Summary: Living upto the holiness, that God expects from eah of us as we are called to be holy, as He is Holy.
A girl in Sunday School had learnt the Beatitudes in Mathew’s gospel and so was asked as to which of the things mentioned in the Beatitudes she liked the most to have in her. She said, ‘A pure heart’. When asked why she preferred that, she said, ‘If my heart were pure, I believe I would have all the other virtues mentioned in that chapter’. What and wonderful and a confident reply from the Sunday School girl. Is that be our desire too? We need to stop and ask ourselves.
Paul while writing to the Corinthian Church exhorts them in Ch.7:1 saying, ‘….let us purify ourselves….., perfecting holiness…’. Peter while writing his epistles exhorts in I Pet. 1:15,16 saying, ‘ But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written, ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’. So then how is it that can we purify ourselves so as to perfect holiness. That’s what he suggests in the previous verses from Ch. 6:14-18. Here we see Paul giving Five Commands to live a pure life, Five arguments for the commands and Five promises as a result of following his commands.
1. Do not be unequally yoked : Paul begins by urging the Corinthians not to be joined to unbelievers in an alien yoke. Undoubtedly this goes back to the old commandment in Deut. 22:10 ‘You shall not plough with an ox and an ass together.’ (Lev. 19:19) The idea is that there are certain things which are fundamentally incompatible and were never meant to be brought together. It is impossible for the purity of Christian and the pollution of the unbeliever to run in double harness. And so the apostle draws upon this illustration to enforce separation on the Corinthians and so we see his other commands are
2. Come out from them (vs. 17)
3. Be separate (vs. 17)
4. Touch no unclean thing (vs. 17)
5. Purify yourself from everything that contaminates the body and spirit (7:1)
The whole passage is a rousing summons not to hold any fellowship with unbelievers. It is a challenge to the Corinthians to keep themselves unspotted from the world. The very essence of the history of Israel is in the words, ‘Get thee out’. That was the word of God that came to Abraham as it says in Gen. 12:1, ‘Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred and from they father’s house’. That was the warning that came to Lot before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorah (Gen. 19:12-14). There are things in the world with which the Christian cannot and dare not associate himself.
To make these commands more clear the apostle brings about 5 arguments. They are:
1. What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? / what does righteous and wicked have in common? – They are diametrically opposed principles. Fellowship means holding something together in common with another, but these two have nothing in common. One is the underlying principle in the government of the kingdom of God, while the other is the basic principle in the kingdom of darkness.
2. What communion hath light with darkness? / What fellowship can light have with darkness? – These are diametrically opposed elements. Communion means common interests resulting from communion of life. The two elements cannot be mixed. They are antagonistic/opposed the one to the other. Darkness hides. Light reveals.
3. What concord / harmony is there between Christ and Belial? – They are diametrically opposed persons. Concord means there is agreement in sound and voice with one another, true harmony. The word Belial is used here only in the New Testament, and refers to Satan.
4. What part hath he that believeth with an infidel?/ What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? – These are diametrically opposed faiths. The unbeliever is the person who acknowledges the existence of God, but denies a personal God and the possibility of any contact with the Living God on the basis of faith.
5. What agreement hath the temple of God with idols? – They are diametrically opposed systems. To be in agreement means to hold a common opinion. Idolatry is a system of worship invented by man and must eventually bring upon it the judgment of God. A living man and a lifeless idol can have nothing in common.
The church at Corinth was the temple of the living God. As such it was God’s dwelling place, therefore the presence of God enjoins/commands/demands separation. (Exo. 25:8; 29:45-46; 33:3,15,16.). It is difficult to realize just how many separations Christianity meant for the people who first accepted it.
Often it meant that a man had to give up his trade. Suppose he was a stone mason. What was to happen if his firm received a contract to build a heathen shrine? Or Suppose he was a tailor, what was to happen if he was instructed to cut and sew garments for priests of the heathen gods? Time and time again in the early Church the choice came to a man between the security of his job and his loyalty to Jesus Christ. In the early Church a man’s Christianity often meant that he had to get out from his job. But in today’s world we as Christians have started making compromises in such situation and the general statement we make is ‘But after all I must live and my family must live’. Let’s look back at our lives and see if we are able to take a stand for Christ at the expense of the security of our job. Remember, no man in keeper of another man’s conscience. Every man must decide for himself if he can take his trade to Christ and Christ with him to his daily work.