Separation is to be setting apart unto God. This is really what sanctification is all about. Sanctification is consecration. There are many things that, as a Christian, you will not do and lots of trouble you will not get into, not because you are not capable, but because you will be too busy doing the Lord’s work. You will not even think about such things because you will primarily want to please God. Instead of criticizing others, you will hope for and be glad when they also try to please God. And you will rejoice in all of that together.

These matters of the unity of the church should be wrestled through carefully. A congregation must ask the question, "When must a congregation that wants to remain faithful to Scripture separate from a denomination, which, in its judgment, is not being faithful to Scripture?" This question does not concern what individuals are to do. Today people drift around from church to church, never settling down. I think that is a great mistake.

We come to a section of 2 Corinthians that contains just six verses. This is a portion of the book where Paul breaks away from what he has been saying to deal with what was evidently a problem in his time, as it is now in ours. It is the very great problem of the separation of Christians from the world. There have been more divisions in the church over the debate of this issue than perhaps any other. Whole denominations are based upon this principle of separation.

The world pays attention if you are well known. The world listens to those who are not dying, but rather are in the peak of health. The world does not listen to those who are beaten or sorrowful, or poor, but rather to those lifted up in spirit, and rich, and those who appear to have everything. You have to be a ten on a scale of one to ten if you are going to succeed in this world.

The second category of things that Paul mentions here in 2 Corinthians has to do with his character. Paul’s list contains purity, understanding, patience, and kindness. Just a few pages further on in the Bible, in the fifth chapter of Galatians, Paul gives another list, this one containing the fruit of the Spirit. The Galatians list includes a number of the traits mentioned here in this letter. In Galatians 5:22-23 Paul wrote, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." In spite of being an aggressive evangelist, and a bit of a feisty man, Paul was characterized by these great fruits of the Spirit.