walk in the word
14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16What 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.” —2 Corinthians 6:14-16
Fellowship as the Bible defines it is for believers only. 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 makes that point. Authentic fellowship is for Christians. Fellowship is not a summary of coffee-n-conversation. Fellowship is not casual friendship. Friendship is important, but fellowship is deeper companionship.
2 Corinthians 6:14 declares, “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.” Yoking means you get two oxen about the same size with the same strength and connect them with a wooden pulling device. Then you can plow a straight furrow. But what if you get unequally yoked—like you have an ox on one side and beaver on the other side? That’s not good! The plow will go where the ox goes and the beaver will go along for the ride. The purpose of the yoke will be lost.
The passage continues, “For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness?” Don’t yoke a believer who is righteous through faith in Christ and an unbeliever who is still under the law. Don’t have a person who is in the light on one side in the yoke and one person who’s in the darkness on the other side.
People violate this command when they marry non-Christians and think it won’t matter. Others unwisely go into business with someone who doesn’t love the Lord and obey God’s Word. But I think a key application of yoking involves friendship. Hear me. Your closest friendships should not be with unbelievers. True, we should reach out to people and show them the love of Christ. But we should not be getting our primary friendship needs met by people who do not know and love the Lord. Our closest, life-giving relationships should be with people who know and love Jesus Christ.
Some people resist when we say that fellowship is for believers only. They don’t like the idea of exclusivity or leaving anyone out. Okay, but here’s the problem: in order to make our relationships as deep as they can be, we cannot accommodate someone who doesn’t know and love the Lord. Trying to make our relationships into something that would work for a non-believer involves reducing them to almost nothing! Fellowship is too important for that. Let’s just embrace the reality that real, meaningful fellowship is for believers only.
Prayer: Father, when You say “Don’t,” You always mean, “Don’t hurt yourself.” I know that Your negative commands for my good and for the good of those to whom I must reflect Your glory and share Your Gospel. Guide me into genuine fellowship with other believers and genuine effective relationships with unbelievers that lead to fellowship when they come to know You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
brought to you by change partners