~ The Christian and the Unbeliever ~
“Come out from among them and be separate.”
(2 Corinthians 6:17)
Basic Scripture ~ “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people’” (2 Corinthians 6:14-16).
comment: A basic Biblical principle is that a Christian should not be yoked together with a non-believer. We will look at four areas of unequal yokes found in Scripture (marriage, business, religion, and social).
Marriage ~ “When the Lord your God brings you into the land which you go to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites and the Girgashites and the Amorites and the Canaanites and the Perizzites and the Hivites and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you, and when the Lord your God delivers them over to you, you shall conquer them and utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them nor show mercy to them. Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the Lord will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly” (Deuteronomy 7:1-4).
biblical example: This command was ignored by Israel to their own condemnation. “The children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons; and they served their gods” (Judges 3:5-6). “In those days I also saw Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab” (Nehhemiah 13:23).
comment: An unpreventable problem occurs when two non-Christians are married but later one becomes a Christian. This is a different situation. “A wife [a Christian] is bound by law as long as her husband [spouse] lives; but if her husband dies, she is at liberty to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39).
Business ~ The principle is clear. “You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together” (Deuteronomy 22:10). “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” (Amos 3:3).
biblical example: “Now Dinah the daughter of Leah, whom she had borne to Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land” (Genesis 34:1). Consider the account of Dinah in Genesis chapter 34.
comment: Similar to marriage an unpreventable problem occurs when two, or more, non-Christians are united in business but later one becomes a Christian. This is a different situation. But the reason for not entering into a business relationship with an unbeliever is clear and succinctly stated in Amos 3:3 quoted above.
Religion ~ “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-15). “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” (2 Timothy 3:1-5).
biblical example: This principle was disobeyed by Jehoshaphat. “After this Jehoshaphat king of Judah allied himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who acted very wickedly. And he allied himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish, and they made the ships in Ezion Geber. But Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, ‘Because you have allied yourself with Ahaziah, the Lord has destroyed your works.’ Then the ships were wrecked, so that they were not able to go to Tarshish” (2 Chronicles 20:35-37). One of the primary reasons this is a problem is that Christianity is not a religion but a relationship.
comment: Jesus said, “I am the way, the Truth, and the Life, no man comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). If the basic truths about the divinity of Jesus Christ, His miraculous birth, His sinless life, His sacrificial death, and His victory over sin through the resurrection of His literal body are not agreed upon then there exists a huge gulf which separates and divides.
Social ~ “Therefore do not be partakers with them. For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” (Ephesians 5:7-11). “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).
biblical example: Consider the young prophet in 1 Kings 13:11-23.
comment: Christians must have contact with unbelievers in order to show the love of Christ to them. Otherwise, how can they know you are a Christian by your love (John 13:34-35)? The key is the first phrase above—do not participate in sinful activities which your Lord would not approve of.
~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW
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