Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What 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,
and they shall be my people.
Therefore go out from their midst,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
then I will welcome you,
and I will be a father to you,
and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.”
Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.
- Christians are not to be partnered with unbelievers.
- Righteousness does not have a partnership with lawlessness.
- Light is not partnered with darkness.
- Christ has nothing in common with Belial, the devil.
- Believers so not share in their inheritance with unbelievers.
- There is no agreement between God and idols.
- We are the temple of God.
- God dwells among us.
- God is our God.
- We are God’s people.
- We to go out into the mist of the people because they belong to God.
- We are to be separate from the people while we are still among tyem.
- We are not to touch unclean things.
- God will welcome us.
- God is our father.
- We are sons and daughters to God.
- We are to remove everything that defiles our body and spirit.
- We have the promises from God that He will be a father to us and we are his children.
- We are to be completely holy by fearing God.
The statement Paul makes here “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers,” has been taken by many to mean believers are not to marry unbelievers. While that may be an application, it is clear from the context Paul is not talking about marriage. Paul is speaking here of a yoke of impiety. On that grounds marriage would be included but this is not limited to marriage. Paul is talking about living all of life.
God, through Paul, is prohibiting partnering with unbelievers, in drawing the same yoke. By this Paul mean we should have no fellowship with them in their sin. The Corinthians association with unbelievers went further than hang out and talking with them. The Corinthians participated in outward idolatry. They thought that there was nothing wrong in participation in pagan rites. After all they were free in Christ. What they did outwardly in their body did not affect their soul.
Additionally, the false apostles in Corinth claimed to be Christians. But they were really Satanic. (11:14, 15). The Corinthians allowed them to teach and preach in their church without regard to their doctrine.
Paul uses a metaphor of oxen or horses being yoked together. When animals are yoked together they must pull in the same direction, walk at the same pace. Each animal controls the other. The prohibition against being yoked together with unbelievers is simply that, not to be yoked together. We are not to allow ourselves to be in a position where unbelievers can control or influence our moral behavior. Being yoked together is to allow another significant control over our actions through a voluntary partnership or association. Paul is not telling us not to associate at all with unbelievers. That would contradict himself and other writers of the New Testament. (Mark 2:15–17; 1 Cor. 5:9, 10). We are not to be “yoked together” in such a way that unbelievers significantly influence the direction and outcome of our moral decisions and spiritual activities.
Paul then goes into a series of absurd comparisons to make his point. Christians have are not to partake in the wickedness of the world.
We are the temple of God. It is a sacrilege to bring an idol or idol worship into the temple of God. We are the true temples of God. Therefore, it is sacrilegious to defile ourselves with any contamination of idols.
God promised to dwell in our midst. He cannot dwell among us without dwelling in each of us. This is the promise we have as Christians. This is the same promise God made to Moses. Paul takes for granted that God only dwells in sacred places. Therefore, our hearts, minds, and bodies are sacred.
We are to keep our mind, body and soul pure. While salvation of completely something God does, we play an active role in our sanctification.