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.”
Unequally Yoked with Unbelievers
If we are yoked together with another person, “yoked” literally 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).
Examples of this are marriages, contractual relationships, business partnerships, and/or close binding friendships or close associations and fellowships. But it has to do with anyone with whom we are in a cooperative effort to where we must be of the same mind, heart, and purpose, in full agreement, going the same direction with the same ultimate goal in mind.
Okay, so what does it mean to be unequally yoked together? It means we are 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).” (biblehub.com).
So, a believer in Jesus Christ is not to knowingly marry someone who is not a believer in Jesus Christ. But what if you marry someone, believing that person to be a Christian, but later you learn that he/she was not a true follower of Jesus Christ and that you are definitely mismatched, you don’t share the same values, and you are not of the same mind and heart at all?
We read in 1 Corinthians 7 the words of Paul where he (Paul, not the Lord) said that if a Christian has an unbelieving spouse and that spouse consents to live with the Christian that the Christian should not divorce his or her spouse. But if the unbelieving partner separates from his or her spouse, they were to let it be so. And then he said, “For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?” (see 1 Co 7:12-16).
Other Yoked Relationships
But this isn’t just about marriages. We are not to be in close binding relationships with those who genuinely do not share the same Christian values as we do, if we do. And this includes many people who profess faith in Jesus Christ but by their lifestyles it is evident that they do not have true faith in Christ but they are those who give lip service only. For they are still walking according to the flesh and they are not walking according to the Spirit. They are still deliberately and habitually sinning against the Lord.
So, since this is talking about righteousness and lawlessness and fellowship and partnership, I believe we can safely extend this to church fellowships. We should not be in church fellowships which are not of the same heart and mind as God and his word. We should not be in union with church fellowships that are not following God and his word but which are teaching diluted and altered gospels which appease human flesh. If they are not teaching godliness and righteous living we should have no part with them.
We should also not be in church fellowships that are partnered with the ungodly, so we should not be party to these market-driven churches of today which are in contractual relationship with the state (the government) and which are in binding relationships with church denominations, so many of which are marketing the church to the world and thus they are compromising Christian values and the gospel and the Scriptures in order to attract the people of the world to their gatherings.
For we should not be in close fellowship with “churches” which are not the true church but which are businesses of men which are appealing to the felt needs of the people of the world in order to draw in large crowds of people from the world into their gatherings. For we aren’t supposed to conform the church to the world so that the world will love us. The world should hate us! We are to conform to Christ and we are to live holy lives separate (unlike, different) from this sinful world because we are being conformed to the likeness (character, nature) of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Fellowship with God/Christ Jesus
So, in all that we do, and in all of our close relationships with other people, we need to guard against being partners (in agreement, in close fellowship) with those who are living ungodly lives, i.e. who are still living in deliberate and habitual sin and who are not walking in holiness and in righteousness and in obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ. For one thing, we are not to be deceived because bad company corrupts good morals (1 Co 15:33).
And I would add to that to be cautious about the influences of the internet, TV, movies, music, games, etc. We need to guard our hearts and minds against all manner of evil, and this includes deceiving spirits. So we need to test everything and everyone we are listening to against the teachings of the Scriptures (in context), for there are many liars and deceivers out there speaking in the name of Jesus and in the name of the gospel.
Another thing to watch out for are “memes” on social media. They are usually short little messages in a picture, and often they are twisted truth. They sound good, and so many Christians are accepting these messages as truth when many of them are not truth at all, but they are manipulations and alterations of truth and they give a totally different message than the Scriptures do. And usually they are lessons taught from Scriptures removed from their context made to say something they do not say.
So, guard your hearts and minds against evil and ungodly influences both inside and outside of what is commonly referred to as “church,” although not all that is called “church” is indeed the biblical body of Christ. Be very careful regarding what or who you are in agreement with for you may be agreeing to lies, i.e. to alterations of truth which are intended to lead people astray from the truth. And come out from among having close binding fellowship with those not living holy and godly lives.
And, instead, be of one mind and heart with our Lord, following him wherever he leads you, forsaking your sinful practices, and walking in obedience to his commands, in practice. And then you will be in genuine fellowship with the Lord and you will experience him in a way that you may never have experienced him before. You will be united with him in heart and mind, and you will share with him his moral values and you will be walking in holiness and righteousness. And you will know him personally and intimately as your Father and he will regard you as his child.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-11; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Ac 26:18; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Eph 2:8-10]
Remain in Him
An Original Work / September 23, 2011
Based off of John 15:1-17
Walk in fellowship with Jesus, Savior and friend.
He’s invited you to be His servant again.
Obey all His commands and do all that He says.
Sit at His feet each day. Worship Him for always.
Call Him master and King. Obey Him in all things.
Turn from all of your sins. Live in vict’ry again.
He’ll restore you today if you call Him and pray;
Forsake all of your ways; take up your cross today;
Follow Him for always.
Follow Jesus your friend where He leads you today.
Abide always in Him. Let His words dwell within.
If you remain in Him, bearing fruit from within,
God will answer your prayers, because for you He cares.
Be His followers now. Remain in Jesus’ love.
You will know peace within; comes from heaven above.
Love your neighbors and friends, and your enemies, too.
God will call you His friend. He will ne’er forsake you.
He has appointed you.