God of Separation

Did I catch your attention with the title of this article? I must apologize for not being more theologically in-line with my wording. Hopefully nobody will equate ‘separation’ with ‘divisiveness’, which couldn’t be farther from the truth. This article should more properly be entitled ‘God Who Must Separate’. But please bear with me as you read on.

I was reciting the creation account in Genesis chapter 1 today, as I have done countless times over many decades, and realized something that I never realized before. For the first half of the creation week, beginning in Genesis 1:3, God was separating. Day 1, He separated light from darkness. Keep in mind that God is light (1 John 1:5). Day 2, He separated the waters above from the waters below, thus framing our atmosphere. Day 3, He separated the land from the seas, thus framing our shorelines that separate the two. These separations paved the way for His creation of the plants and trees, the heavenly bodies of the universe, the creatures of the sea, the birds of the air, the animals of the land, and finally man during the second half of the creation week.

We normally do not think of God and separation together because we normally think of our God as a God of unity:

Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. (Ephesians 4:3 NLT)

But when you look from one end of the Bible to the other, after creation, the theme of separation runs throughout it (sin being the main cause for it). Here are only a dozen of the many examples:

So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:24 NKJV)

So the Lord said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping thing and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them.” But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. (Genesis 6:7‭-‬8 NKJV)

Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing.” (Genesis 12:1‭-‬2 NKJV)

Then a loud wail will rise throughout the land of Egypt, a wail like no one has heard before or will ever hear again. But among the Israelites it will be so peaceful that not even a dog will bark. Then you will know that the Lord makes a distinction between the Egyptians and the Israelites. (Exodus 11:6‭-‬7 NLT)

Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided. And the people of Israel went into the midst of the sea on dry ground, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left. The Egyptians pursued and went in after them into the midst of the sea, all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.” (Exodus 14:21‭-‬23‭, ‬26 ESV)

“Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of My Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to Me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in Your name and cast out demons in Your name and performed many miracles in Your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from Me, you who break God’s laws.’” (Matthew 7:21‭-‬23 NLT)

Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the Bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The Bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with Him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, “Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!” But He called back, “Believe Me, I don’t know you!” (Matthew 25:1‭-‬2‭, ‬10‭-‬12 NLT)

“The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. Let both grow together until the harvest lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, ‘First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.’” (Matthew 13:24‭-‬25‭, ‬29‭-‬30 NKJV)

“There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’”(Luke 16:19‭-‬26 NKJV)

“There is no judgment against anyone who believes in Him. But anyone who does not believe in Him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son. And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil.” (John 3:18‭-‬19 NLT)

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit upon His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered in His presence, and He will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep at His right hand and the goats at His left. Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.’ Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.'” (Matthew 25:31‭-‬34‭, ‬41 NLT)

Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11‭-‬15 NKJV)

Along with the theme of separation, God definitely makes a distinction between the world and those in His church. Here are a half dozen of the many examples:

Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. (2 Corinthians 2:15‭-‬16a NLT)

Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.” (2 Corinthians 6:14‭-‬17 NLT)

Don’t you realize that your bodies are actually parts of Christ? Should a man take his body, which is part of Christ, and join it to a prostitute? Never! Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:15‭, ‬19‭-‬20 NLT)

For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? (1 Peter 4:17 NLT)

It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning. God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.” (1 Corinthians 5:12‭-‬13 NLT)

For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. First, the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then, together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever. So encourage each other with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:16‭-‬18 NLT)

You may wonder why I would choose such an offbeat subject as ‘separation’ for this article. As I search myself, I would have to say it is because of some of the crazy theology that is out there today about the afterlife. What it all boils down to for me is that I do not want to be separated from my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; not in this life, nor in the next! I can’t help but get excited about the thief on the cross who believed in Jesus just before he took his last breath and was reassured he would never be separated from Jesus:

And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43 NKJV)

Because God cannot have sin in His presence, He must be a God of separation, or should I more properly say a God who must separate:

You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on wickedness. (Habakkuk 1:13a NKJV)

Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. (Isaiah 59:1‭-‬2 NKJV)

But God does not want anyone to be separated from Him:

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9 NKJV)

How do we come to repentance? By simply allowing Jesus Christ to wash our sins away so that we are spotless before God the Father!


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Defender of the Christian Faith
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