heart. If you have never allowed Jesus to begin the work in you, He is inviting you to give Him your approval to begin that work today.

In Luke 9:23, Jesus says, “‘If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’”

You see, it is not enough to merely look at Jesus. We must follow Him. We will only follow Him if we believe His Word, which He has given us. So when we read His Word and we read the promises, we choose to believe and we choose to act. We have a faith that is motivated by a love that is going to bring forth the fruit of obedience.

God is going to have a separated people, separated from sin in their hearts. That is His people. We can come out physically from apostasy, but unless we have allowed Jesus to come in and separate us from sin, we have not fully come out and been separated from the darkness. Looking unto Jesus and following Him will make us fully His separated people.

Oh, brothers and sisters, let us not allow the separation of Calvary to have been in vain for us! Let us, with renewed faith and determination, choose to not only look to Jesus, but also to follow Him, allowing Him to separate us from all our sins and bring us into harmony with the sound of heaven, even His righteousness! What do you say? “For He saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:2.