Parson to Person
An arresting concept emanating from the scriptures is that of being separated while united. No, this is not double-speak, so think with me about it.
Jesus had much to say about the doctrine of separation while in His earthly ministry. He came to separate families. He forthrightly declared He had not come to bring peace, but a sword, and that His teachings received would make the members of one’s household to be his enemies in spiritual things. The family would still be united, but at the same time separated.
The apostle Paul spoke in detail about personal, inner separation while being united. His writing in Romans Chapter Seven underscores what most every Christian of any degree of maturity experiences. Not doing what should be done, and doing what should not be done is universal among people of God on earth. The higher calling of God in Christ prompts us ever onward in the right direction, but the warfare with the flesh ever yields challenges to those accomplishments. By these things, one is separated while remaining united in the Christian pilgrimage. Every disciple of the Lord Jesus knows exactly what I am talking about from his own personal experience.
Another aspect of the subject is what is obviously manifested in the Lord’s churches. Some have managed to get their name on the church roll, but have never been saved. Still others who are legitimate members of the church find it often cramps their style, and they rejoice when they find another excuse to not participate either in worship or other important kingdom activities. It must be admitted that they are members of the church even if one has cause to doubt that Jesus would say so. Hence, the church is separated while still being technically united. It will be judgment before the Lord that finalizes and eliminates such fragmented status.
Still, in another sense being separated while united is often a cause of great joy. As one experiences war between the spirit and the flesh, and through prayer and understanding, the spirit wins over the flesh, it brings great happiness. This is the kind of separation while being together that pleases the Lord. It also adds to the growth in grace that builds Christian warriors.
The enemy of every disciple of Jesus lies within, and it cannot be uprooted. It can be overcome to a great extent as one dedicates himself to learning and following the Lord in harmony with His Word, and that brings rich reward in the end. Until then, victory in life through separation while being united goes on in the sure knowledge and hope of final unification of the total man without the separation sin has brought to us.