AVOIDING A MISMATCH
Thank You, God, for my new identity in You.
Read 2 Corinthians 6:14—7:1
Warning Against Idolatry
14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial[a]? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will live with them
and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they will be my people.”[b]
“Come out from them
and be separate,
says the Lord.
Touch no unclean thing,
and I will receive you.”[c]
“I will be a Father to you,
and you will be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”[d]
7 Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
a 2 Corinthians 6:15 Greek Beliar, a variant of Belial
b 2 Corinthians 6:16 Lev. 26:12; Jer. 32:38; Ezek. 37:27
c 2 Corinthians 6:17 Isaiah 52:11; Ezek. 20:34,41
d 2 Corinthians 6:18 2 Samuel 7:14; 7:8
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectOur deepest identity is defined by our relationship with Christ (John 1:12).
These verses seem out of place. In fact, 6:13 seems to lead logically to 7:2. However, it is not uncommon for Paul to go off on a tangent and then return abruptly to his train of thought. He is touching on an issue that dogs the Corinthian church: what it means to live distinctively as Christians. He has spoken to them about this already in 1 Corinthians (5:9,10; 6:1–6; 7:12–16,39; 8:10–13; 10:21–33).
Over the centuries some groups of Christians have taken these verses to mean that they should live exclusive lives, removed from society. This is clearly not Paul’s intention. He expects unbelievers to be present when the church gathers in worship (1 Cor. 14:23,24). However, the church in Corinth has not grasped the radical nature of conversion. This has led to confused relationships with pagan society and has clouded their relationship with the apostle Paul. Their new identity as God’s children must be worked out in purity of life (6:18—7:1).
Christian distinctiveness is actually very attractive. The Taizé Community in the South of France live a distinctive life of prayer, and thousands of people from across the world make their way there, attracted by their holiness and hospitality. Distinctiveness and openness to others are not incompatible.
Which one is your struggle: to be sucked in by the world or to shut the world out completely? How can you live the Christ-life in a way that can impact those who don’t know Christ?
Jesus, show me how to let my light shine to all around me (Matt. 5:16).
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