Separation as a doctrine represents the human side of sanctification. Compare the meaning of the related terms consecration and dedication. Separation is from something unto something, consequently in doctrine it means going from evil unto Christ (not, unto right conduct merely).
1. Old Testament Teaching. Two examples come to mind here. Israel as a nation was separated from Egypt by the exodus. Abraham as an individual was separated from his homeland.
2. New Testament Teaching. The study of this doctrine in the New Testament may be divided as follows:
a. positional (John 17:14, 16, 21-23; Rom. 6:1-11; Gal. 6:14-15). The believer has been positionally set apart by virtue of being in Christ.
b. experimental. (1) From evil. (a) Evil things (2 Cor. 6:14-18) must be left behind by Christians. They will not be taken out from the conditions of the cosmos world, but kept safely therein (John 17:15). (b) Likewise the believer must avoid unholy partnerships (2 Tim. 2:20-21; 2 John 1:9-11). God cannot bless both parties in an unequal partnership. (2) Unto God. This step ought to be taken by all believers through self-dedication.
3. The Divine Side. For His part, God encourages separation by promising special felicity to the faithful (Ps. 50:7-15; 2 Cor. 6:17-18; Heb. 12:14-17).
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