Come Out from Among Them
The Old Testament provides us with great examples of how God delivers people from the hands of evil. Such is but the physical type of that deliverance which is offered at the hand of God through Jesus Christ in which men are offered deliverance from the condemnation brought upon all mankind at the hands of the first man.
In Isaiah 52 we have an illustration of the deliverance of some of the people of the nation Israel who were held as slaves in bondage in Babylon. They were there not because of any personal sin on their part, but as the Scriptures make plain they were there because of the sins of their fathers. Yet, by the hand of God there was raised up a deliverer by the name of Cyrus, but make no mistake here, the deliverer Cyrus was but an example of how God delivers. A greater deliverer was to come in the day when mighty Rome ruled.
The deliverer here was announced by Isaiah, the princely prophet. It was the gospel preached in the Old Testament. The good news was that by the hand of God there would be peace. It was not a peace between warring nations, but a peace between God and the people. It is a peace of prophecy. It likewise was declared to be good, thus it is that salvation that comes from the hand of God alone. It is a salvation that sets men free from all those things that bring God’s wrath upon men. It is a salvation that is spiritual; bringing peace and goodness. The certainty of this salvation is found in the fact that ‘God is reigning.’ He is in control of the world that He created, and by His hand He brings forth His holy purpose.
The message to the people in Babylon is repeated by the Apostle Paul, but with the clear understanding that he is speaking to Christians.
The Gospel announced, Isaiah now commands that the people believe and prepare to depart from Babylon. Not all would believe. Only some would leave Babylon. Some loved Babylon and they would stay. The message to the people in Babylon is repeated by the Apostle Paul, but with the clear understanding that he is speaking to Christians. He is calling upon them to separate themselves from this present world order, and live holy lives that honor Christ and our God. Paul refers to Isaiah 52:11 and quotes, “Come out from among them and be you separate saith the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 6:17. He goes on to say, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness or what fellowship has light with darkness?…Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God.”
In light of such a command, and so clear a light, I do not understand why it is that so many of those who for all appearance truly know the Lord, but continue to remain loyal to churches and denominations who have long since departed from the preaching of the Word of God. No longer do they hear the Gospel preached, and yet they continue to support with their monies, time and presence. Do they not have a yearning for the preached Word? Have they no desire to obey God? Traditions are hard things to break. To go against our forefathers is difficult, but when God speaks we ought to obey.
It is ungodly for anyone who knows Christ, and thus God, to remain loyal to a group, ‘church’, denomination or tradition, at the expense of truth and loyalty to Christ. Many a soul has faced the agonizing fact that there is a need to depart from those who preach false doctrine and promote institutionalism rather than God. Whenever the ‘church’ or denomination becomes more important than obedience to God then you worship the institution. If your loyalty sticks to tradition rather than truth, then you worship at the throne of institutionalism. If your subjective attachment to men, whether family or friends, means more to you than being faithful to the cause of Christ and truth, then you have forgotten the strong admonition of our Lord. He said, “If any man come after Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.”
The Ecclesia of Christ is to be free of corrupting influence.
Israel, a type of the body of Christ, was to be a separate people. They were not to allow themselves to be corrupted by others outside of the nation. The word separate is used over and over again throughout the Old Testament. When we get to the body of Christ, the substance of the Old Testament type, the principle is the same. The Ecclesia of Christ is to be free of corrupting influence. When the worldlings take over a church or a denomination; when tradition means more than truth, then, it is time for God’s people to wake up and join in a body where the truth of the Scripture provides the doctrines for true life and true worship.
In a day when substitute kinds of Christianity are prevalent, I must join in protest. I, with Jude, declare, “I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to the saints. For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”
Come out from among them and be you separate that the faith remain pure and holy for those yet to come, as for the strength of the present body. Christ’s people must sound the trumpet, but with a crystal clear message. We must warn and invite others, but we must speak to the world with our practice equal to our profession.
- When the Worst of Times Are the Best (5ptsalt.com)