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Bible verses about Church Separated from the World
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Exodus 19:4-6

This is another place from which Peter draws on what he writes in I Peter 2:5, 9—in fact, it is almost an exact parallel. Israel and the church were both separated from the world and made holy by God. Both became God's personal property, which is what the phrase "peculiar [special] treasure" means. In addition, because of what God did—by separating them from the world—both became obligated to meet priesthood requirements.

Israel's position was conditional upon obedience. Verse 5 says, "Now therefore, if. . . ." However, Israel immediately—within a couple of days—rejected God's offer through disobedience. They rejected their privilege.

John W. Ritenbaugh
New Covenant Priesthood (Part 1)


 

Deuteronomy 8:11-14

What is written in this chapter is one of the things that led to the break-up the Worldwide Church of God, and why its members are scattered all over. Its members forgot a great deal about God's requirements of obedience. This theme of not forgetting runs through the book of Deuteronomy.

Virtually every family of people on earth considers themselves to be the recipients of God's favor. They usually designate themselves by a title to indicate this, especially to themselves. The Germans call themselves Herrenvolk. The Japanese call themselves "sons of heaven." China calls itself "the good earth," and Americans, "God's country."

The Israelites were the recipients of the knowledge of God's purpose, then they were given a land in which to prosper and to use that knowledge. However, whatever Israel received, it was miniscule by comparison to what the church was given. Yet, Israel forgot what God had so graciously bestowed, and what happened to the Israelites? They were scattered to the four corners of the earth. Is it possible, then, that the church forgot what God had given it? It became less and less aware that it, too, had been given the knowledge of God and of His purpose being worked out in its members lives. What did we call ourselves? "God's church"!

However, there is a common byproduct of prosperity: "Lest when you have eaten and are full, and have built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold is multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; then your heart be lifted up, and you forget. . . ."

Yes, a common byproduct of prosperity—one that could destroy the gift of knowledge of God's purpose for mankind—is forgetfulness! Pride in one's prosperity can gradually persuade a person that he gained it himself, but the fact is that the real reason for the prosperity is what he was given.

There are a number of reasons for the Old Covenant rituals, but undoubtedly, one of them is to remind the sanctified ones who they are and what they are to do with their lives. They are a separated people, called to make right use of their gifts and to glorify God in the use of them.

Being aware of our separation is supremely important to us because it is one of the few ways that gives sense to why God requires certain things. The laws of clean and unclean meats should be a constant reminder of this separation. So should the removing of leaven from our homes before Unleavened Bread. It is clear from the Old Testament rituals that cleanliness—spiritual, moral, and physical cleanliness—and purity are the realities that differentiate us from the world, making us distinctive from others.

This is something, though, that is so easy to forget or to overlook, which is why God gives this warning in Deuteronomy 8. Being spiritually undefiled or uncontaminated is a responsibility because it is in maintaining the cleanliness that a visible witness is made—one that can be seen and evaluated by the world. If we allow ourselves to run amok with the rest of the world, then we share the world's contamination through sin, and no witness is made. Who can see the difference? There is no difference, or so little difference that it is unrecognizable.

Thus, it is in the efforts to be made clean and to maintain cleanliness that many of the sacrificial aspects of priesthood are most clearly seen.

John W. Ritenbaugh
New Covenant Priesthood (Part 2)


 

Matthew 22:17-21

Speaking of taxes in Matthew 22:21, Jesus taught His disciples to “render . . . to Caesar the things that are Caesar's,” enjoining His disciples to pay them. This teaching parallels the general principle that Christians are to be subject to the governments of this world (Romans 13:1) yet to obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29). In doing so, we are to be good citizens appreciating the privileges and opportunities extended to us. We are to submit to the nation's laws and regulations as long as they do not conflict with the commands of God. If they do, we must be willing to submit to their penalties.

Above all, Christians must follow Christ's teaching and example. Jesus neither attempted to reform human government nor use political means to forge a better world. Rather, He preached the doctrine of a radically different world to come, calling His followers out of this present evil world and to allegiance to His coming Kingdom.

Jesus told Pilate that His Kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36)—that is, of this age or present time. This is Satan's world, and Christ came, not to reform Satan or improve his handiwork, but to save His followers from Satan and his system. A Christian is a citizen of the Kingdom of God (Ephesians 2:19), and since that Kingdom is not yet set up on earth, our citizenship is now reserved in heaven (I Peter 1:4).

This fact means that Christians are to be separate from the world and its social, political, economic, and religious affiliations (II Corinthians 6:14, 17). We live by God's laws and give Him our sole allegiance, since we cannot serve two masters (Matthew 6:24).

Martin G. Collins
Would Jesus Christ Vote? (Part Three)


 

2 Peter 1:4

Christians are called of God. We are separated from the rest of mankind, redeemed through the blood of Jesus Christ, and cleansed from sin's corruption. Then we are made partakers of the divine nature—all to make us acceptable for the performance of our duties as priests. We have no excuse for drawing back: We have a perfect and eternal High Priest and we have been cleansed and are part of the same Divine Family that He is. Do we not want to draw close to our "Dad"—which is what it amounts to—and do what He says?

Now the priesthood no longer stands before God on behalf of just Israel; now it draws near to God in behalf of all humanity. The purpose of the priesthood is essentially the same as under the Old Covenant, but its labor has been elevated to a spiritual level. We no longer have to burn bulls, goats, sheep, and turtledoves on a burning fire at the door of the Temple. We are the temple! And, in a secondary way, we—like Jesus Christ who went before us—are also the sacrifice that is put on the altar (see Romans 12:1).

John W. Ritenbaugh
New Covenant Priesthood (Part 1)


 

 




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