2 Corinthians 6
The Importance of Serving Commendably in Every Circumstance (6:1-10)
Openness of Heart vs. Narrowness of Affections (6:11-13)
The Danger of Unequal Yokes and Association with Evil (6:14 – 7:1)
Separation is always looked at as from something and to something. We are to be separate unto the Lord first (Num. 6:2), and then from the world and defilement (Num. 6:3). The order is important. We can fall into a legal frame of mind if we forget that separation is first positive, then negative. In fact, the negative aspect will follow almost automatically when the heart is right. However, God still does speak extensively about the negative side of separation because our consciences need to be exercised.
- Offends the heart of God and Christ (Gal. 6:14; James 4:4; 2 Cor. 6:15; Hos. 3:1).
- Destroys communion with the Father and Christ (1 John 2:15; 2 Cor. 6:15, 18; Hos. 2:13).
- Weakens our appetite for spiritual food (Num. 11:5; Hos. 2:5).
- Loss of moral discernment (Judges 16; Hos. 7:8-11).
- Leads us into sin (1 Cor. 15:33).
- Brings emptiness into our soul (Jer. 2:13; Psa. 106:15)
- Dampens the affections for fellow-believers (2 Cor. 6:14; Amos 3:3; Hos. 4:11).
- Spoils our effectiveness in service (2 Cor. 6:14; Hag. 1:6; Gen. 19:14).
- Brings down the government of God on us (Gal. 6:8; Hos. 2:9; 4:17).
- Different governing principles. “What participation is there between righteousness and lawlessness?”
- Different powers. “What fellowship of light with darkness?”
- Different masters. “What consent of Christ with Beliar [Satan]?”
- Different followers. “What part for a believer along with an unbeliever?”
- Different worships. “What agreement of God’s temple with idols?”
- Our fellowship is with the Temple of God (the Church) and with God Himself (v.16b). The saints of God collectively are the temple of God. The temple of God is an aspect of the house of God, but connected with Christian praise and worship. God Himself dwells among His people. Our behavior and associations must be in keeping with God’s character. This shows that separation from evil is necessary in a collective sense as well as an individual sense (v.18; 7:1).
- God insists on separation from evil (v.17). There is a positive call to “come out” from the wicked associations. Judgment is falling on the wicked, and the believer is called out from them. This very same scripture is applied to the false church in Rev 18:4… how sad! We are to stay far away from the “unclean thing”; i.e. do not even touch it. Association with evil defiles (Hag. 2:11-14; 2 Tim. 2:21; 1 Cor. 15:33; 1 Cor. 5:6; Gal. 5:9). Even “the things of the world” should be shunned by the believer (1 John 2:15).
- God delights to have us in relationship to Himself (v.18). How can we enjoy our proper relationship with the Father as His sons and daughters (children) if we do not walk in keeping with His nature (1 John 1:5-6)? Ultimately, God is looking for communion with His creature. Adam and Eve “heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day” (Gen. 3:8), but their sins had separated them from God (Isa. 59:2). What better motive could there be to avoid unequal yokes and association with evil than the blessedness of walking in communion with the Father? Separation does not make us sons and daughters, but it is necessary to practically enjoy that place. The title “Lord Almighty” is significant. Almighty God (‘El Shaddai’) is the dispensational name under which God revealed Himself to Abraham (Gen. 17:1). The principle of that name extends to all who are called by God as Abraham was. The Almighty God is our strength. “Lord” or Jehovah is the dispensational name under which God revealed Himself to the children of Israel (Ex. 3:14; 6:3). Jehovah is God’s name in covenant relationship. But notice that the particular relationship for the Christian is; “I will be to you a Father”. “Father” is the name under which God revealed Himself to the Church. It transcends dispensations; it is His Godhead name. But believers will never enjoy their true privilege of sonship if they continue in fellowship with the world.
- “Then we pass on from inflicted to voluntary trials, “in labours, in watchings, in fastings,” which are not the least witness to sustained devotedness. The language so clearly intimates one’s own agency here that it might have seemed needless to say a word more.” – Kelly, William. Notes on the Second Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians. Bible Truth Publishers, 1975.
- William Kelly suggested that the unequal yoke was especially in ecclesiastical or spiritual matters; “Bad as it is for a believer to marry an unbeliever, God does not even then say, Come out from the relationship; leave your wife; part from your husband. Apply it to its legitimate object (that is, fellowship with unbelievers in the things of God), and then you have a maxim of deep and urgent importance. I am not to unite with the world in any one thing that concerns the service and worship of God. This is the true meaning of being unequally yoked. “Come out and be separate” is then the special word that applies to any such unholy alliance.” – Kelly, William. Exposition of Philippians.