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Be Ye Holy
Chapter 5: The Spirit of the Separatist

Separation is a battle. When one takes a positive stand for holiness and truth, he embraces a cause that reflects God's nature. That cause also is contrary to every purpose of Satan. The separatist will have to identify false teachers and their doctrine. He will have to expose them and separate his ministry from them. Conflict with Satan and men whom he uses is inevitable. Bible believers will sometimes have to separate themselves with a heavy heart from brethren who are dear to them.

Such a conflict brings accompanying dangers. Separation and purity are a vital part of the ministry, but they are not all of the ministry. It is easy for the separatist to forget the other vital facets of the ministry. Ernest Pickering lists several dangers which lurk to harm the ministry of the separatist: "An improper spirit, . . . over-occupation with the issues, . . . uncontrolled suspicion, . . . a desire to dominate, . . . failure to see the larger picture,. . . caustic language, . . . public instead of private rebuke."1 Paul Jackson also describes the tension that the biblical separatist experiences as he seeks to stand for truth. After describing the dangers of radicalism and a wrong attitude he says, "When we have great convictions, the natural tendency is for us to become rough and vehement. It is equally difficult, on the other hand, to manifest a gracious attitude and yet be strong. The tendency in the manifestation of grace is to compromise and be weak. Only in the Lord Jesus are these two things properly brought together in balance."2

The purpose of this chapter is to learn what the Bible teaches about the spirit of the separatist. It will challenge those who stand for biblical separation to let the Holy Spirit make their heart attitude what God says it ought to be.

Passion for Holiness

The first element of the separatist's spirit to consider must be a desire for holiness. This study has clearly demonstrated that separation is a part of the holiness of God. Let it be understood that separation is by no means all there is to God's holiness, but separation is one integral part of that holiness. Man's separation naturally flows from his understanding of God's holiness. Personal separation from the "former lusts" (I Pet. 1:14) of his old life comes as the Christian imitates the holiness of God (I Pet. 1:15-16). The separation of the local church from unbelievers comes from a desire to perfect holiness (II Cor. 6:14-7:1). The local church must also separate from erring believers when those believers offend God's holiness by tolerating and practicing sin in their lives (I Thess. 4:1-7; II Thess. 3:14-15).

One who understands this truth concludes that if the individual Christian and the local church will pursue holiness (Heb. 12:14), then the right kind of separation will follow. God's holiness, and the meaning of that holiness for mankind, permeates the Scriptures. Its depths can never be plumbed. One who studies and pursues holiness will come to a proper understanding of God and will properly balance biblical separation in his life and ministry.

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Be Ye Holy: The Call to Christian Separation. By Fred Moritz. ©1994. BJU Press. Reproduction prohibited. This work is available for purchase at the Bob Jones University Campus Store (phone: 1-800-252-1927; web address: www.bju.edu/store.) Please note, due to browser limitations, the Hebrew and Greek words are not displayed in their original languages.

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