17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.”
This verse is an allusion to Isaiah 52:11 and Ezekiel 20:41. The context of Isaiah is the carrying of the vessels of the Lord’s temple out of Babylon.
“Come out from among them
The challenge here is separation from evil influences. This is a command to separate oneself from religion—that is, Satan’s system of attracting people to falsehood.
And be separate,
The Christian is to make a clean-cut break with sharing the values of non-Christians.
says the Lord.
This phrase draws attention to the fact that Paul drew on biblical truth.
Do not touch what is unclean,
The word “touch” means harmful touch (1 Jn 5:18). Believers should not tamper with unclean values, whether social, commercial, or religious, because it is detrimental to their spiritual lives.
And I will receive [welcome] you.”
Separation is a necessary condition for fellowship with God
Fellowship with God requires holiness.
There should be no intimate complicity with the unregenerate. Undue fellowship with non-Christian values breaks our fellowship with God. Since the Christian is distinct from non-Christians and their values, there must be separation from their lifestyle.
Our passage does not teach separation from other believers. Other passages do.