“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the Good News of God,”Romans 1:1
This idea of being set apart is a recurring theme all throughout the Bible. The phrase here indicates something or someone that is set apart as distinct, or marked off by a boundary. This marking off or separation can be applied in a negative sense, or in a positive sense as a type of appointment.
“Blessed are you when men shall hate you, and when they shall exclude and mock you, and throw out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake.”Luke 6:22
This exclusion here demonstrates how the Jews were prophesied by Yeshua as separating the believers in Messiah from their own ranks. Thinking they were doing something to honor God, they rejected the believers as essentially being heretics.
In a positive sense, the term could be used as a way of demonstrating a type of appointment, as mentioned in Romans 1 above with the apostle Paul, and also with Paul and Barnabas being appointed by the body of believers.
“As they served the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Separate Barnabas and Saul for me, for the work to which I have called them.””Acts 13:2
Paul carries this idea of separation over into the life of the collective congregation of believers as well.
“Don’t be unequally yoked with unbelievers, for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? … Therefore, “‘Come out from among them, and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘Touch no unclean thing. I will receive you. I will be to you a Father. You will be to me sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty.” Having therefore these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”2 Corinthians 6:14,17-18; 7:1
Paul equates this separation as being a form of holiness. This practice is a hallmark of believers everywhere, who are to be separating themselves from the unrighteousness and lawlessness of their respective cultures. Paul here encourages all believers to perfect holiness, that is to bring to fulfillment or bring to conclusion, this holiness, or separation from unrighteousness, in all that we do and say. All aspects of our life should be under constant scrutiny by us, to where we prune everything that is unfruitful or potentially harmful. Anything that does not conform to the Word of God in our lives needs to be carefully, yet ruthlessly, removed.
This is the life that we have been called to, and one that bears a legacy of honor and the everlasting promise of blessing from the One who calls us.
“I will be to you a Father. You will be to me sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty.””2 Corinthians 6:18
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