Separation from Sin
When a person becomes a new creation or creature in Christ (2 Cor 5:17) they begin to turn away from the former sinful activities of their life. They slowly change their desires from that of pleasing the flesh to that of obedience to God and pleasing Him. As you know, it doesn’t happen overnight and it typically takes a long time to overcome some bad habits because our old sinful nature doesn’t go down without a fight. Paul still struggled with the flesh, writing “For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing” (Rom 7:19) so we must not grow discouraged because the very fact we’re in a struggle over sin is a sign that God’s Spirit is working in us.
Separation from Sinners
Peter wrote that “For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles (as we used to) want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry” (1st Pet 4:3) but when we stop doing these things with our friends “they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you” (1st Pet 4:4) because of that. Those former sins that we used to do, we do no more as Paul wrote “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1st Cor 6:11).
Separation from Assumptions
When Paul wrote that love “believes all things” (1st Cor 13:7) he didn’t mean that we believe everything we’re told but that when we are loving, we give people the benefit of the doubt. I once witnessed to a man who was a heavy smoker before I went into our church’s Bible study. I know I must have reeked of cigarette smoke and I could tell from the looks of some people that they were thinking “The pastor has been smoking” but they didn’t give me the benefit of the doubt so I told them that I had just been witnessing to a man who was lost and apologized for smelling a little smoky. I am sure a few people felt convicted for judging me unfairly over that. I am not saying that smoking is an unforgivable sin. No, my point is that we should give people the benefit of the doubt and not make assumptions about others. I knew a pastor once who smelled like alcohol but I came to find out that someone he had been speaking with accidently spilled some beer on him. You see my point, I am sure.
Separation from the World
When we become a child of God, we leave the ways of the world behind us. We become separated from the world but that doesn’t mean that we join a monastery and end up in seclusion as a monk. We are still in the world but not of the world. We separate ourselves from the system that the world runs by. No longer do we indulge in the things of the world but we feed on the Word of God. We are separate from the world, even while we are still living in the world, if that makes sense.
Separation from Pride
God will resist us if we have pride since God “is opposed to the proud but shows favor to the humble” (James 4:6). Isaiah wrote that “this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word” (Isaiah 66:2). We have no reason to boast (Eph 2:8-9) except only in Christ and His work at Calvary.
God tells His people to come out of her (the world) as in Revelation 18:4 which says “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues” and even Paul writes “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you” (2nd Cor 6:17) so we leave behind the sin we used to dive into, even though we might stumble into it occasionally; we leave behind the sinners we used to run with; we leave behind making false assumptions; we leave behind the ways of the world; and we leave behind the old pride-filled heart and humble ourselves before the mighty hand of God (1st Pet 5:6).