This week one of the Parsha sections in the B’rit Chadasha is 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1 and I will teach from that portion tonight. Let me read:
2 Cor 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
2 Cor 6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
2 Cor 6:16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
2 Cor 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
2 Cor 6:18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
2 Cor 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (KJV)
Sha’ul in his letter to the Corinthians as elsewhere in Scripture exhorts believers to live separate, Torah driven lives, which is opposite of what most Christians believe Sha’ul taught. Sha’ul either believed in keeping YHVH’s Torah or he did not. We know that he did for he himself defended himself before the Jerusalem council against charges that he taught against G-d’s Torah, and he denied these allegations against him by taking a Nazareth vow to emphasize the point. It can’t be both ways or he himself would become what James said in chapter 1 verse 8 of his book: “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” Peter also warned us in 2 Pet 3:16 when characterizing Sha’ul: “As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” We must rightly divide scripture.
Now let us explore Sha’ul’s letter. In verse 14 where we read: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”
Sha’ul is here pressing us to make a clean break from the sins of the flesh. Believer’s are to be separated from the worldliness that is in the world. Today. we use the term “separated believers.” To be separated means more than gratuitously applying that term to ourselves. Most professed believers understand that term as meaning they identify themselves as Christians or belong to some Christian denomination, like belonging to the Rotarians or Elks. They have no concept that it means not only to talk the talk, but also to walk the walk.
In Torah, YHVH illustrates this principle in the Mosaic Law. Israel who was largely engaged in agriculture was instructed not to yoke together an ox and an ass. That would be yoking together unequal animals. This passages is a good example where we must look for the concept and not just the literal rendering of Scripture. The spiritual concept like the injunction of not mixing different cloth material informs us as believers that the believer should not be yoked together with an unbeliever. This concept also begs the question of how are people yoked together? Well, they are yoked together in any form of real union such as a business enterprise, a partnership, a marriage, any other a long-term enterprise or a religion.
Certainly a G-dly marriage is the yoking together of two people who become echad, ONE in focus, purpose, and direction. An unbeliever and a believer should not marry. A clean animal and an unclean animal should not be yoked together to plow. A child of YHVH Elohim and a child of haSatan cannot be yoked together and pull together in their life goals.
Another example of a relationship that most people do not consider is their relationship to a religious institution. Most are acculturated into accepting whatever their parents believed or practiced. If a person becomes a true believer as Yahshua defined it in the Book of Revelation, and is a member of an institution that denies that definition by its teaching and charter, that person should get out of that assembly because his attendance there is identified with their work and their organization. This person is associated with it in a very tangible, and real way. He is unequally yoked and identified with unbelievers contrary to YHVH’s instructions.
We are to walk in the light not darkness.
In verse 15 Sha’ul like the good rabbi he is employs Hebrew parallelism to his thought. He asked us what has Yahshua to do with Belial or HaSatan? He is building on the thought of our being separated from practices, things and institutions that he had first introduced in verse 14 as belonging to haSatan. And adds the statement, what can we have in common with an unbeliever or these institutions that are run by unbelievers.
In Verse 16 he develops the idea by using the Temple of G-d as an illustration. What can the Temple of the Living G-d have in common with idols? That is antithesis. An oxymoron. If we now being the Temple of G-d, how can we participate in those things that are antithesis to G-d? It is an abomination. Furthermore, he states by parallel thought that if G-d would not dwell in a temple that harbors idols he cannot dwell among us who forsake His instructions and live as unbelievers.
In verse 17 we are warned to come out from institutions that have forsaken G-d, not to be associated with them, to be separated from them unto YHVH Elohim. Because an institution identifies itself with G-d we must be careful that the god they identify with is the G-d of the Bible and not one of their own making. John tells us in the Book of Revelation at: Rev. 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. We are not to touch unclean things. Unclean being anything G-d has forbidden in His Torah and it extends beyond what most people think, food. It speaks of any activity or indulgence that is against G-d’s instructions given to us in His Torah, and the reverse of that concept is that we are to practice those positive commandments with the same zeal. If we are not to participate in their institutions by default we are not to associate ourselves with the practitioners of those institutions in any meaningful, permanent, or intimate way. We are not to be among them for we might fall prey to their plagues.
To reiterate, Sha’ul is appealing to the believer for separation and for cleansing. A believer is not to be in agreement with idolatry that comes in many forms other than bowing down to statues. He is to be separate from worldliness and from the spirit of worldliness, which can creep into our assemblies in the form of entertainment and even more blatant behavior. He is saying the believer should not even touch the unclean thing.
In the Book of Joshua we learned how Joshua and the Israelites took the fortified city of Jericho by trust in YHVH’s Word. However, Achan took the “accursed thing.” Israel had touched what YHVH had declared to be unclean. Then they went up to the little city of Ai with great confidence because they were sure of an easy victory, but Joshua and Israel were overcome and defeated at Ai. YHVH Elohim asks for a separation from worldliness and from the unclean thing and when we hold on to the unclean thing we will experience defeat in our lives.
If we are true to G-d He will receive us and the converse of this is that if we do not harken to His instructions He will not.
There are a great many Christians and Messianic believers who consider themselves separated. They wouldn’t think of doing this or of doing that. Yet they gossip and have the meanest tongues, never realizing that that very thing is worldly and unclean. Or they go in for the latest in immodest dress or for gluttony and yet consider themselves to be separate from worldliness. It is not my judgment, and we should refrain from judgment for that is reserved for YHVH Elohim, yet we need to point out these things because we need to be very, very careful. It is very easy to talk about the things of YHVH Elohim, to claim YHVH/Yahshua as our G-d, to say we love Him, to consider ourselves separated unto Him, and still not be separated from the world. We need to study Torah to learn what YHVH expects from us. Don’t be a believer unless you mean it. Don’t say that YHVH/Yahshua satisfies you if He is not really satisfying you, for your actions will speak louder than words and bring ridicule upon YHVH by unbelievers and believers alike. This is what Sha’ul is talking about.
Verse 18 defines our status if we are true. YHVH will be our father encompassing all that means, and we will be sons and daughters to the Creator of the World. YHVH cannot be our Father if we do not honor Him and obey Him. By our anti G-dly actions our father then becomes the father of lies, haSatan.
Chapter 7 is the last chapter in the section. As a background we need to remember that there had been a man in the assembly in Corinth who had been guilty of gross immorality. He had had an incestuous and adulterous relationship with his own father’s wife, his stepmother. The assembly hadn’t dealt with that situation, and Sha’ul had reprimanded them in his first epistle and instructed them to deal with it. Now as Sha’ul is writing his second letter to them, they had dealt with this man with the result that he repented and confessed his sin. The assembly had been accurate in dealing with him. Sha’ul’s letter had had the right kind of effect. Titus came to Sha’ul with the report that this man had been weeping over his sin and that he felt utterly unworthy of further recognition by the assembly. It is to this matter that Sha’ul is referring to in 7:1.
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God [2 Cor. 7:1].
In this verse we are enjoined to cleanse ourselves individually and collectively of all filthiness of flesh and spirit.
Did you know that your spirit could harbor uncleanness? The mistaken belief by many professed believers that love outward manifestations of what they call the spirit of G-d, may in fact be exhibiting phenomena of another spirit, that of HaSatan. We have only one criterion by which to live, and that is Torah. Any other thing is open to misinterpretation and misunderstanding, forever leading us away from G-d and not toward Him as some think. Sha’ul calls upon us to perfect this work within us, so it is not something that is immediately given to a believer, but is something to strive for and to accomplish. The first chapter of Isaiah is devoted to teaching us to “learn to do good.” Our whole lives upon this earth should be in pursuit of G-d and our cleaving close to Him. That too is the sense of the word “saved,” in that it is progressive in the Greek and not past tense once given as some teach. When we come to put our trust in the faithfulness of Yahshua, then our adventure begins with our reconciliation to YHVH receiving a new slate from which to start. Like Sha’ul and Peter both said, we are saved from our past sins, but not our future ones. Being truly born from above means being born mature in that we recognize the righteous way of life in G-d’s Torah, and employ His instructions on how to live and please Him. Now it is up to us and that is why Sha’ul says we are to perfect holiness in the fear of G-d.
Ken ye he ratson, (May it be so)