“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 ESV
“Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.”
2 Corinthians 7:1 ESV
We concluded our previous study with a call to be ambassadors of God’s message of reconciliation, in our words and deeds. At the start of chapter six Paul appeals to his readers “…not to receive the grace of God in vain” (2 Corinthians 6:1). Later on in verse 12 he said the Corinthians were not restricted by Paul and Timothy, but in their own affections. How does all of this link to not being “unequally yoked with unbelievers” ?
The grace of God was not given to us, in vain, so that we may continue living in sin, but that we may be a new creation in Christ, being changed into the likeness of Jesus everyday, through the power of the Holy Spirit. In the Old Testament, God chose His people and called them to be a holy nation (Exodus 19:6). In the New Testament Christians are called a holy and royal Priesthood (1 Peter 2:9).
Holiness means to be set apart or different. It is no wonder then that Paul warns the Corinthians not to be “unequally yoked with unbelievers”. We are to proclaim the Gospel to the world, but Christians should not have deep relational ties with the world. Dwight L. Moody rightly said, “Christians should live in the world, but not be filled with it. A ship lives in the water; but if the water gets into the ship, she goes to the bottom. So Christians may live in the world; but if the world gets into them, they sink.”
Our deepest affections should be with God and those who lead and grow us into a deeper relationship with Christ, as members of the body (temple) of the living God. That’s why regular church attendance, Bible studies and one-to-one accountability pairs are of the utmost importance to Christians. These relationships will affect the way we live in the world – what we spend most of our time, energy and money on.