Not United with Ungodly
2 Corinthians 6:14-16 ESV
“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?”
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are not to be yoked (bonded, united) in close intimate relationships and in fellowship with other people who are not united with Christ by genuine faith in him. Thus, an “unbeliever” may include many professers of faith in Jesus Christ who are not bonded with Christ via genuine obedient faith in Jesus Christ.
This doesn’t mean we can’t associate with unbelievers, though, for Jesus called us to love people and to minister to their needs and to share the truth of the gospel with them, like Jesus did. So, this doesn’t mean we go hide in a monastery and that we close ourselves off from the world.
So, what does this mean? It means we don’t partner with the ungodly. We don’t do the things that they do that are against our faith in Jesus Christ. We don’t unite ourselves with the world and we don’t immerse ourselves in the culture of the world so that the world will like us, either.
For, God called us to be a holy people, separate from the godless world. We are no longer to be conformed to the ways of this sinful world so that we think and behave like them, or to where we take on their attitudes and values. We are not to be linked together with the ungodly to where we become like them and to where we do the things that they do.
For one thing, bad company corrupts good character. Now, to be fair, sometimes the bad company is that of professing Christians, and the good character might be that of an unbeliever who is living a morally pure life. He or she is still not delivered from slavery to sin, but many times unbelievers live more morally pure lives than do professed Christians.
So, we need to be discerning here. Just because someone claims to have faith in Jesus Christ does not mean that person is going to be someone of good influence in our lives. Sometimes they may be ones who will drag us down spiritually and morally, and who will lead us into sin and not to righteous living.
So, the Scriptures also teach that we are not to have close associations with those who profess the name of Jesus but who are living in immorality.
And, this is because there is no fellowship between light and darkness. We can’t live in both worlds. We can’t mix them together. We can’t unite ourselves with the ungodly world and try to be united (bonded) with Christ, too. The one will always be at war with the other. And, we will be forever conflicted in our loyalties and devotion, too, when we mix the world with our faith in Christ.
Come Out and Be Separate
2 Corinthians 6:16-18 ESV
“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.”
Whether in Old Testament times or in New Testament times, God has always desired to have his people be separate from the world and unto God. He has always been jealous for his people that they live in purity of devotion to their God and that they do not mix with the heathen world and to take on their gods and their godless practices.
So, what was true in the Old Testament regarding God’s desires for his people to live holy lives separate from the ungodly world is still true today.
And, we need to take these words to heart. For so much of today’s church, at least here in America, is mixing with the world and with big business and they have partnered with the government, bringing the government into the church gatherings as an additional “head.”
They are conforming the gatherings of the church to the world to attract the world to their gatherings. Thus, they have also diluted the gospel of our salvation to make the message more appealing and acceptable to the world and to the flesh of man. Thus, they removed God’s requirements for repentance, obedience, and submission to Jesus as Lord of our lives.
So, the Lord is saying here that we must come out from the world and to be separate. And, this means to come out from among these gatherings of what is called “church” where they are bonding with the ungodly and where they are diluting the gospel in order to appease the flesh of man and to give license to “Christians” to keep on living in sin without guilt.
For, we are to touch no unclean thing. We are not to have the uncleanness and the godlessness of this world touch our lives, i.e. impact our lives to such an extent to where we turn away from the truth that we know to follow after the lies and to follow after the passions of our flesh instead of after Christ and his holiness.
Therefore, we must separate ourselves from what is immoral, wicked, evil, fleshly, and godless. We must not, as followers of Jesus, be taking into our minds and hearts what is wicked and immoral. We should not be listening to and viewing what is evil and that which glorifies the lusts of the flesh.
Then, it says that God will welcome us, which is what the gospel teaches us. We must die to sin and live to righteousness, and we must not walk according to our sinful flesh if we want to be in fellowship with God and to have eternal life with God (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9).
2 Corinthians 7:1 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.”
So, what promises do we have here? The promises are conditional. We must not unite ourselves in partnership with the ungodly. We must not be like them in character or in deed. We must not do the things that they do or think the thoughts that they think or say the kinds of things that they say.
But we must come out from among them and to be separate (unlike, different) from the godless world. And, we must not be tainted by the sinful world and by their practices. But we must walk in purity of devotion to our Lord, in submission to Christ as Lord, and in his power and strength.
Then the Lord will welcome us, and he will be a Father to us, and we will be his sons and daughters.
So, since we have these promises, which are conditional, we must cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit. And, how do we do that? By surrendering our lives to Jesus Christ, and by walking in obedience to his word and to his ways and to his instructions for us in godly living.
We must put out of our lives all that is of the flesh and all that which is evil and immoral, and we must live godly and holy lives, pleasing to God, in the power of God. This is not saying we must be perfect, but that we must be walking (living) according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh. Our lifestyles should be godly, not worldly, and not immoral and impure.
Hide Me, Rock of Ages
Brantley C. George, 1946
Oh Thou blessed rock of ages
Trusting now dear Lord in Thee
Keep me till my journey’s ended
Till Thy blessed face I see
Keep me when the storm clouds gather;
‘Til the sun comes shining through;
Keep me ‘til my work is over;
‘Til I bid this world adieu.
When my journey is completed
And there’s no more work to do
Saviour guide my weary spirit
Happy land beyond the blue
Hide me oh blessed rock of ages
‘Til Thy blessed face I see
When the storm around me rages
Rock of ages hide Thou me
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