One of the commands that God has consistently given to His people, whether Israelites or Christ-followers, is for us to remain apart from those who are unbelievers. This command is captured in Leviticus 20:26 where Yahweh instructs:
“You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.”
What’s the big deal with this? Why is it so important?
This separation is known as consecration, or the act of making something sacred. How is it sacred that we stay apart from others?
What we must understand is the nature of those who don’t follow the Lord. You’ve likely heard it said that there are two types of people in the world: 1) those who believe in God, and who because of their faith in Christ, will spend eternity with Him, and 2) those who don’t believe in or who reject God through His Son, and who will spend eternity in hell in torment. That’s a huge distinction!
Why will people in the second category face such a fate? It really goes back to mankind’s choice over many years, in more situations than can be recounted, to worship any god but the One true God. Adam and Eve’s original rejection of God’s sovereignty was the beginning. It continued through the Genesis 6 rebellion of God’s divine sons and their procreation with human women, whereby all humanity became so wicked – so anti-God – that Yahweh literally had no option but to destroy all flesh. This mutiny against God and His decrees exploded worldwide following the Tower of Babel incident. God placed His faithful sons from the spiritual realm over the nations to superintend them and point men back to Him while He raised up Israel to be a light to those nations (Deuteronomy 32:8-9 – ESV; note: you won’t understand this if you read these verses in any other Bible translation because they get it wrong). Astoundingly, somehow, for some reason, ALL these princes – these holy sons of God – turned from Him. They appropriated that which wasn’t theirs, i.e. the worship of the people of the nations, and corrupted mankind. We see this clearly in Psalm 82, where God in His Divine Council, i.e. the assembly of all His children in the heavenlies, excoriates these rebellious sons and sentences them to death like any mere human. For any being, spiritual or human, to receive praise, glory, and worship that belongs to Yahweh alone, is an abomination and worthy of their divine demise.
The issue here is that the peoples in these nations, ruled by these so-called gods, have learned and taken to heart the lessons from these rebellious entities.. They have mastered the false concept that Yahweh is not God Most High (e.g. in Islam), or that He is only one of many gods (e.g. in Hinduism), or that He is the insubordinate one who opposed the enlightenment that Lucifer brought (e.g. in Gnosticism), or that creation rules since all beings are god (e.g. in Gaia worship). In all these religious expressions, men lift up the god in which they believe and perform rites and sacrifices to it for a variety of reasons.
What’s even worse is that these exercises of false worship are contagious. They suck others in who turn them away from the truth. Through these various religions, the God of the Bible is spurned and mocked. The ancient Israelites and Christians over the years have been deceived by these gods, with many becoming double-minded and/or syncretistic in their beliefs. Being in the presence of these false gods and their followers for any length of time has been a deadly disease for all but those with the most stout-hearted faith in Christ and the believing loyalty to Him that cannot be swayed. Unfortunately, people like this are all too few.
Thus, God says to remain apart from these who dishonor Him. Holiness in His Name can only be achieved in an environment that doesn’t influence and attempt to make believers in Yahweh followers in anything but Him.
Our hearts must be for Jesus and Him alone. He alone is holy. The way, truth, and life that come from Jesus show up all pretenders to His throne as worthless. Tragically, there’s something about the glittery baubles associated with false gods and those who worship them that mesmerizes and attracts.
Let us reject all that attempts to draw our hearts away from our Savior and Lord. In order to achieve that, we must be consecrated and set apart, holy only unto God.