When the books of the Bible were first written, they did not have chapter and verse divisions like our Bible does today. Those divisions were inserted, perhaps at the earliest, in the 1200s in the NT, and later in the OT. So, chapters in the Bible are not like those in a book, as sometimes these divisions will occur right in the middle of a thought or even mid-sentence.
So is the case with regard to today’s verse, 2 Corinthians 7:1, for it naturally flows in thought with the previous chapter. Thus, it is better suited as a fitting end to chapter 6 rather than as an introductory thought to chapter 7.
Along this same line of thinking, I will share with you that when I was a young person I had a pastor who taught us that when we see the word “therefore,” that we are to look back and see what it is “there for.” So, that is what I did this morning. I looked back to chapter 6 to see what the “therefore” referred to, as the word means “for that reason.” So, I wanted to know for what reason, and in this case, what promises, too.
2 Corinthians 6:14-16a NASB
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God…
We are not to be in unholy unions (partnerships) with people who do not share our faith in Jesus Christ. A partner is an associate, someone with whom we are united in thought, beliefs, actions, and purpose, though not necessarily on all levels. A partner is someone we join in with, too, with whom we combine efforts, or with whom we share a business adventure.
Basically, we should not join in with or partner with what is not of God, nor with what is contrary to his Word and his divine character and will for our lives. We, as believers in Jesus Christ, should not knowingly marry unbelievers. And, we should not make our best friends and companions those who do not share our faith in Christ, or partner with them in business.
And, this would include, as well, those who claim to believe in Jesus Christ yet who are walking in sin and living like the world. In fact, the scriptures have much to say about us not having close associations with those who profess faith in Christ yet who are living in unrepentant sin. We are to not associate with them that they may be ashamed of their sins and repent (2 Thess. 3:6-14; 1 Co. 5:1-13; Eph. 5:1-21; Tit. 3:9-11; Rom. 16:17).
And, why must we not have these close associations? Because there is no fellowship between light (truth, righteousness) and darkness (evil). And, this includes, too, that there is no fellowship among professing Christians when some of them are following the Lord and some are still following after the flesh, for there is no unity of heart, mind and spirit. For, one has his mind set on Christ while the other has his mind set on the flesh.
Another reason we should not have intimate or very close (binding) relationships with the ungodly is that bad company corrupts good character (1 Co. 15:33). We are strongly influenced by those with whom we closely associate. We may easily slip back into sinful ways if we partner with those who do not have the mind of Christ and who are not walking in his ways. We may begin to think and act like them, instead of like Christ, and be moved away from our pure devotion to Christ, rather than be moved closer to Him.
2 Corinthians 6:16b-18 NASB
… just as God said,
“I will dwell in them and walk among them;
And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
“Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord.
“And do not touch what is unclean;
And 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.
Come Out! Be Separate!
Collectively, as believers in (and as followers of) Jesus Christ, we form the body of Christ, his church. This church, nonetheless, is not a building, nor is it a religious denomination (like Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist). It is also not a business or a corporation under the headship of the government. God does not dwell in these structures of men nor does he put his stamp of approval on them, either. His house is to be a house of prayer, not a marketplace for marketing the church just like they do other businesses.
When the vast majority of the church, at least here in America, joined in with the government in partnership via the 501c3 nonprofit tax exempt status, it partnered with the ungodly and it placed the government in a position of authority over the church, for the church now is a corporation under the rules and authority of a government agency called the IRS. It is now a business of human-making, and it is more often than not run much like a business, too, and is marketed as such, as well. Thus, the church which has done this is now living in spiritual adultery against her Lord.
By joining the church in union with the federal government, the church began to also teach government worship via the pledge (vow) of allegiance (fidelity) to the US government, via the singing of patriotic songs, and via the honoring of our military in church gatherings as our heroes and as the ones who are keeping us safe and protecting our freedoms, instead of us honoring God who is the one keeping us safe and keeping us free in Christ.
So much of the evangelical church then began to go the way of the world, turning their worship services into stage productions to entertain the masses, and turning their pastors into clowns and actors for the same purpose, to keep people entertained and coming back for more. Bible studies often became studies of books written by mere humans, and the hymns were tossed by the wayside in favor of songs with lighter messages, in many cases, and many pastors now meet together to discuss marketing techniques.
So, the church which has partnered with the government and has turned the church into a business, marketing it like a business, is acting in opposition to her Lord, and God is saying to her “Come out from their midst and be separate.” Jesus wants to be her only head, and her only Lord and master, and the only one with whom she is in intimate union. And, God desires that the Holy Spirit be the only one to give guidance and direction to the church, not marketing books written by mere humans.
For, the church, you see, is not such and such Baptist or Presbyterian or whatever organization or building of human making. It is us, the people of God. We are the church. We are his body. And, HE is to be our ONLY head. And HE is the only one to be directing the affairs of his church, and He is the one who is to grow his church, not by human methods, but via salvations and via people growing in their walks of faith and obedience to Christ.
So, God is saying “Come out,” also so that we don’t share in the sins of the ungodly (Babylon) and in her punishment, too (See: Rev. 18:4-8). But, sadly enough, it may take sharing in that punishment to finally get the Lord’s adulterous people to finally separate themselves from these unholy unions with the ungodly.
2 Corinthians 7:1 NASB
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
So, now we are back to where we began with verse 7:1, now that we have looked at what “therefore” was “there for” and what these promises are.
Basically, if we unite ourselves with the ungodly (the unsaved or the adulterous church) in unholy unions, we don’t have these promises. For, our hearts, our loyalties, our devotion, and our fellowship is mixed with the world and with what is ungodly and unholy, and that hinders our pure fellowship with Jesus Christ. These unholy unions serve as competition to our pure devotion to our Lord, and they serve to divide us rather than unite us with our God in holiness, purity, and faithfulness to him alone.
So, we are instructed here that we must cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
To cleanse ourselves from all defilement means to come out from these unholy unions, these partnerships or intimate relationships with the ungodly world or church, and from all their influences, and from all the things we have allowed in our lives because we have made compromises with the world of sin. And, we are to purify our hearts by not only removing what is not of God and what is opposed to God, but then we are to follow our Lord in obedience to his will for our lives.
And “holy” means to be separate (unlike, different) from the world or the worldly church because we are being made to be like Jesus in all that we do, think and are. For, this ungodly church (Babylon) has been diluting the gospel of our salvation to make it acceptable to the world and to human flesh by teaching that God requires no repentance or submission or obedience to him and to his word for our salvation.
So, we need to walk in the fear of God and give him the honor, respect and obedience he so deserves, and then we will experience what is promised here, which this intimate union with our God (Lord), and with Him alone as our only Lord.
Thank You, Lord
An Original Work / May 19, 2011
Thank You, Lord, for saving me;
From my sins set free.
Crucified and risen Lord,
They hung on a tree.
They thought they had finished You.
You came back to life;
Triumphed over hell and sin;
You gave eternal life.
Thank You, Lord, for victory
Over all my sin,
So that I might live with You;
You cleansed me within;
Filled me with your love and pow’r;
Give me strength each day,
So that I might live for You,
To love You and obey.
Thank You, Lord, for your return.
Soon You will arrive
To receive Your bride to You;
Meet You in the sky.
You’ll wipe away all our tears;
Free us from our fears;
Crown our heads in victory.
We’ll praise You with our cheers!
Thursday, August 16, 2018 – Lord Jesus, I pray that each and every person reading this today will take these words spoken here before you in prayer and that they will inquire of you as to what you want them to do with this.