In Paul's second letter to the Corinthian church, he stresses the importance of being separate from unbelievers. He presents his main point, that we should not be "unequally yoked together with unbelievers", and goes on to use rhetorical questions as examples to illustrate what a ludicrous idea this is. He uses five rhetorical-question illustrations to explain the absurdity that believers can have fellowship with unbelievers.
Before I go any further, I want to clarify that this is not an extremist call or argument that all Christians should band together and live alone on an island in isolation. That is absolutely wrong and not Biblical. If Christians isolate themselves, they are breaking one of the two great commandments, to love your neighbor as yourself. The word "neighbor" used there includes every living human being. If you isolate yourself from the world, you cannot show love and compassion for those in need; you cannot weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice; and, paramount to all, you cannot share Jesus with them. The spreading of the Gospel is the main point for God leaving Christians on earth after their salvation. We must be in the world, but not of it.
Now that that's out of the way, let's look at how Paul uses his illustrations in his argument for separation. Starting with a contrast of righteousness and unrighteousness, Paul goes through five examples, each one contrasting two completely opposite ideas or things.
The first two are basic illustrations, but after that Paul ups the ante. He contrasts Jesus Christ with Belial, the devil. This isn't such a simple contrast; this isn't even between two opposites. Jesus has no opposite, not even the devil. He is in a state of His own. Satan doesn't even come close to comparing, so much so that he is not even considered worthy to be God's opposite. Now the game has become serious. With this example, the reader understands how insane an idea it is for a believer to be yoked together with an unbeliever in anything. Could you seriously imagine God and Satan as coworkers and companions in something? For believers, this includes marriage, business, friendships, recreation--anything. This doesn't mean you can't be around unbelievers. As stated above, that is not Biblical and, let's face it, pretty much impossible. It simply means do not take part in their sin. If coworkers, schoolmates, friends, family members, or whoever want you to go drinking, gamble, steal something, or practice any other sinful art, tell them no. Then tell them why. Let them know that you have been saved by a righteous God and freed from sin. Tell them the consequences of their sin and how they can be saved from it. Reprove their dark works, but always do it with love.
Then Paul brings his examples back to his original point, asking "what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?" In case the reader has forgotten, Paul directly relates his illustrations back to his main point. This reminds the believer that he or she is not to be mixed in with unbelievers. Then he gives an example of why, stating that we are God's temple.
As God's temple, we are God's property. Remember, you were bought with a price--a huge price. God owns us and wants us to be holy as He is holy. We are the Holy Spirit's home, and we should strive to keep His house as clean and pure as possible. We cannot do this when we are unequally yoked with unbelievers. Furthermore, we should not be doing this out of fear, but out of love and gratitude toward God. After God has forgiven and forgotten all of our sins and saved us from an eternity in Hell, why would we not want to keep ourselves clean and righteous for Him? This shows we appreciate what He has done for us. Also, it is an honor and privilege to have the Lord of the universe choose to make your body His temple. What a blessing! Strive to keep yourself free from sin. Will you be perfect? No. But God understands this, and daily helps you in the housecleaning Himself.
Here are other very important reasons to keep yourself clean from sin and separate yourself from unbelievers:
- As your companions are, so you will be
- Maintains your testimony
- Allows you to witness to the lost
- Pleases God and does not invoke His chastening
- Allows God to fully use you and work in your life
- Gives true joy and fellowship with God and other believers
- Actions speak louder than words
- Shows there is something different about you
- Will draw the lost to Christ
We cannot take part in the sins of the world. We must separate ourselves. America, the world, the lost need believers who will not compromise and condone their sin. We need revival, and this can only happen when we turn from our sin and seek God. If we're honest, we all have something in our lives that shouldn't be there. We all in some way are unequally yoking ourselves together with unbelievers, taking part in their dark works. I urge you to objectively and deeply search your life and heart. Pray for guidance, wisdom, and humility. Ask God to reveal to you your sin and give you the power to be free from it.
Lastly, if you have never been saved, this post has no application for you. You have never been cleansed from unrighteousness and saved by God. Spiritually, you are still lost, dead, and headed to Hell for eternity. But there is hope; there is freedom; there is life. All you have to do is accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and ask Him to forgive you of your sin. If you don't, your spiritual and moral condition will only grow worse. Click the Salvation tab above for more information.