Rev. 05/21/2006          
A Prayer
of Jesus
I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise
and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will

The Detachment
of the Children of God From the World
(Implications for worldly associations -- No. 4 and last of a series)

By Edgar Jones

We open with a definitive statement of Jesus concerning the status of his disciples in the world, and why if must be so:

John.15[19] If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

The first paper of this series discussed the essential meaning of this detachment; the second explains how the detachment is implemented; the third is an expansion of the meaning of freedom as promised by Jesus through this detachment, and this, the fourth in the series, is a brief summary of the implications of the detachment for all worldly associations, with additional insights.

Becoming a disciple of Jesus is the most radical act that anyone can commit.  It takes one into a new set of associations that are absolutely distinct from the normal associations characteristic of human beings.  It translates one's essential selfhood from the bondage of the relativity of the world into the ultimate liberation of the absolute freedom that we have in Jesus.   It does this by delivering us from the bondage of life in this world (absolute death), through repentance, into the glorious freedom of eternal life that is life indeed and freedom indeed (absolute life), through the birth from above that is of the Word and the Holy Spirit.  This occurs in the case of any human individual when one truly submits oneself to this transformation, following the example of Jesus and receiving and believing his Word of Truth.  It is not a case of struggling, fighting, and working to deliver oneself.  It is a case of simply trusting in the promises of God through Jesus of Nazareth.  There is no other salvation.

1. Defining and Listing the Associations 

1. Definition

These associations are of two categories, although all are fundamentally the same.  The first category, that can be called "the bonds of death'  consists of those associations that one acquires automatically at natural birth.  The second, that can be called "chosen" consists of those that one actively acquires during the course of life in this world.

2. The Lists (not comprehensive)

Associations of the first category, acquired automatically at natural birth, include:

1. Life (in this world)
2. The flesh
The race
4. The nation
5. The parents
6. The siblings

Examples of associations of the second category, actively acquired by choice during the course of life, include:

1. Occupation
2. Spouse
3. Children
4. Religion
5. Military
6. Wealth
7. Values
8. Political party
9. Trade union

2. How the Detachment Occurs

1. Life

This is the first association listed above, and the only one in the first category which we need investigate here.  What we say will apply in general to all.

Life in this world is life only in the estimation of human beings who dwell in darkness.  One can call it a provisional state or one that is temporary or for the time being.  It can be called "life' only relative to human perceptions, perceptions that are drawn from the darkness of the world.  In absolute terms -- from the perspective of the Father, it is death!  Listen:

John.5[24] Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life

It is imperative that one understand this to realize the significance of eternal life.  Life in this world is not transformed into a different kind of life when one becomes a disciple of Jesus.  In that case, one would be said to pass from one quality of life into another.  But Jesus has said it: it is to pass from death to life.  This assessment of the status of natural born human beings shows up repeatedly throughout the gospels.  Here is another example:

John.5[25] Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.

The key to interpreting this statement is in the highlighted expression, and now is.  Our first inclination may be to understand this statement to refer to the resurrection of the dead at the last day.  But when we see that it applied to the day on which Jesus spoke the word, it becomes clear that he is referring to all human beings who abide in the absolute state of death in this world.  His Word was going out to the dead population of Israel that day!  Here is yet another example:

Matt.8[21] Another of the disciples said to him, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." 

[22] But Jesus said to him, Follow me, and leave the dead to bury their own dead.

Hopefully, this is sufficient to establish for you this vital fact: This world is populated by the dead.  The perception that people are alive is but an illusion.  The evangelist Matthew, in quoting Isaiah 9:1-2, states it consistently with the facts.

Matt.4[16] the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.

This world is the region of death, a domicile that harbors the dead.  From this perspective, it can be likened to a giant mausoleum! 

How can this be?

Life, eternal life, absolute life, is a state in which God in heaven recognizes and acknowledges the individual and the individual existence.  He has chosen not to know others who are outside this state.  He has deemed them dead, and so they are.  He is, of course, aware of the existence of this world and its dead population as a general category.  He has earnestly worked with selected individuals throughout history, granting them life due to their special qualifications, to the end that the dead of this world might become alive.  It is as Jesus stated:

Luke.20[38] Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living; for all live to him.

All are alive at natural birth.  The above does not apply to little children who are all alive to God.  Jesus has said it this way:


[14] Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.

At some point all die due to willfulness and self assertion contrary to the will of God.  It is this assertion of the will under the bondage of the love of life in this world that produces evil deeds and traps us in the realm of sin, darkness and death.  Release from this captivity can be accomplished only through being begotten from above, thus passing from death to life, a new and living creature in the Spirit!

2. Associations other than life, acquired at birth

The detachment of the children of God from all the associations unique to this world is therefore accomplished by a second birth from above, so as to become children of God who is in heaven.  So it is that one can become detached from all of the associations established by the first birth only by birth from above. This birth is of the Spirit, so as to produce little children of God who are alive to God, having received the gift of eternal life by which one has passed from death to life. Therefore, everything that we received from the first birth, of the flesh, bonds us to the world such that we can only be liberated by a second birth from above -- a birth that makes all the associations of the world that came with the first birth of no effect, and that replaces all of those associations by comparable new ones.  Being from above, this second birth both liberates us from the world associations and bonds us to the associations above, where God is.

I am not here investigating in detail each of the birth acquired world associations listed above. it is enough to state that they have been specifically addressed by Jesus.  Concerning the breaking of the world - parent association and its replacement by the one acquired from above, Jesus  was most explicit:


[9] And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.

Do you see how it works?

3. Associations Chosen during Life in This World

This category includes only those associations chosen by individuals who have not been begotten from above, and therefore chosen on the basis of the interest of self and life in the flesh.  They are not acquired at birth, but afterwards as one chooses.  For your review, here is the list from this category repeated from above (obviously, this is representative only and not a complete list):

1. Occupation
2. Spouse
3. Children
4. Religion
5. Military
6. Wealth
7. Values
8. Political party
9. Trade union

In every case it can be shown that these associations are chosen by the dead under the dominant influence of the love of life that characterize all who abide in death.  Such associations must therefore also suffer a transformation consequent to being begotten from above.  As with the prior list, and for the sake of brevity, I will not discuss each of these here because every one yields to the same Word of Truth.

1. Occupation -- here we need only set the Apostles, Peter and Andrew, before us as examples:


[18] As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.
[19] And he said to them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

2 & 3. Spouse and Children --again, two utterances cover both:


[26] If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.

All associations chosen by one who is dead (abides in death) can and must be replaced, by a similar choice, after one has been begotten from above.  The detachment, which was created by the will of the dead person, can only be broken and replaced by the choices arising out of the will of the living person.

3. A Descriptive Name for the Detachment 

Yes, so radical a detachment as this has a name:


[35] If he called them gods to whom the word of God came (and scripture cannot be broken),
[36] do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, 'you are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God?'


[11] And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to thee, Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.
[14] I have given them thy word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
[15] I do not pray that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil one.
[16] They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
[17] Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth.
[18] As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.
[19] And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth.
[20] "I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word,
[21] that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

Holy, consecrate
and sanctify are the words that Jesus, in the RSV, applies to this radical separation from the world.  Unfortunately, all suffer from their applications to Catholic ritual and other improper application in this and other branches of Christianity.  Holy also suffers from a general sense in that it applies only to God and thus cannot apply to persons yet in this world.  A sanctified person is, by definition, a saint, for the word means the same, but Catholicism decides which unique individuals are thus sanctified based on a lifetime of good works subject to the Church.  The word is nevertheless a good one, even though the Christians have perverted its meaning.  So, to make the meaning of this word, sanctification, very clear as it appears in the utterances of the Lord, we must examine the Greek and Hebrew words from which it springs.


Qadash --

  1. to consecrate, sanctify, prepare, dedicate, be hallowed, be holy, be sanctified, be separate
    1. (Qal)
      1. to be set apart, be consecrated
      2. to be hallowed
      3. consecrated, tabooed
    2. (Niphal)
      1. to show oneself sacred or majestic
      2. to be honoured, be treated as sacred
      3. to be holy
    3. (Piel)
      1. to set apart as sacred, consecrate, dedicate
      2. to observe as holy, keep sacred
      3. to honour as sacred, hallow
      4. to consecrate
    4. (Pual)
      1. to be consecrated
      2. consecrated, dedicated
    5. (Hiphil)
      1. to set apart, devote, consecrate
      2. to regard or treat as sacred or hallow
      3. to consecrate
    6. (Hithpael)
      1. to keep oneself apart or separate
      2. to cause Himself to be hallowed (of God)
      3. to be observed as holy
      4. to consecrate oneself
The dominant theme is clear -- it is to be set apart, separated.


Hagiazo --
  1. to render or acknowledge, or to be venerable or hallow
  2. to separate from profane things and dedicate to God
    1. consecrate things to God
    2. dedicate people to God
 As in the Hebrew of the Old Testament, so in the Greek of the New Testament: It is to set apart, be separated.  So, when Jesus said the words already quoted above:

[16] They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
[17] Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth.

he is asking the Father to separate us, set us apart, from the world.  And this takes place through the agency of thy word is truth.  To be detached from the World in this way is to enter into the Truth that only Jesus has uttered. His Word, the Truth, sets his disciples apart from the World as they learn to conform to his Word of Truth instead of to the World.

Thus comes to pass the detachment from the world of the children of the Father who are in the world.  Thus comes to pass the breaking of old associations, inherited by birth or chosen thereafter, and their replacement by new ones, inherited through birth from above and chosen thereafter.