2 Corinthians 6:14-18; 7:1 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? 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.’
“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.”
What does it mean to be yoked together with another person? Literally it means “to harness two or more people or animals together with a yoke (a heavy frame or harness usually fitted around the necks of draft animals to pull carts, plows, etc.).” Or “To bind or join two or more people together in some condition, activity, or situation” (thefreedictionary.com).
And to be unequally yoked together means “mismatched” and it is “used figuratively of Christians wrongly committed to a partner holding very different values (priorities), i.e., that run contrary to faith (the kingdom of God).” And it means “different kinds of people joined together but unevenly matched; hence ‘unequally yoked’ (not aptly joined).” (1)
Well, the Scriptures teach that, as followers of Jesus, we are to come out from the world and to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being made holy, to be like Jesus. But they also teach that we are to go out into the world to preach the gospel, and to love the people as Jesus did, and that we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth.
So, obviously this is not teaching that we are to completely separate ourselves from the people of the world, for we are to share the love and grace of Jesus with the world. But we aren’t supposed to be like the world. We are not to take on the character of the ungodly, to think, speak, and act like they do or to share the same philosophies or attitudes about life.
So, what would be considered a “yoked” relationship? Certainly, a marriage falls into that category. We, as Christians, are not to marry those we know are not believers in Jesus Christ. But what if the person we married professed to be a Christian, but it turned out after the wedding that he or she didn’t live like a follower of Jesus, but he or she continued living in sin?
I’m going to put that question on hold and continue here…
What else is a yoked relationship? A business partnership could certainly fall into that category, as could a really close friend, one you spend many hours with doing things together, sharing stories, talking about what is going on in your lives, discussing beliefs, values, priorities, philosophies, etc. He or she could also be a family member who does not share your same values.
Also, a church fellowship could fall into this category, for if you join in with a church fellowship which is teaching a false and adulterated gospel, and which is giving permission for Christians to continue on in their sin without guilt, and which is telling them that God does not require obedience, or which is following man-made religion or marketing schemes instead of the Scriptures and the leading of the Holy Spirit, you should not unite with them.
We are not to have close knit relationships with those who do not believe in Jesus and with those who are not living godly and holy lives, but who are living worldly and sinful lifestyles. We are not to be united together with them, working together toward the same goals, going the same direction, doing all the same things, and having the same exact conversations.
Because there is no partnership between righteousness and lawlessness. And there is no fellowship between light and darkness. For, one is given over to following after the flesh, and the other is given over to following after the Spirit, and the two are not in agreement, and so they conflict with and they are opposed to each other. And there is a danger of the influence of evil having an effect on the godly and leading them to compromise.
Much of today’s institutional church is blending the two together in order to appeal to the people of the world and to human flesh. So, they have altered the gospel, and they have altered how the church functions, and they have turned many of their gatherings into worldly places of entertainment, fun, and socialization among people of all walks of life.
But there is no agreement between the true body of Christ and these institutional (man-made) organizations, corporations, and businesses of human origin. The true body of Christ has Jesus as their head and the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit guiding them in what to do, and in what to say, and in what to teach, and in how to function as the body of Christ.
But these institutional churches are being led by humans, and they are being marketed just like any other product being marketed in any other business to the people of the world. For, their target audience is the people of the world, and so they are trying to meet their “felt needs” so that they will want to come to the gatherings of what is falsely called “church.”
And many of them are teaching “another Jesus” and a “different gospel” other than the one Jesus taught and that his NT apostles taught. And they are diluting the gospel message to make it more attractive and acceptable to the world and to human flesh, and so they are rejecting the truth of the gospel and its messengers in favor of the “cheap grace” gospel.
But we, as followers of Jesus, are to be the Lord’s. He is to be our only God (Lord), and we are to be His people, not people who go along with the trappings of the world thinking that we are somehow going to win people to Jesus Christ, for the Jesus we will be leading them to is not the Jesus of the Scriptures, but one created in the minds of humans.
So, if you are in a church fellowship, which is a 501c3 institutional church (in America), or any institutional church in any nation, which is being led by humans and humanistic philosophy and which is teaching a diluted gospel and which is marketing the church to the world and is thus compromising with the world to win them to their gatherings, go out from them.
If your preacher is teaching a diluted gospel which is teaching the people that they can be saved and have heaven guaranteed them but that they don’t have to obey the Lord or submit to him as Lord, and that they don’t have to leave their sinful lifestyles behind them, then leave!
We are to have no part with such fellowships which are worldly, and which are opposed to godliness, righteousness, and the gospel which Jesus taught, for there is no fellowship between light and darkness, and we, if we are following Jesus with our lives, are going to keep being opposed, and we will keep being presented with falsehood, and we aren’t to party with that.
Instead, we are supposed to “cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.”
Seek the Lord
An Original Work / July 20, 2012
Based off Isaiah 55
“Come to Me all you who thirst; come to waters.
Listen to Me, and eat what’s good today,
And your soul will delight in richest of fare.
Give ear to Me, and you will live.
I have made an eternal covenant with you.
Wash in the blood of the Lamb.”
Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him.
Let the wicked forsake his way, in truth.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will receive mercy.
Freely, God pardons him.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,”
declares the Lord, our God.
“My word that goes out of My mouth is truthful.
It will not return to Me unfulfilled.
My word will accomplish all that I desire,
And achieve the goal I intend.
You will go in joy and be led forth in peace.
The mountains will burst into song… before you,
And all of the trees clap their hands.”
P.S. Regarding my unanswered question, what do you believe the Bible teaches about unequally yoked marriages that began with the belief that they were equally yoked, and that the realization that they were unequally yoked didn’t come until much later?