Summary: God says, “come out from among them…” Why? Because our Heavenly Father is holy. Are we presenting the image of our Father in heaven (like Jesus Christ was), or are we presenting the image of the world?
* Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you (2 Corinthians 6:17).
God says, “come out from among them…” Why? Because our Heavenly Father is holy. Are we presenting the image of our Father in heaven as Jesus Christ did or are we presenting the image of the world? Paul was speaking to the Corinthian church when he wrote these words but prior to verse 17 he wrote:
* Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:14).
* Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
1. Be ye holy
* As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy (1 Peter 1:14-16).
* Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14).
To be holy in the Bible carries the idea of being separate, one of a kind, pure, blameless, and without sin or fault. It is God’s chief attribute as Isaiah pointed out:
* And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory (Isaiah 6:3).
Notice the angels were crying holy, holy, holy, as opposed to love, love, love, which many seem to think the chief attribute of God is. But God's holiness is the main reason why we need a Savior, Jesus Christ.
* This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief (1 Timothy 1:15).
Being forgiven is great! Christ took the payment for our sins (John 1:29,36), and made us the sons of God (Galatians 4:5). But being righteous in Jesus Christ is the main benefit (cf. Romans 10:4, 2 Corinthians 5:17). This is how we are able to go to heaven, and be with God.
2. Like Father, like Son -- like sons
As we continue past verse 17, we read in verse 18,
* And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters... (2 Corinthians 6:18).
When one becomes a Christian by faith in Christ, they have been born again into the family of God. God now calls them his children (sons and daughters). As the children of God, it is expected that we behave as our heavenly Father would have us.
And later in chapter seven,
* Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (2 Corinthians 7:1).
Since we have been purchased by the precious blood of Christ, God desires that His people lead a different life than that of the world. That life is one of holiness where we progressively distance ourselves from the evils of this world. Not because we are being religious, but because we desire to be more like our heavenly Father.
3. Peculiar People
Jesus Christ came to save us out of this world, because one day, it will bear His wrath:
* And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10).
And if anyone is not in Christ, it will be a terrifying thing:
* It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31).
Which is why we must be found in His righteousness:
* And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith (Philippians 3:9).
Jesus Christ came to take us out of the world – spiritually speaking, and one day physically – so, as Christians, we are already different or peculiar from the world:
* Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Titus 2:14).