Separation from the world means a coming out from its ideas, theories, habits, practices, worldly associations and everything that is contrary to the word of God. John 17:15, 16; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17; Revelation 18:4.
"There is a distinct line drawn by God Himself between the world and the church, between commandment keepers, and commandment breakers. They do not blend together."—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 602.
"To protect the people of God from the corrupting influence of the world, as well as to promote physical and moral health, the dress reform was introduced among us. It was not intended to be a yoke of bondage, but a blessing; not to increase labor, but to save labor; not to add to the expense of dress, but to save expense. It would distinguish God's people from the world, and thus serve as a barrier against its fashions and follies."—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 634.
"God will test the fidelity of His people. Many of the mistakes that are made by the professed servants of God are in consequence of their self-love, their desire of approval, their thirst for popularity. Blinded in this manner, they do not realize that they are elements of darkness rather than of light. 'Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.' These are the conditions upon which we may be acknowledged as sons of God—separation from the world and renunciation of those things which delude, and fascinate, and ensnare." —Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 12-13.
"Christ's followers are required to come out from the world, and be separate, and touch not the unclean, and they have the promise of being the sons and daughters of the Most High, members of the royal family. But if the conditions are not complied with on their part, they will not, cannot, realize the fulfillment of the promise."—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 441.
"As soon as any have a desire to imitate the fashions of the world, that they do not immediately subdue, just so soon God ceases to acknowledge them as His children. They are the children of the world and of darkness."—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 137.
"Jesus is coming; and will He find a people conformed to the world? And will He acknowledge these as His people that He has purified unto Himself? Oh, no. None but the pure and holy will He acknowledge as His."—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 133.
One of the conditions on which God promises to accept us as His people is separation from the world. Matthew 6:24; James 4:4; 2 Peter 1:4. As the children of Israel were required to wear a ribbon of blue as a sign of distinction between themselves and the idolatrous nations around them, so God's church today is to observe the principles of dress reform. Numbers 15:37-41. Believers should dress modestly, healthfully, tastefully, and neatly, thus representing the principles of the heavenly kingdom.
"To protect the people of God from the corrupting influence of the world, as well as to promote physical and moral health, the dress reform was introduced among us. It was not intended to be a yoke of bondage, but a blessing; not to increase labor, but to save labor; not to add to the expense of dress, but to save expense. It would distinguish God's people from the world, and thus serve as a barrier against its fashions and follies. He who knows the end from the beginning, who understands our nature and our needs—our compassionate Redeemer—saw our dangers and difficulties, and condescended to give us timely warning and instruction concerning our habits of life, even in the proper selection of food and clothing."—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 634.
"Our words, our actions, and our dress are daily, living preachers, gathering with Christ or scattering abroad. This is no trivial matter to be passed off with a jest. The subject of dress demands serious reflection and much prayer. Many unbelievers have felt that they were not doing right in permitting themselves to be slaves of fashion; but when they see some who make a high profession of godliness dressing as worldlings dress, enjoying frivolous society, they decide that there can be no wrong in such a course."—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 641.
The Bible places emphasis on modesty and self-respect, forbidding the extravagant and immodest fashions and customs of the world in both men and women. Although in time past fashion was mostly a problem with women, unfortunately as we approach the end, Satan is even destroying the experience of some men on this point. Such designs as tight revealing clothing, slits, shorts, and see-through fabrics (exposing nakedness), unhealthful footwear, jewelry and following modern trends for the sake of fashion is detrimental to the Christian's experience and is prohibited in the word of God. Through these things we exert a negative influence upon others, and we would have to answer to God for leading souls to decide against the truth by thus living in contradiction with our profession of faith. Genesis 35:1-4; Isaiah 3:16-24; 1 Timothy 2:9, 10; 1 Peter 3:1-5.
Men and women are not to cause confusion of the sexes either by their conduct, by wearing their clothing or having their appearance (length of hair) resemble that of the opposite sex, for God pronounces it an abomination. "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God." Deuteronomy 22:5; 1 Corinthians 11:14, 15.
"There is an increasing tendency to have women in their dress and appearance as near like the other sex as possible, and to fashion their dress very much like that of men, but God pronounces it abomination. 'In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety.' 1 Timothy 2:9."—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 421.
From the very beginning of the creation of mankind, God placed a difference between men and women and He wants this distinction to be maintained. Genesis 1:27. "God designed that there should be a plain distinction between the dress of men and women, and has considered the matter of sufficient importance to give explicit directions in regard to it; for the same dress worn by both sexes would cause confusion and great increase of crime. Were the apostle Paul alive, and should he behold women professing godliness with this style of dress, he would utter a rebuke. 'In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.' The mass of professed Christians utterly disregard the teachings of the apostles, and wear gold, pearls, and costly array."—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 460.
Moreover, when they come into the presence of God for their worship services, there is yet to be a further distinction in their manner of dress. Exodus 3:5; 20:26; 28:42, 43. As a sign of reverence and respect, when we come to the house of worship we should wear appropriate attire. John 21:7; Genesis 3:7, 21; Isaiah 6:2; Psalm 89:7.
"I am often pained as I enter the house where God is worshiped, to see the untidy dress of both men and women. If the heart and character were indicated by the outward apparel, then certainly nothing could be heavenly about them. They have no true idea of the order, the neatness, and the refined deportment that God requires of all who come into His presence to worship Him. What impressions do these things give to unbelievers and to the youth, who are keen to discern and to draw their conclusions?
"In the minds of many there are no more sacred thoughts connected with the house of God than with the most common place. Some will enter the place of worship with their hats on, in soiled, dirty clothes. Such do not realize that they are to meet with God and holy angels. There should be a radical change in this matter all through our churches. Ministers themselves need to elevate their ideas, to have finer susceptibilities in regard to it. It is a feature of the work that has been sadly neglected. Because of the irreverence in attitude, dress, and deportment, and lack of a worshipful frame of mind, God has often turned His face away from those assembled for His worship."—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 498-499.
The followers of Christ, knowing that God has taken garments as a type of righteousness (Revelation 19:8), cannot be disorderly and untidy in their dress.
Even things which are lawful in themselves, if practiced in a wrong way, with the wrong crowd, in the wrong place, and at the wrong time, may work as a snare of Satan. But, in the first place, we should shun the most evident evils, such as worldly associations, worldly music, worldly games, worldly amusements, worldly fashions, involvement in politics, and the corrupting influence of satanic "garbage" coming through the mass media, which generally appeals to weak minds.
"It should be understood whether those who profess to be converted are simply taking the name of Seventh‑day Adventists, or whether they are taking their stand on the Lord's side to come out from the world and be separate and touch not the unclean thing. When they give evidence that they fully understand their position, they are to be accepted. But when they show that they are following the customs and fashions and sentiments of the world, they are to be faithfully dealt with. If they feel no burden to change their course of action, they should not be retained as members of the church. The Lord wants those who compose His church to be true, faithful stewards of the grace of Christ."—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 128.
"Fashion is deteriorating the intellect and eating out the spirituality of our people. Obedience to fashion is pervading our Seventh-day Adventist churches and is doing more than any other power to separate our people from God. . . . Our church rules are very deficient. All exhibitions of pride in dress, which is forbidden in the word of God, should be sufficient reason for church discipline. If there is a continuance, in face of warnings and appeals and entreaties, to still follow the perverse will, it may be regarded as proof that the heart is in no way assimilated to Christ. Self, and only self, is the object of adoration, and one such professed Christian will lead many away from God."—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 647.
"The words, the dress, the actions, should tell for God. Then a holy influence will be shed upon all around them, and even unbelievers will take knowledge of them that they have been with Jesus."—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 634.
"There should be no carelessness in dress. For Christ's sake, whose witness we are, we should seek to make the best of our appearance."—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 96.
God has made His people a light in this world. As such, they are to enter into social relations with the people around them with the purpose of bringing the gospel message to them. Matthew 5:13-16; John 17:15. But God has also made a definite distinction between His people and the world. If we want to be identified with Christ, we will shun the society of worldlings, which would be detrimental to our Christian experience. We cannot place ourselves where Christ cannot go with us. Ezekiel 44:23; Amos 3:3; 2 Corinthians 6:14-17.
Professed Christians who do not understand this principle, and who love that which they should abominate, will be classified with the evil servant. Matthew 24:48-51. Separation from the world also involves separation from secret societies, political parties, participation in labor unions, business partnerships with unbelievers and any other confederacy with the world. Isaiah 8:12; John 8:23; 18:36.
"Those only who deny self, and live a life of sobriety, humility, and holiness, are true followers of Jesus; and such cannot enjoy the society of the lovers of the world."—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 633.
"There are persons with a diseased imagination to whom religion is a tyrant, ruling them as with a rod of iron. Such are constantly mourning over their depravity and groaning over supposed evil. Love does not exist in their hearts; a frown is ever upon their countenances. They are chilled by the innocent laugh from the youth or from anyone. They consider all recreation or amusement a sin and think that the mind must be constantly wrought up to just such a stern, severe pitch. This is one extreme. Others think that the mind must be ever on the stretch to invent new amusements and diversions in order to gain health. They learn to depend on excitement, and are uneasy without it. Such are not true Christians. They go to another extreme. The true principles of Christianity open before all a source of happiness, the height and depth, the length and breadth of which are immeasurable."—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 565.
"I do not condemn the simple exercise of playing ball; but even this, even in its simplicity, may be overdone."—The Adventist Home, p. 499
"Let several families living in a city or village unite and leave the occupations which have taxed them physically and mentally, and make an excursion into the country to the side of a fine lake or to a nice grove where the scenery of nature is beautiful. They should provide themselves with plain, hygienic food, the very best fruits and grains, and spread their table under the shade of some tree or under the canopy of heaven. The ride, the exercise, and the scenery will quicken the appetite, and they can enjoy a repast which kings might envy.
"On such occasions parents and children should feel free from care, labor, and perplexity. Parents should become children with their children, making everything as pleasant for them as possible. Let the whole day be given to recreation. Exercise in the open air for those whose employment has been withindoors and sedentary will be beneficial to health. All who can, should feel it a duty to pursue this course. Nothing will be lost, but much gained." —Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 514-515.