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As Christians, should we separate ourselves from the world or build bridges to them?

“The rest of the people—priests, Levites, gatekeepers, musicians, temple servants and all who separated themselves from the neighboring peoples for the sake of the Law of God, together with their wives and all their sons and daughters who are able to understand— all these now join their fellow Israelites the nobles, and bind themselves with a curse and an oath to follow the Law of God given through Moses the servant of God and to obey carefully all the commands, regulations and decrees of the Lord our Lord.” Nehemiah 10:28-29

            We must build bridges and shine the light of Christ into their lives.  Now this seems different than what Nehemiah pressed his people to do.  But we must understand Israel’s purpose.  Israel existed to be a model nation to all the other nations.  They were meant to exemplify purity, a nation for Jews who told the story of God.  

However, they accepted outsiders all throughout their history (Rahab, Ruth).  Those outsiders needed to be sold out for Israel and to the God of that nation.  They were just as accepted as the Jews.

Jesus came and showed acceptance to all people, sinners from all backgrounds.  The fulfillment of Israel’s purpose to prepare a place for the Messiah was nearly complete and now they could exist like all the other nations—this time with a different and more powerful message that the Messiah had come to purify all lives, so we can live differently while we live in the world.