She had guided us weekly in studying God’s Word and in the growth of our Christian faith. But now, our leader conveyed her decision to pursue an intimate relationship with a non-Christian. One girl in our group bravely spoke: “But what about where God tells us not to be unequally yoked?” Although college students, and some of us young in our faith, we were still cognizant of God’s warning. In both my leader’s answer and the ensuing events, I experienced firsthand how a Christian’s willful choice to disregard God’s command could affect a reputation and relationships, but more importantly, a witness for Christ.
- In whom or what have you invested your heart’s deepest affections? How has your relationship with God been affected?
READ THE WORD: 2 CORINTHIANS 6:14-7:1 (ESV)
14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 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.
17 Therefore go out from their midst,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
then I will welcome you,
18 and I will be a father to you,
and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.”
7:1 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 did Paul communicate about the relationship between the Corinthian Christians and nonbelievers in Christ (vss. 6:14-16a)? What five contrasts did he make and for what reason?
- In Paul’s previous letter to the Corinthians, he had taught that Christians were the temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16-17, 6:19). Then here, in verses 6:16-18, he cited several Old Testament promises made to the Israelites to make what point about New Testament believers in Christ?
- What does verse 18 tells us about the Christian’s relationship with God? Why is this important, in terms of our relationship with him and others?
- Since believers in Christ “are the temple of the living God,” how should we live (vs. 7:1)? And with what outcome and motivation?
- What relationships or spiritually detrimental (idolatrous) behaviors are you pursuing which hinder your faithfulness to Christ?
RESPOND TO GOD
Before we can respond to God’s truth in these verses, we must first understand that Paul’s words are not a call to sequester ourselves away from the world in disassociation with unbelievers. Remember, Paul was an evangelist with a heart to seek and save the lost. We need to embrace his words for what they truly are: a reminder to pursue holiness and be set apart, and a warning about how and with whom we choose to align our hearts.
- Throughout your day, ask your Father God to remind you that you are his temple, set apart and belonging to him.
- Confess any areas where you are intimately linking your heart to that which is aligned against him.