And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
The call for God’s people to be separated from the wicked works of Satan’s kingdoms is found throughout the Bible. The most clear, and familiar, passage on this subject is found in 2Co 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,”
Because we have God Himself (in the person of the Holy Spirit) dwelling within us we are to separate ourselves from unbelievers who would lead us into sinful lifestyles. Folks, this applies not only to our choice of spouse, but also our choice of business associates, close friends, and anyone else who may be influential in our lives.
For some, the commands to “come out from among them, and be ye separate” and “touch not the unclean thing” when compared to the command to be “the lights of the world” (Matt 5:14) seem to contradict. For Christians to be lights of the world, they must be in contact with the lost around them, setting the proper example through our actions, speech and personal testimonies of the Lord’s workings in our lives. How can we be witnesses to the lost, if we are to be separated from them?
The key is a proper understanding of what “separated” means. In our text, the Christian’s separation from the lost is described as abstaining from being “yoked” to the lost. A yoke is a type of harness placed upon horses or oxen that join them together so that they might work in harmony as they perform different labors. When applied to the saved and lost, it is implying that they are being joined together in a unity of motive, desires and actions. When Christians are yoked to the lost in home, business, or leisure activities, there are bound to be conflicts and a huge temptation to compromise one’s stand for Christ. This is why we are commanded to not be “unequally yoked” and yet still remain lights in a sin-darkened world.
What an awesome responsibility has been placed on the people of God. We are to be among the lost and yet not to be one of them. We are to share the precious gospel message, and show our love for them, without forming bonds with them that will cause us to partake of their sinful ways.
May we all take great care in our relationships with those that are lost, showing them our love and yet refraining from making relationships that will hinder our growth in the Lord.
For an in depth look at these sections of the Revelation: