“And be not unequally yoked with unbelievers…” II Corinthians 6:14a
Of Israel of old it was said by the Spirit of God through the mouth of Balaam, the prophet: “Lo, the people shall dwell alone!” And in the form of the Hebrew parallelism, this is emphasized and explained by the addition: “and shall not be reckoned among the nations!” Israel is the church of the living God, the people of His choosing. It is a holy nation, an elect generation, a royal priesthood, a peculiar possession of God. It is a people which in Christ is holiness to the LORD!
That cuts the line sharp!
It is the difference between the Seed of the Woman and the Seed of the Serpent!
Do you understand what this means, my youthful reader? No, not simply do you know what this implies theologically. That, too. But I mean do you know the practical, spiritual-psychological implications of this for your and for my life?
Well, this means that God has separated us from the world. We are in the world, yet we are not of the world. In a spiritual sense, we are a different people; we are different from the world. We are children of light, while we once were in darkness. Now we are to walk as children of the light. That is our status. Such is our confession. Such is also our commitment. We have been committed to this position in the kingdom by God Himself, and, at the time of our baptism, our parents answered that “we are sanctified in Christ, and, therefore, ought to be baptized.” Even as the children in the Old Testament were separated from the world through circumcision, so we have been separated from the children of the world through baptism!
Israel shall not be reckoned among the nations!
This is not always understood and practiced. It was not thus perfectly understood either by the church in Corinth. They were surrounded by an idolatrous world of spiritual fornicators. And the tendency of not a few in this church was to have as much as possible a voluntary association with the world of godless unbelievers.
You have made confession of faith before the face of God? Really, you and I have vowed that we would “forsake the world, crucify our old nature, and walk in a new and holy life.” And you have “resolved by the grace of God to adhere to this doctrine (contained in the 12 Articles) to reject all heresies repugnant thereto, and to lead a new godly life!”
But now you begin to tire of this all. You are tempted not to take this all too seriously. You begin to play with sin, and not take your calling serious. You trifle with the grace of election! O, yes, youth must have its fling. And, at what a price this fling is had! Simply discontinuing is not sufficient. We must have true sorrow for sinning against God and His commandments. We say with the prodigal son “Father, I am not worthy to be called thy son…”
Such was the case in Corinth. And now Paul’s word is like a thunderclap from heaven. Stop being unequally yoked with unbelievers! The Greek text is here very strong. The text presupposes that the Corinthians were seeking to walk arm in arm with the world. They liked the plays and dramas of the heathen, which presented the “gods” in acts of war, rapine and adultery. These very temples of the idols were attended by the harlots to the swing of the enchanting music, with all its suggestive rhythm. The young as well as the old loved the “dance”. The theater was their delight. It was Hollywood on the TV screen! It was the “late show” with its filthiness, foolish talking and jesting. It is the suggestive borderline speech, which suggests much without saying it all.
Upon these things cometh the wrath of God!
The seeking to be “involved” with the world must stop.
It is either or! We cannot have God and the evil world. He that will be a friend of God is an enemy of the world. For what “fellowship” hath righteousness with lawlessness? Lawlessness is our shaking the head at the law of God. It is a refusal to obey the law. Such is the case with unbelievers. Unbelievers are ever the disobedient. It is a terrible thing, young people, to have one’s portion assigned with unbelievers. (Luke 12:46) The unbelievers have a terrible yoke. It is the yoke of sin, guilt and the damnation of hell! Presently, they shall all be in outer darkness with the Dragon and the false prophet. Rev. 21:8.
This is a hard yoke. It has nothing to do with the easy yoke and light burden of Christ. It does not give rest for our souls. It can only lead to hell and destruction. It does not belong to those who ask after the tried ways, the old way…. These do not stand in the ways, and see and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, to walk therein and to find rest for their souls. (Jer. 6:16). These say: we will not walk therein!
Be not unequally yoked with such. Do not choose such as your friends. Tell me who your yoke-fellow is and I will tell you who you are. Be he an unbeliever. Well, be prepared to hear it: you are with your neck in the yoke of an unbeliever. You are yoked with one who is not of your kind. It is another kind of yoke; it is heterogeneous! But be sure of one thing: the unbeliever will never have his head with the believer under the light yoke of Christ. If two are unequally yoked, this can only mean the unbeliever is dragging, as a child of hell, those yoked to him—with him down to death’s dark portals of hell and destruction.
Stop! Be not unequally yoked any longer with unbelievers!
The world only loves its own. If we were of the world, the world would love us. Count the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt.
For the temple of God ye are. And the temple of God is holy. Sanctify the Lord in your heart and be ever ready to give an account of the hope that is in you.
Originally Published in:
Vol. 29 No. 8 December 1969