2 Corinthians 6:14-18

“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? 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.” “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

Learn To Use Your Sword

As this apostasy continues to darken the religious world the word separate will become the watchword of the Church, and a proper understanding of this critical passage of God’s Word will be imperative as the spiritual deceptions increase. What needs to be understood here is that the first two verses of our text–which would be verses 14 and 15–clearly teach the concept that believers should not be joined together in ventures with unbelievers, and that the lives which each of them would be leading truly should have nothing in common. However, what you are going to run into as more and more churches are abandoned by God the Holy Spirit are professed Christians who will be ignoring the warning here and becoming involved with non-Christians in a vain attempt to try to solve the increasing ills of a creation–that God cursed long ago–by their own human will and intuition.

Beloved we who truly are the sheep of the Great Shepherd will need to be able to clear up the ever-growing confusions about the Bible in the bewildered contemporary Christian Church here in this terribly timid and tepid generation. The first of which would be an error in hermeneutics that is actually quite common today. A somewhat wooden application of a Bible passage or verse, which then leads to a kind of “letterism,” that has come about largely through a reaction to the gross excesses of a supposed freedom in the Spirit to spiritualize verses of Scripture, which we have seen in so much of the Pentecostal and Charismatic camps over the years. However, on the other hand, just because there are those who will misuse the concept of freedom, should we then make all men captive to the state? Of course not, we will try and educate them not to abuse their freedoms.

We can rather easily correct this misunderstanding by a proper view of Hebrews 4:12 – For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. The King James Version says – For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword. At the risk of being branded a “mystic,” the truth is–in spite of Satan’s misrepresentation of New Testament Christianity through heretical groups like the Emergent Church and the Word Faith Movement–the Bible not only has an historical application, but for those who have ears to hear, many times there is also a spiritual meaning for us today in this Age of God’s Grace as well. And we might well refer to this as the “other side” of the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17).

However, what must always be preached carefully–and with unmistakable clarity is this: Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation (2 Peter 1:21). We must always zealously be on our guard against “spiritualizing” meanings into the Holy Scriptures that we’d prefer them to have. And this is why 1 Thessalonians 5:21 tells the Christian – Test everything. Hold on to what is good. Space doesn’t allow a full discussion of this controversial topic here, but suffice to say that when we interpret the Bible we must always first take into account what the words mean in their historical context. This is what we call the primary meaning of a verse or passage of Scripture. Then as God the Holy Sprit may open the understanding of the true believer in Christ–and without fail only within the context of what the classic historic orthodox Christian faith – that was once for all entrusted to the saints (they already had it; see–Jude 3) has always taught, we might then be led to see the other “side” of the two-edged sword of our Master.

Again, just because there are so many who have turned this freedom backward, this is not a reason for us to “throw the baby out with the dirty bathwater,” so to speak. However, let me make this as clear as I possibly can, words in the Scriptures must mean exactly what textbooks and dictionaries define them to mean, or we have simply lost all ability to communicate. Those of you who have spent much time talking with people in the Emergent Church or in witnessing to Mormons in particular know precisely what I mean! But you must remember that God decided to make mankind as propositional beings with the ability to relate to Him personally when we are born again.

Now we are aware that we can use words to convey ideas to each other, and since God chose to communicate with us, then He would have had to use words that do have actual meaning, which we could then understand. Does that make sense? And because our Lord–is Spirit (see–John 4:24) and dwells within the true regenerated Christian, then as Jesus of Nazareth tells us – His worshipers must worship in spirit – [experientially with the living Word of God] – and in truth – [through the written Word of God]. As much as some on the more extreme side of Fundamentalism would like this verse to go away, it remains that the indwelt child of God must also cultivate our relationship with Him spiritually, as well as through the diligent study of what our Lord has revealed to us about Himself in the Bible.

The Demonic Doctrine Of Pride In Self

And then finally on this subject, we do know this for absolute certain: God will never reveal some “new truth” that contradicts what the Bible actually says, and hence the reason that I will tirelessly preach what follows: Read the Bible for yourselves! And then find a good teacher–one has been called by Christ–to instruct you in your local church–sheep need a shepherd. Satanic deceptions (aka “doctrines of demons”) like the Purpose Driven Life, the Emergent Church, and the Word Faith Movement can only thrive when God’s people are ignorant of the true gifts our glorious Lord has permanently given to the Body of Christ until He returns.

Keeping all that I have just said in mind, now you can correctly understand the amazing truth that the Apostle John reveals in 1 John 2:20 – But you – [dear Christian] – have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. This anointing for the truly regenerated is God the Holy Spirit. Do you remember now what Christ Jesus tells us through this same Apostle John – you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you (John 14:17), and further John reminds us that Jesus of Nazareth told him – He will guide you into all truth (John 16:13). This is one of the reasons the Church teaches that the true Christian has a personal relationship with God–a Being of Spirit Who dwells within the regenerated believer.

Which now brings us around to the other problem we consistently run into today, and that’s the inherent pride firmly rooted in mankind anyway–and that has been so elevated to a pedestal by this arrogant American culture–leading to an such unteachable attitude. This is one of the huge problems being overlooked in all the discussion swirling about the whole seeker sensitive and purpose driven doctrines (read: traditions) of the modern Church Growth Movement. PDL plays exactly to this selfish pride in man, and these insightful words from A.W. Tozer sum up the heart of this matter:

True Christianity deals with the human problem of the self-life, with the basis matter of “me, myself, and I.” The Spirit of God deals with it by an intolerant and final destruction, saying, “This selfish I cannot live if God is to be glorified in this human life.” God Himself deals with this aspect of human nature–the sum of all our proud life–and pronounces a stern condemnation upon it, fully and completely rejecting it.

And what does God say about it? “I am God alone, and I will have nothing to do with man’s selfish ego, in which I find the essence of rebellion and disobedience and unbelief. Man’s nature in its pride of self and egotism is anti-God–and sinful, indeed!” (excerpt from Who Put Jesus on the Cross?)

What Does A Believer Have In Common With An Unbeliever?

Let’s begin now to look specifically at 2 Corinthians 6 and make sure that we have rightly divided the first “side” of God’s double-edged sword, the historic context of this important passage of the Bible. This following commentary on verses 14 and 15 from Dr. Murray Harris is a good place to start:

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers” (v. 14a). Clearly this is not an injunction against all association with unbelievers (cf. 1Cor 5:9, 10, 10:27). Paul actually encouraged the Christian partner in a mixed marriage to maintain the relationship as long as possible (1Cor 7:12-16). Rather, this is a prohibition against forming close attachments with non-Christians. Paul’s agricultural metaphor (“You must not get into double harness with unbelievers”—C.K. Barrett) is based on the command of Deuteronomy 22:10 that prohibited the yoking of an ox and an ass for ploughing, and also on Leviticus 19:19 where the crossbreeding of animals of different species is prohibited. Although precisely what might have constituted a “diverse yoke” or “double harness” for the Corinthians remains unstated, it clearly involved compromise with heathendom,… (The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, CD Rom, emphasis added).

This passage will have an obvious spiritual application, which becomes even more evident now through this scholarly commentary by Harris. Consistent with what we saw Christ tell us in Matthew 6:22 – “The eye is the lamp of the body,” the more spiritually mature will understand that anything you allow into your life “on a regular basis,” which grieves the Holy Spirit, will have adverse effects on you–for example something as repugnant as punk music that many of the young “pastors” of ECM churches are so fond of. And if His warnings are ignored, you will also open yourself up to further spiritual blindness and even demonic possession.

And the fact that Paul is using “marriage” as a spiritual example here is even obvious to the dispensational camp, who are certainly not known for any kind of radical excesses spiritually. By the way, this comment is meant with respect for my more dispensational brothers, with whom I have much affinity. Here is what Dr. David Lowery says in The Bible Knowledge Commentary put out by Dallas Theological Seminary, an organization known for its dispensational theology:

What hampered the Corinthians’ open, loving response, which Paul called for? (v.13) Answer: rival suitors vied for their affections and allegiance. Though verses 14-15 are often applied to various sorts of alliances (e.g., mixed marriages, improper business associations), Paul’s primary association was probably ecclesiastical. The rival suitors were possibly pagan idolators (cf. 1 Cor.10:14) or more likely false apostles (cf. 2 Cor. 11:2-4). In censure or affection Paul was equally candid (cf. 6:11).

The solution to the dilemma was for the Corinthians to separate from the false apostles. Whatever may have been their own and others’ estimation of their spiritual status, Paul considered the false apostles to be unbelievers (cf.11:13-15) from whom the Corinthians needed to separate. But Paul did not say that Christian should have no contacts whatever with unbelievers. Earlier he argued the absurdity of such a position (1 Cor. 5:9-10). But religious unbelievers might lead believers astray from “sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3), and the fact concerned Paul greatly (p.570, bold in original).

What needs to be clearly understood here is this: Whatever one believes in–whether a false god such as in Islam or no god at all as in secular humanism–that belief system is your religion. Men and women, it brings me no pleasure to have to tell you that we are at the end; possibly the end of the Age of Grace itself, but we are certainly at the end of our Lord’s patience with His Church–especially so here in amoral America. If you listen closely you will hear the call from the true men of God as Christ gives over the Evangelical section of Christianity here in this postmodern pagan nation to “cave in” to apostasy:

Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near…Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes.
They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD…Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches…and obey Him…to obey is better than sacrifice…