Wednesday, August 16, 2017, 5:30 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “My Jesus, I Love Thee.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 (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.
What does it mean to be “unequally yoked together” with someone? It means we are yoked (intimate, united, mixed, partnered) together with someone who is very different from us in beliefs, values, morals and practices, which are contrary to our faith in Jesus Christ and to His Word. This could be a marital partner, a business partner, a family member, or a close friend or companion. And, this can include those who profess faith in Jesus Christ, but who are living just like the world, too (Eph. 5:1-14; 1 Co. 5:9-13). We are not to be mixed together with them in intimate, close or binding relationships. Nonetheless, if any of us are already married to an unbeliever, we are not to divorce that person (1 Co. 7:12-13; 1 Pet. 3:1-2), but a believer in Jesus Christ should not knowingly marry an unbeliever.
We are to show God’s love to all people by being kind, generous, and helpful, ministering God’s grace to them in various forms, and sharing with them the love and grace of Jesus Christ. But, we are not to mix with them in the sense of joining with them in any activities which would be sinful, or to have such close associations with them to where we are greatly influenced by them, and where we end up joining in with their sinful practices. For bad company corrupts good character, so we should not be partners (supporters, accomplices, companions) with them. We should also not show agreement with them in their sinful behaviors by laughing with them, applauding them, being entertained by them or by our silence. And, this includes, I believe, the viewing of TV, movies, videos or still pictures, etc., which glorify sin and/or which are intended to entertain us with others’ sinful practices.
There is not (or should not be) any true fellowship between believers and unbelievers or between the godly and the ungodly (which includes all who practice sin). We may call it “fellowship” when we get together with others for social activities, including within organized religion, but the kind of fellowship God is referring to is the kind where Christians come together in love, faith, and mutual encouragement in the Spirit of God and in the Word of Truth. It has to do with being like-minded, having the same love, and being one (united) in spirit and purpose. This fellowship is based on our common fellowship (communion) with Jesus Christ (See: Phil. 2:1-2; 1 Jn. 1:6-7). And, it should be for the purpose to build one another up in the faith, not to lead one another into sinful, worldly and immoral practices.
When we trust in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, he becomes our owner-master and we become his bondservants, for we were bought back for God with the blood of Jesus Christ, so we are no longer our own, but we are the Lord’s. We are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ in newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Ro. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24).
Our desire should now be for him, to please him in everything we do and say and are. For, God now becomes our Father, and we become his children. Jesus becomes our husband, and we become his bride. We are now in intimate union with our Lord, Savior and God, who is also our best friend. We can go to him at any time and talk with him about whatever is going on in our lives, cast our burdens at his feet, and share with him our requests.
When we believe in Jesus, too, the Holy Spirit of God comes to live within us. He teaches us all things related to God and righteousness, and he reminds us of the teachings of Christ, and counsels, leads, convicts, nurtures, encourages, rebukes, corrects and instructs us in the way in which we should go, which is the way of holiness. He is the one who quickens our minds and hearts to hear God speak to us through his Word. He also empowers and strengthens us to live godly and holy lives, pleasing to God.
God has called us to holiness. Jesus didn’t die on that cross for our sins just so we can escape hell and go to heaven when we die. He died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. Jesus Christ “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” His grace to us is not a free license to continue in sin without guilt or remorse, as many are teaching (or implying) these days. His grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions (lusts), and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return (See: 1 Pet. 2:24; 1 Co. 5:15, 21; Tit. 2:11-14).
And, holiness is being separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being made into the image (likeness) of God/Christ. If we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (conduct our lives) in darkness (sin), we are liars who do not live by the truth. If we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self), we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives (die with Christ to sin), we will gain eternal life. So, we are to present our lives to God as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him, which is our reasonable and acceptable worship of him. We are to no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but we are to be transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God away from living in sin, to walking in his righteousness and holiness (See: 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Lu. 9:23-25; Ro. 8:1-14; Ro. 12:1-2).
So, other than marriage, if we are in a partnership, union, fellowship, or close friendship with an unbeliever or with a professing Christian who is living like an unbeliever, we are to come out of those binding relationships. This is not to say we are to isolate ourselves from the people of this world, otherwise how could we show them God’s love or witness to them about Jesus Christ? This is saying, I believe, that we are not to unite with them in agreement in any way with their sinful practices, or participate with them in such a way to where we are being influenced by them towards sin and away from God. We are not to become one with the world, in other words, but we are to become one with God/Christ in mind, heart, spirit and in actions, attitudes, thinking and behaving. And, God will welcome us as his very own.
My Jesus, I Love Thee
William R. Featherstone / Adoniram J. Gordon
My Jesus, I love thee, I know thou art mine;
For thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art thou;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
I love thee because thou hast first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree;
I love thee for wearing the thorns on thy brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.
I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say, when the death-dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ‘tis now.
In mansions of glory and endless delight;
I’ll ever adore thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.