Whose Side are You On?

2 Corinthians 6:14-18; 2 Corinthians 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.

Who are the Unbelievers?

Let’s begin by defining “unbelievers.” In Hebrews 3:18-19 an unbeliever is defined as one who is disobedient to the Lord, in practice. And Hebrews 4:6,11 also defines unbelief as disobedience. The same is said in 1 John 2:3-6 where it says that if we claim to know God, but we do not obey his commandments, then we are liars and the truth is not in us. And in 1 John 3:4-10 we learn that no one who is born of God makes a practice of sinning, and whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God.

But Paul taught the same thing. He taught that those who make a practice of sinning will not inherit the kingdom of God, and that those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires (Galatians 5:16-24). And he taught that the sexually immoral, idolaters, and adulterers, etc., will not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil (2 Corinthians 5:10; cf. Ephesians 5:3-6; Romans 6:15-16; Romans 8:1-14).

So, when this teaches that we are not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers, this includes all those who are professing faith in Jesus Christ but who are living immoral lives, in practice (see 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; 2 Timothy 3:1-5). We are not to associate (keep company, be in intimate fellowship) with anyone who claims to be a Christ follower but who is living an immoral and wicked life, in practice, deliberately and habitually sinning against the Lord without true repentance and lacking in any obedience to the Lord. For those who live in habitual sin do not know God.

Unequally Yoked

So, what does it mean for us to be “unequally yoked”? Well, to be “yoked” together is to be linked (united, allied, associated, joined) together. And we get a picture of what “unequally yoked” means just by reading this passage of Scripture. For it speaks of how there is no partnership between righteousness and lawlessness. And there is no genuine fellowship between light and darkness. And there is no harmony between Christ and Belial (a name of Satan), etc. for these are all opposites.

So to be unequally yoked with unbelievers (the disobedient, those living in sin) means that we have some partnership, some cooperation, some mutual agreement, some alliance with those who are living opposite of what the Scriptures teach, who are lawless, unrighteous, living in slavery to sin, wicked, immoral, etc., in practice. So this would necessitate some type of compromise of faith and convictions and moral standards, etc. to be in such a close bond with those living opposite of what we are supposed to live.

Now, this is not saying that we are to have no associations with the people of the world. For we are to love the people of the world, and we are to minister God’s love and grace to them, and we are to show them kindness and care for their needs and be hospitable and share with them the gospel of Christ. So, this passage specifically addresses these kinds of close intimate relationships where two people (or more) are united in heart and mind, and therefore it means compromise and detouring from the true faith.

The Temple of God

As genuine followers of Jesus Christ, we are his temple, his church, his body. So, the church is not a building called “church.” And it is not of a particular church denomination. It is also not a business, and it is not a corporation under the state, and it is not to be marketed to the world just like any other business, looking to meet the felt needs of the people. That is what people have made it into, but what they call “church” is not the true church, the body of Christ. What they call “church,” in this case, are businesses of men.

So, it is Christ’s true followers who are the church, the body of Christ. It is all those who are walking in obedience to the Lord and who are not living in deliberate and habitual sin against God, and against other humans. We are the church. So there is only one church, but in many locations. And our purpose is two-fold. One: We are to use the gifts we have been given of the Spirit of God, in the assigned areas of ministry to which God has called us, to minister to one another. We are to exhort, encourage, and urge one another in our walks of faith toward holy living and away from living in sin.

And Two: We are to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the people of the world and with professing Christians, too, who do not know or who are not practicing the truth of the gospel. We are to tell them that Jesus died for their sins on that cross in order to deliver them out of their slavery to sin so that they can now live godly and holy lives pleasing to God. And we are to expose the fruitless deeds of darkness and expose the lies and the liars who are leading people astray so that others, hopefully, will not fall into their traps, but hopefully they will reject the lies and follow after the truth.

Go Out From their Midst

Again, we as followers of Jesus Christ are not to be in close union and fellowship and cooperation with those who are living opposite of God’s design and purpose for our lives. And we should not be in partnership with “churches” which are diluting and altering the gospel message to make it more attractive and appealing to the world, and who are not teaching the necessity of repentance and obedience to our Lord. We should not be united with those who are more concerned about attracting the world to their gatherings than they are about walks of obedience to the Lord Jesus.

So, we are being instructed here to come out of their midst and to be separate (unlike, different) from them because we are being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ. We are not to get entangled with the ungodly and with their ungodly means and methods and messages. We are not to adopt the ways of the world in order to attract the world to our gatherings. For our gatherings are to be for our spiritual growth and development and for mutual encouragement in our walks of faith and obedience to Christ.

And when we do come out from among the ungodly, and we no longer join with them in their ungodly ways, then our Lord will receive us, and God will be a Father to us, and we will be his sons and daughters. For we can’t live in both worlds at the same time. We can’t cling to the world and to God, too. We can’t dabble in the things of the flesh and walk in obedience to our Lord, too. So follow Jesus in obedience and don’t be partners with the ungodly.

For Our Nation

An Original Work / September 11, 2012

Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.

Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.

Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.

Men deceiving: We’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.

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