Eph.1:3,4 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.
One of the sad mistakes the church has fallen into over the years is the desire to be like the culture of the world in order to increase their numbers. I can never forget what Dick Mills told me about his observation of the early Pentecostal movement. He said that they experienced the power of His presence for about thirty years. He felt that they lost the power of His presence when they became tired of being different and began to slowly become like the rest of the culture of the world. We are called to be different, to stand out in a godless society. Here is how Barclay describes this separation.
“Holy is the Greek word hagios, which always has in it the idea of difference and of separation….. God is supremely holy because he is different from us….So, God chose Christians that they should be different from other people……In the early Church, Christians never had any doubt that they must be different from the world; they, in fact, knew that they must be so different that the probability was that the world would kill them and the certainty was that the world would hate them. But the tendency in the modern Church has been to play down the difference between the Church and the world. We have, in effect, often said to people: ‘As long as you live a decent, respectable life, it is quite all right to become a church member and to call yourself a Christian. You don’t need to be so very different from other people.’ In fact, Christians should be easily identifiable in the world.”
My first four years of my Christian experience was in a Christian community in California. I guess it was similar to being in a sort of monastery, separated totally from the culture of the world. What happened in my life during that season was the establishing of a Christian lifestyle and culture that has kept me over all of these years. We are intended by God to be different, observably different from the world. We are to be living examples of a different kind of life offered in Christ.