2 Corinthians 6:14-18 is a passage that lukewarm Christians and halfhearted church-goers run away from, but it is packed with truth for everyone who desires to truly walk in wisdom. It says,
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
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. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”
Yoked together, fellowship, communion, concord, part, agreement — they all speak of coming together, but the Bible is pointing out the unpopular truth: there has to be a SEPARATION between believers and unbelievers. As we live, work, witness, and minister in this world, we have contact with people of all beliefs and lifestyles, so the scripture is not requiring us to move to an island with only saints.
Our light should shine before men (Matt. 5:16) and we are called to be witnesses (Acts 1:8), but the social lives of the righteous — the chosen fellowship, communion, friendships, and relationships — should not be with the unrighteous. If you’re saved, your social circle should not be unsaved.
The Impact of Your Circle
To some people that might sound strict, old-school, or outdated but even in the 21st century, God’s command to “come out from among them” still stands. We cannot touch the unclean thing, or partake in things contrary to the Word. It is not only true; it’s wisdom!
Proverbs 13:20 says, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” For good or for bad, who you hang with impacts you! The Bible even says, “Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4)! That is too serious to ignore! We are supposed to be separate because we belong to Him, and when we have the Holy Ghost, Jesus Christ dwells in us (John 14:16-18; Rom. 8:9)! Wisdom knows there has to be a difference between light and darkness, holy and unholy. If not, good manners are bound to be corrupted (1 Cor. 15:33), and we miss out on the blessing of God.
The instructions God tells us are clear, but let’s also look at a tight testimony that shows us this in real life.
God’s Precious Promises
We have to heed the wise counsel that tells us to come out and be separate. Yes, you give up people and things, BUT the promise of God is so much greater! You might lose a friend or leave a group, but look at what His Word says you gain:
- In verse 17, God says, “I will receive you.” What a promise! The Greek word for receive (S:1523) is defined by Strong’s as “to take into one’s favor.” Wow! You come out of fellowship with the wrong people, but then GOD Himself embraces, accepts, and receives you! Isn’t that worth it? You have to choose them or Him; choose HIM!
- In verse 18, the Lord Almighty says, He “will be a Father unto you.” A father is one who loves, provides, and instructs His children. Rather than letting the wrong people influence and counsel us, if we follow His guidelines to come out and be separate, we have the chance to experience the sweet relationship and the glorious benefits of God functioning as our good Father.
- Lastly, in verse 18, He says, “and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” It is something special to be the child of the Lord Almighty. He is the ruler and He has all power in heaven and in earth. He’s in charge and He knows what’s best, and as His sons and daughters we can rest in that! Why sacrifice having a right relationship with the Lord Almighty for temporary connections? There is nothing worth more than Him!
It’s so important that we use God’s wisdom, not man’s logic or natural emotions, to choose who we run with and connect to. Nobody wants to be lonely, but we should choose good, godly friends who help us get to Jesus (Mark 2:1-5) and who will tell us the hard truth (Prov. 27:5-6).
When we know someone is unrighteous or an unbeliever, when the Word of the Lord tells us to cut them off, or when wise, godly counsel warns us, it’s time to apply wisdom to our lives and do what God said. If we don’t, we’ll suffer the consequences, but if we obey, the blessings will be worth it in the end.