How We Live Antithetically to this World
And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.Revelation 18:4
Christians are called to live antithetically to this world. That call is found throughout Scripture, but in Revelation 17-18, we have a particularly powerful description of the world and the Christian’s duty to separate from it. In order to do so successfully, we need to do three things: recognize the world for what it is, know our own identity, and know our action plan.
Recognize the world for what it is
These chapters portray a vivid picture of the world order, the spirit of the age that is destined for destruction in God’s powerful judgment. The world is pictured here as glittering with an alluring yet false beauty. Those with spiritual eyes are given to see through the false beauty a dead, rotting corpse. The world is described as a habitation for birds of prey that feed on dead flesh. Not a pretty picture, is it? Despite its false beauty and hollowness, the world is influential. For those who have come out of the world, you know the powerful influence and grasp that it has on you. There are three areas in particular for which we need to look out: insatiable hunger for material wealth, sensuality, and a Christ-less spirit. Have you come to recognize this world? Such a world is under judgment because the strong angel cries out, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen” (Rev. 18:2).
Living in concert with that world is to live under the judgment of God, but to live antithetically to that world is to live under the life-giving salvation of God. Recognize the world for what it is: a world under judgment.
Recognize your own identity
If you would happen to lose your identity, you feel vulnerable, lost, and directionless. It is the same in living antithetically to the world: you cannot do so unless you have a clear identity established by Spirit-wrought faith in Christ. In Revelation 18:4, we read,
“Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”
Have you been born again and united to Christ by faith? If so, He calls you “my people.” He lays claim to you by His grace. He calls us to be holy as He is holy (1 Pet. 1:15).
In everyday life, you might have several identity cards for different purposes. You have a driver’s license to identify your qualifications as a driver; you might have an identity badge to get into your workplace. You can move seamlessly from one area to the other using both cards. But in the spiritual world, you cannot use your identity card as it were to enter the world and then use another identity card to enter the kingdom of Christ. We are called to radical holiness and to participate in the kingdom of Christ in opposition to the world and the kingdom of darkness. Whose side are you on?
Know your action plan
There is a clear action plan from these verses – come out! If you are still in the world in some way – sadly, we can all find where the world still has a grip on us – you are called to lay it down and follow Christ. Does the world have a hold on you in perverted sexuality? Come out; think on those things that are lovely and pure. Meditate on God’s holiness and requirements for our bodies, which are temples of the Holy Spirit. Do we have a desire for material wealth? Come out. Nothing we have here in this life is permanent and actually everything belongs to the Lord. Whatever does not serve Him will be met with judgment. Do you have a spirit within you that is still anti-God and anti-Christ? Come out through the only exit available: through the cross of Christ. Having come out, take up your cross and follow Him (Luke 9:23). Resist the world and its influence by filling the mind and heart with the Word and with Christ. Seek help and accountability in the church for living opposite to the world.