Glen Berry/J. M. Davies
Sadly some professing Christians object to any teaching or exhortation on holiness of life and separation from the world as we live as separated Christians on this earth until the Lord Jesus comes either for us in death or upon His return to glorify us and perform transformation and the resurrection of the dead.
Some are being misled and mistaught. We hope the excerpts from a book on “Separation—False and True” by J. M. Davies of India in the early part of the 1900’s, will shine some light in the darkness so there will indeed be a practical SEPARATION of light from darkness. Why? To the end that we may walk more faithfully as unto the Lord, and glorify His Name in all that we say and do.
A Christian MUST be separated, and if really born again he WILL BE by the work of the Holy Spirit. Yet, just as God initially separated light from darkness, and land from water and sea in Creation, still ever after that we still see water flooding land, causing destruction. Just so, in our on-going Christian life, the waters of earth sometime mix with dry land where there was or should have been “separation.” The result is MUD and loss of usefulness and destruction in a Christian’s life. Have we been separated? Then we need to be concerned and aware and take heed lest things of earth do not mix and muddy our lives. Thus separation is a continual process also, for we are not yet perfected and are not yet perfect and glorified. There are DANGERS to be warned against.
I see here a real need, and I pray this little booklet will help in a small way to “fill the gap.” That is my prayer.
MANY YEARS AGO J. C. Philpot of England wrote a booklet or preached a sermon on “Taking the Precious from the Vile.” That was a SEPARATING work, separating truth from error. It is a constant need in the life of Christians while in this sin-cursed earth in the flesh.
Some things just don’t mix, like oil and water. Even there they inherently try to separate. Put water with gasoline in your tank and they will not mix, and your car’s engine will sputter and pop and will never run well, if at all.
Mix muddy water with clean water, and it never become clean water—all parts are contaminated to just become more muddy water.
Mix salt water with fresh water, and it still is not drinkable. It is just a bit less salty.
Mix the “salt of the world” (God’s Christians) with the world, in such a way that they mix in and take part in worldly, heathenish, ways, and they LOSE their “saltiness” and can “preserve nothing.” The Bible speaks of this as “the salt losing its savor” so that “it is good for nothing but to be trodden under the foot of man.” The purpose of SALT is for preservation so things will not spoil and ROT, and for the seasoning of food, to enhance the taste. So when we apply the analogy to Christian living, we mix or associate with “the world” rightly only if we keep our “saltiness,” our separateness. Christ calls us “the salt of the world.”
“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it [the earth] be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under the foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:13-16)
We now turn our attention to the practical excerpts of J. M. Davies written in the last century, but that will always be “up-to-date.” What you see in editorial brackets are our additions.
The Presence of God
“I will dwell in them and walk in the midst of them.” [Exodus 29:45] (2 Corinthians 6:16) [Or as the King James fully has it, “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”] A brief survey of the occurrence of this in the Old Testament will help to impress its importance on our minds.
Exodus 25:*: “Let them make me a sanctuary that I may dwell among them.” Here we see that it was God’s desire to dwell in the midst of the people that He redeemed with an outstretched arm.
Exodus 29:45-46. “They shall know that I brought them forth that I might dwell among them.” It was not only His desire to dwell among His people but it was His design in saving them. God’s redeeming purposes do not end until He has a people who can enjoy His presence and a people with whom He can have communion in holiness.
Exodus 33:3. “I will not go up in the midst of thee lest I consume thee.” Sin in the camp made it impossible for God to continue in their midst, hence He moved outside the camp in grace. Only when the Tabernacle was erected and the Mercy-seat set up did He return. God could not be linked up with unjudged sin, with idolatry. The presence of God in the midst of His people was the detective detecting their ways and worship.
Exodus 33:15-16. “If thy presence go not with us, carry us not up hence.” “So shall it be known that we have found grace, and so shall we be separated.” Thus the presence of God in the midst of His people realized and enjoyed is alike the proof of grace and the power for separation. It would be their defense. In speaking to the church at Corinth the apostle reiterates the same principle when he says, “But if all prophesy and there come in one that believeth not or unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: and thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest, and so falling down on his face he will worship God and report that God is in you of a truth.” If the presence of God was more of a reality in our gatherings, doubtless we would see more added to the Church.
The Presence of God
In this portion four are given. “Be ye not unequally yoked,” “Come ye out,” “Be separate,” and “Touch not.” Nothing could be stronger, nothing could be more definite. There is no room for a path of compromise here. Other references from various parts of the Word might be cited which teach the same truth. Contact with iniquity is contaminating. Contact with death and uncleanness was forbidden to the Israelite. To touch the carcase of an unclean beast or the carcase of unclean creeping things rendered the individual unclean and guilty (Leviticus 5:2). The unclean animal was to be an abomination to them (Leviticus 11:10)l
The Promises of God
What a galaxy of promises, seven of them repeated in quick succession, and all to encourage the believer who is prepared to walk in obedience to the word of God. What a constellation to brighten the firmament in the dark night of His absence. These promises surely sufficiently compensate for anything that the believer is called upon to renounce by walking in the narrow path. The companionship of our God, His constant smile, His fatherly care and protection are only assured His people as they obey His word, “Be ye separate.”
“I will dwell among them”;
“I will walk in them”;
“I will be their God”;
“They shall be My people”;
“I will receive you”;
“I will be a Father unto you”;
“Ye shall be My sons and daughters”;
saith the Lord Almighty.
Of all the family of faith our Lord says, “He is not ashamed to call them brethren,” but it is only of those who confessed by their lips that they were strangers and pilgrims that He says, “He is not ashamed to be called their God.” In sovereign grace He delivered His people from Haman in the days recorded in the book of Esther, but in that deliverance the Lord did not openly manifest Himself as being on their behalf, and that, probably because they had stayed in Babylon when they might have returned to their own land (Ezra 1:3)
How precious it is that in this portion there are seven promises over against four precepts. How God would lure His own into the wilderness that He might speak comfortably to them. He would draw us with the cords of His promises given in loving-kindness. May we find it in our hearts to say in response, “Draw us, we will run after thee.” We can only claim the promises in the measure we seek to carry out the precepts. . ..
SEPARATION IN CREATION
A cursory reading of the chapter will reveal that the principle of separation was brought into effect in one way or another on each of the six days [of creation]. This is expressed by the word “divided” and by the phrase “after their kind,” which involves the thought of separation. For the sake of clearness it may be well to tabulate them. The word “divided” used five times in the chapter is the word for “separated.”
1st Day—Light separated from the
2nd Day—The waters which were under
the firmament separated from the waters which were above the firmament.
3rd Day—Dry land separated from the
seas. Herbs and trees classified
according to their kind.
4th Day—Day separated from night.
5th Day—Fish classified after their kind.
winged fowl after their kind.
6th Day—Beasts classified according to
their kind. Creeping things
according to their kind. . . .
. . . To mix earth and water creates mud and swamps, the breeding places of pestilential diseases, and insects. The same applies to the spiritual world. How many unhealthy spiritual lives there are today owing to the doing away with the separation from the world which the Word enjoins so clearly. Many are the false doctrines abroad today which have been begotten and bred in the marshy and swampy experience of an unseparated heart and mind. Immediately following the separation of the dry land from the waters, we read of the earth bringing forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and of the fruit trees yielding fruit. And God saw that it was good, for a separated life precedes a fruitful life.
The day was to be governed by the “greater light.” The sun was to have dominion over the day. This is the first use of the word “rule” in the Scriptures, and its last use in the Old Testament is in Zechariah 6:13, where reference is made to Christ sitting and ruling upon His throne. So the believer, who is of the day, and not of the night, should be controlled and governed by Him who is the Sun of Righteousness, the Man upon the Throne. Christians should be governed by principles that stand the unsullied light of His sanctuary. The rays if that light should be allowed to penetrate every department of his life.
Inanimate creation was divided according to the character of the fruit produced. “By their fruit ye shall know them.” “Can a fig tree bear olive berries?” (James 3:12). Profession is to be tested by fruit.
In the animal creation the separation was based upon the difference in kind. The origin of species is found in the fact that God created them differently. This difference of kind is the direct result of fiat of the Almighty, and not the result of any process of evolution. Animal creation left to itself obeys this law instinctively. Sin has corrupted man’s heart so that he would feign break down every wall of separation that God has erected. (Compare Deuteronomy 27:21.)
Clean from the Unclean
Besides the separation based upon difference in kind as recorded in Gen. 1, we have a further separation between clean and unclean in Leviticus 11. The animals, fishes, fowl and creeping things are there grouped into two distinct classes. The separation is based upon the difference of nature.
It is interesting to note that amongst the animals, the two things characterizing the clean were the divided or cloven feet and the chewing of the cud. These two would represent to us the two-fold characteristic of the child of God; the separated walk or foot-print, and meditating on the Word of God. The camel chews its cud but does not divide the hoof, hence it is unclean. As the camel has capacity for storing water so there are many who seem to have a capacity for storing up the Word of God in the mind, but whose walk is not separated. . . . They are unclean. The swine divides the hoof, but does not chew the cud—hence it is unclean also. The impress of the swine’s food is very much like that of a sheep, but the animal chews not the cud. And there are many who may outwardly in their walk be religious and moral, yet who do not delight in the law of the Lord. The true believer is the one who has a heart for the Word and whose walk is separate from evil. . . . In every page of nature’s book, God has indelibly engraved this inflexible law of separation. . . .