In the New Testament, separation and sanctification are two aspects of the same attitude of the believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Separation indicates that he is set apart or separated from everything that is evil: Sanctification connotes being set apart to God and to all that is good Dr. Thomas Guthrie has presented the practical aspect of this in the Christian's life in the following sentences:
`If the world is growing less to your sight, it shows that you are retreating from it, rising above it, and, upbome in the arms of grace, are ascending to a higher region; and if, to your eyes, the fashion of this world seems passing away, it is because we ourselves are passing—passing and passing on the way to heaven. Sin never changes. If objects which once seemed lovely look loathesome now, if pleasures once desired are detested now, if what we once eagerly sought we now shun and shrink from, it is not because sin is changed, but—blessed be God, and praise be ascribed to His grace—we are changed.'
(Rom. 12. 1, 2; 1 Cor. 6. 11; 2 Cor. 6. 14-18)
Set apart for Jesus! Is not this enough,
Though the desert prospect's often wild and rough?
Set apart for His delight,
Chosen for His holy pleasure,
Sealed to be His special treasure!
Could we choose a nobler joy,
And would we if we might?
Set apart to love Him, and His love to know!
Not to waste affection on appearing show.
Called to give Him life and heart,
Called to pour the hidden treasure
That none other claims to measure,
Into His beloved hand!
Thrice blessed set apart.
Set apart for ever, for Himself alone!
None to see our calling gloriously shown!
Owning, with no secret dread,
This our holy separation;
Now the crown of consecration
Of the Lord our God shall rest
Upon our willing head.
(John 17. 16, 17; Rom. 12. 1, 2)
I cannot give it up, the little world I know,
The innocent delights of youth, the things I cherish so!
'Tis true I love my Lord and want to do His will,
And oh! I may enjoy the world and be a Christian still.
I love the hour of prayer, I love the hymns of praise;
I love the blessed Word that tells of God's redeeming grace.
But I am human still, and while I dwell on earth
God surely will not grudge the hours I spend in harmless mirth!
These things belong to youth, and are its natural right—
My dress, my pastimes, and my friends, the merry and the bright.
My Father's heart is kind: He will not count it ill
That my small corner of the world should please and hold me still.
And yet—`outside the camp'—'twas where my Saviour died:
It was the world that cast Him forth, and saw Him crucified.
Can I take part with those who nailed Him to the tree?
And where His name is never praised, is there the place for me?
Nay, world! I turn away, though thou seem fair and good;
That friendly, outstretched hand of thine is stained with Jesus' blood.
If in thy least device I stoop to take a part,
All unaware, thine influence steals God's presence from my heart.
Farewell! Henceforth my place is with the Lamb Who died.
My Sovereign! While I have Thy love, what can I want beside?
Thyself, dear Lord, art now my free and loving choice,
`In Whom, though now I see Thee not, believing I rejoice.'
Shame on me that I sought another joy than this,
Or dreamt a heart at rest with Thee could crave for earthly bliss!
Those vain and worthless things I put them all aside;
His goodness fills my longing soul, and I am satisfied.
Lord Jesus! let me dwell 'outside the camp' with Thee!
Since Thou art there, then there alone is peace and home for me.
Thy dear reproach to bear I'll count my highest gain,
Till Thou return, the banished King, to take Thy power and reign.—Margaret Mauro
(Gal. 6. 14; Heb. 13. 13)
Sir Walter Scott and others have in their writings demonstrated the deadly feuds that existed among the Scottish clans. At times, the hatred was so bitter that it meant death for a man of one clan to show himself or make free in the territory of a hostile clan. Each clan had its own tartan, and by this, as well as by personal appearance and habits, those belonging to the various clans could be recognized.
It is said that a youth of the Clan Macdonald, full of the energy and initiative of youth and tired of the confines of his own clan's territory, devised a scheme for exploring the magnificent mountains, lakes, streams and ravines of his neighbours. He decided to sew on his kilt and plaid the tartans and badges of some of the surrounding clans and, thus fortified, to sally forth footloose and enjoy the beauties of the territory of his neighbours. When challenged in the clachans of the Mackintoshes, he showed his tartans, and said, 'Look! I belong to you: Am I not wearing your tartan?' In the McGregor territory he met with the same challenge, and gave a similar reply, showing the McGregor tartan, badges and marks. Likewise in the territory of Clan McKenzie. The narrative does not record how he fared, or whether he escaped the Highlandman's dirk.
The same is an allegory. There are Christians who, not content with the spiritual wealth in Christ, and weary of 'this light bread', the Bread of life, turn to the world, its varied attractions, amusements, prosperity and fashions for satisfaction. On occasions, they can say to the worldling, 'We are like you. What's the harm in having a little innocent pleasure and enjoyment?—drink, the theatre, the cinema, the latest fashions, etc.?' Thus so many forget that they are a separated people, set apart for Christ by Whose precious blood they have been redeemed.
(Heb. 13. 12-14; 1 Pet. 2. 11; John 17. 16)