2 Corinthians 6:14-18

In 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 Paul explains some of the underlying issues that were impacting the Corinthian church. They had allowed unbelievers to influence the church and pull it away from God. Paul tells us not to be bound to an unbeliever. “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” This is often pointed at marriage, where the interpretation is that marrying an unbeliever will cause some challenges in staying faithful in your walk with God. But Paul’s talking about much more that that here.

It really applies to any environment where we let the world influence our thinking. When we are being conformed to this world and are not being transformed by the renewing of your mind we face a likely risk that will pull us away from God. The underlying issue Paul is focused on is the issue of influence. Paul’s not saying we should never associate with unbelievers. We just must be aware that being in the world should not cause us to be of the world. It can happen subtly unless we have our spiritual radar on. “What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?”

Idolatry is one way that this can reveal itself. When we have idolatry in our life, it influences our thoughts and actions and definitely can get between us and God. The Corinthian church was wrestling with it. If we are honest, we likely do too. “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.” Redpath wrote “It is not a question simply of trying to empty your heart and life of every worldly desire – what an awful impossibility! It is rather opening your heart wide to all the love of God in Christ, and letting that love just sweep through you and exercise its expulsive power till your heart is filled with love.”

So what are we to do since we live in the world? We have to make sure we love the right things – beginning with God. We need to focus on loving that which is eternal rather than the things of the world that the enemy puts in front of us at every turn. Paul makes clear that this message comes from ‘the Lord Almighty’, a Greek word only used here and in the book of Revelation. “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.” Hodges explains the real point of this message: “A man cannot accept reconciliation with God and live in sin; because the renunciation of sin is involved in the acceptance of reconciliation. Paul never assumes that men may accept one benefit of redemption, and reject another. They cannot take pardon and refuse sanctification.”

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