In this section Paul refers again to what he was discussing in chapters 2 and 6. What distinguishes this section of the book, however, is the exceedingly intimate way he bares his heart to these Christians in the city of Corinth. Intimacy is a very important thing because it is something we all hunger for and yet it is something, unfortunately, we very seldom find.

Biblical separation also occurs in matters of business. The principle of intimacy also enters into our workplaces. Say, for example, you work for an insurance company. I do not know how you could practice separation there in a radical way because you have all kinds of people with whom you must interact. You have Christians, those of other faiths, atheists, all together. If you separate there, you will not be able to work. But suppose you want to enter into a partnership with somebody. You will share a business with your partner. Here is the point at which this principle would enter.

Separation is to be setting apart unto God. This is really what sanctification is all about. Sanctification is consecration. There are many things that, as a Christian, you will not do and lots of trouble you will not get into, not because you are not capable, but because you will be too busy doing the Lord’s work. You will not even think about such things because you will primarily want to please God. Instead of criticizing others, you will hope for and be glad when they also try to please God. And you will rejoice in all of that together.

These matters of the unity of the church should be wrestled through carefully. A congregation must ask the question, "When must a congregation that wants to remain faithful to Scripture separate from a denomination, which, in its judgment, is not being faithful to Scripture?" This question does not concern what individuals are to do. Today people drift around from church to church, never settling down. I think that is a great mistake.

We come to a section of 2 Corinthians that contains just six verses. This is a portion of the book where Paul breaks away from what he has been saying to deal with what was evidently a problem in his time, as it is now in ours. It is the very great problem of the separation of Christians from the world. There have been more divisions in the church over the debate of this issue than perhaps any other. Whole denominations are based upon this principle of separation.