2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, July 8, 2024 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”
And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
- 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1

One of the most common tools Paul uses in his writing is contrast. He often compares two opposites to show his readers the stark differences between the ways of God and the ways of this world. Paul employs multiple contrasts in this passage, showing the Corinthians and us how to live out our faith and the things that can easily distract us from that.

Paul begins here in verse 14 with a powerful metaphor, urging believers not to be "yoked together with unbelievers." The imagery of a yoke, which is a wooden beam used to join two animals for plowing, implies a partnership or close relationship. Paul warns against forming such bonds with those who do not share the Christian faith, as it can lead to conflicts and compromises in values and beliefs.

The rhetorical questions that follow emphasize the stark contrast between the values of believers and unbelievers. Righteousness and wickedness, light and darkness, represent opposing forces. Paul’s use of these opposites underscores the inherent incompatibility between the ways of God and the ways of the world. The underlying message is clear: believers are called to live in a way that reflects their faith and should be cautious about relationships that might hinder their spiritual growth.

Paul continues his list of contrasts in verse 15 by presenting another pair of contrasts: Christ and Belial. "Belial" is a term that signifies worthlessness and is often associated with Satan or evil. The implication is that just as there is no harmony between Christ and Satan, there can be no true spiritual harmony between believers and unbelievers. The repetition of these contrasts serves to reinforce Paul’s point. The relationships and partnerships that believers form should reflect their commitment to Christ. By aligning closely with those who do not share their faith, believers risk compromising their own values and being led astray. This is not at all saying that believers should not associate with unbelievers, but that we should be careful how closely we align with them.

In verse 16, Paul invokes the imagery of the temple to highlight the sacredness of believers' relationship with God. The temple of God represents a place of worship, holiness, and God’s presence. Idols, on the other hand, represent false gods and impurity. This contrast emphasizes the incompatibility of worshiping God while engaging in practices or relationships that do not honor Him.

Paul reminds the Corinthians that they themselves are the temple of the living God. This statement draws from the Old Testament – Leviticus 26:12, Jeremiah 32:38, and Ezekiel 37:27, The implication is that believers are not just individuals; we collectively form the dwelling place of God. This divine presence requires a commitment to holiness and separation from anything that would defile it.

Loosely quoting from Isaiah 52:11, Paul calls for separation from impurity in verse 17. While the direct prophecy in Isaiah was for Israel to leave Babylon and its corrupt influences, now it represents distancing ourselves from practices, relationships, and environments that lead to spiritual compromise. The phrase "touch no unclean thing" emphasizes the need for purity. It is a call to avoid not just overt sin but also any association with practices that can lead to impurity. The promise that follows—"I will receive you"—offers assurance of God’s acceptance and presence when believers commit to living according to His standards.

In verse 18, Paul wraps up his section of contrasts with a comforting promise, quoting from 2 Samuel 7:14 and Isaiah 43:6. God’s assurance of a familial relationship—He is the Father, and believers will be His sons and daughters—highlights the depth of His love and commitment. This relationship is not based on mere observance of rules but on a deep, personal connection with God as a loving Father. The title "Lord Almighty" underscores God’s power and authority. It serves as a reminder that the call to holiness and separation is not a burdensome command but an invitation to a relationship with the all-powerful and loving God who desires the best for His children.

The first verse of chapter 7 could either be a conclusion to the end of chapter 6 or the beginning of a new thought. It provides a call to action based on the previous points he has made. Because believers have the promises of God’s presence, acceptance, and fatherly love, they are motivated to pursue purity. The encouragement to "purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit" encompasses both physical and spiritual aspects of life. It is a comprehensive call to holiness, urging believers to examine their lives and remove anything that hinders their relationship with God.

This passage offers a powerful message about the importance of spiritual purity and separation from influences that can lead believers astray. Paul’s exhortations, grounded in the promises of God’s presence and love, call believers to a life of holiness. This passage challenges us to evaluate our relationships, commitments, and practices, ensuring they reflect our faith and draw us closer to God. As we strive to live out these principles, we can find assurance in the promise that God is with us, guiding and strengthening us in our journey toward holiness.

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