Tuesday, January 10, 2017, 12:22 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “A Believer’s Prayer.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 (ESV).
Unequally Yoked (6:14-16a)
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?
I can think of no more appropriate application of this passage of scripture than that of the body of Christ being united in a contractual (partnership) relationship (via the 501c3) with the US government (here in America). The body of Christ is just that, Christ’s body. We are his holy bride. We are to be married to no other, especially not to the ungodly. So, when the church, Christ’s body, enters into a partnership agreement with the US government, or any other government, she is, essentially, committing adultery against her Lord, who is to be her ONLY husband and head. She has, thus, made the government her head in place of Christ, and she has become a state church.
Lest we forget, though, the true church is not a legal entity under the authority of any state. It does not have to adhere to the principles that govern a corporation. It does not need the state to give it the right to exist. It is not a business of human-making, nor is it to be marketed as such. It is not a building nor an institution nor an organization nor a social club nor a public charity. It is the body of Christ, with Christ ONLY as its head. It is a living organism made up of the people of God, who are believers in Jesus Christ. And, its (her) only allegiance is to be to God and to God alone!
So, why has the vast majority of the church, especially here in America, decided to be unequally yoked together with the government? Someone in authority over them within church denominations, most likely, convinced them this was necessary in order to be tax exempt, yet they were already tax exempt. But, even if they weren’t, should the church be concerned with such matters? Do we give to God and to his service only because we can get a tax break on our giving? Where did this all go wrong? I believe it went wrong when the people of God decided to institutionalize the body of Christ, which seems to be somewhat a carryover from the OT temple.
In other words, in the OT, or before Jesus died and was resurrected and ascended to heaven and sent his Holy Spirit to indwell his followers, the temple of God was a physical building built by human hands. The Holy of Holies was within this temple structure, and this is where the Ark of the Covenant was placed in which was the presence of God. And, it was only the high priest who could enter into God’s holy presence, and only once a year, to make sacrifice for the sins of the people. Yet, when Jesus died on the cross for our sins, the veil that hung between God’s holy presence and us, the people, was torn in two. Jesus, through his death on a cross, and through his resurrection, made the way possible for us to come into God’s holy presence through faith in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
So, what this means for us is that a church building is not the house of God. When we enter that building, or when we enter a room called a sanctuary, we are not entering into God’s holy presence. God does not dwell in buildings built by human hands. He dwells in the human hearts of those who have repented of their sins and who have turned to follow Jesus Christ with their lives. We also don’t need human priests to mediate for us, between us and God, or to somehow facilitate the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus Christ is our only high priest, and his blood sacrifice for sins was a done deed, i.e. he died once for all, so no more sacrifice is needed. We, as followers of Jesus Christ, are now his kingdom priests. And, God now dwells within us. We are the church. The church is not someplace we go, and it is definitely not a corporation or a business of human making to be marketed as such.
Yet, making the church into a corporation under the authority of the government paved the way for the church to be adulterated even more than before. Now that it (the institutional church) was incorporated, it was, thus, marketed in the same way most any other business is marketed, which is to the world (its customer base). So, the gospel had to be diluted in order to appeal to human flesh so as not to be offensive. Entertainment and the big show became the focal point of “church” meetings in order to attract the world to come to the “church,” i.e. to these businesses of human-making. And, humanistic philosophy and sensuality and ungodliness began to take over biblical teaching, holiness and righteousness. Also, the Holy Spirit was kicked to the curb in the vast majority of these corporate churches.
The Temple of God (6:16b-18)
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.”
So, God is calling out to his true church to come out from among the ungodly, i.e. that there would not be an unholy union between God’s holy people and the people of this sinful world. The church needs to be the church again, i.e. she needs to be the body of Christ, with Christ as her only head, and she needs to operate as his body and not as a business of men. The only way that the ungodly can be brought into the church, which is Christ’s body, is through faith in Jesus Christ, not via human marketing schemes. The purpose of the gatherings of the church is for the body of Christ to be encouraged, strengthened, built up in the faith, grow to maturity, be instructed in holiness and godliness, and for true Christian fellowship, true (unadulterated) worship of God, and for the breaking of bread and prayer. Then, she is to go out into the world with the gospel of salvation so that many will be saved, and the saved then ARE the church.
The church, Christ’s body, needs to be reeducated as to who the church really is, because many have it all backwards. I don’t have to go to a building called “church” to be in obedience to my Lord in not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together. And, if I do join in with an institutional church, and I become a member of such an organization, I am being unequally yoked together with unbelievers, and so I would be acting in disobedience to my Lord, for the institutional church is unequally yoked together with an ungodly government and with the world. So, to be in obedience to my Lord I must not participate with the institutional church in their ungodly ways and in their spiritual adultery, but I must come out from among her, and I must be separate, and not be a partaker in what I know is not only not of God, but is against God and his Word.
Cleanse Ourselves (7:1)
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.
So, what is the church’s responsibility with regards to all this? I believe it is to separate from the institution of church, and to unincorporate the church, and to come out from the unholy union with the government, and to no longer market the church to the world as a worldly business. The body of Christ needs to meet together as the body of Christ, not as a business, and not invite the ungodly into our meetings, and thus end up conforming the meetings to the desires of human flesh. The gatherings of the church should not be places where the ungodly feel at home and comfortable. If any unsaved person should come into one of our meetings, they should fall under the conviction of the Holy Spirit because the uncompromising word of God is being taught with the full conviction of and under the enormous power of the Holy Spirit. The church’s purpose is not to “make nice” with the world, but it is to walk in humble obedience and surrender to her ONLY Lord and master, Jesus Christ.
To walk in the fear of God means we honor God by all that we do and say and are. It means we obey him, and we do what he says. So, if he says we are not to be unequally yoked together with the ungodly, and that we are to come out from among them and be separate, then that is what we need to do, not matter how hard it may be, or how unpopular, or even how impractical it may seem by human standards. We need to break with human tradition in order to do what is right. And, we need to be willing to face the scorn of others who are so steeped in tradition that they will not understand why we are not “going to church” someplace, and may thus judge us to be among the ungodly, or at least they will probably think we are backslidden. Yet, we are NOT to forsake the assembling of ourselves together. We need to meet regularly together with other believers in Jesus for the purpose of teaching, fellowship, communion, prayer and service. This is essential!
A Believer’s Prayer / An Original Work / July 31, 2012
With my whole heart, Lord, I pray
To be Yours, and Yours always.
Lead me in Your truth today.
May I love You, and obey.
Lead me in Your righteousness.
When I sin, may I confess;
Bow before You when I pray;
Live for You and You always.
Love You, Jesus, You’re my friend.
Life with You will never end.
You are with me through each day,
Giving love and peace always.
You will ne’er abandon me.
From my sin You set me free.
You died on that cruel tree,
So I’d live eternally.
Soon You’re coming back for me;
From this world to set me free;
Live with You eternally.
Oh, what joy that brings to me.
I will walk with You in white;
A pure bride, I’ve been made right
By the blood of Jesus Christ;
Pardoned by His sacrifice.