2 Corinthians 6:14

Verse of the Day Devotion:  2 Corinthians 6:14

“Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” – 2 Corinthians 6:14

Paul here is telling the Church in Corinth they need to ensure they do not become bound to unbelievers.  This term, “bound together” is a military term which has the idea of keeping in your own ranks.  In other words, do not leave the Christian community to join in that of the heathens.  The verb ‘together’ signifies to leave one’s own rank, place, or order, and go into another; and here it must signify not only that they should not associate with the Gentiles in their idolatrous feasts, but that they should not apostatize from Christianity. 

This thought is found in the Old Testament.  In Leviticus we read, “You are to keep My statutes. You shall not breed together two kinds of your cattle; you shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds of material mixed together.” Leviticus 19:19.  And in Deuteronomy we read,  “You shall not sow your vineyard with two kinds of seed, or all the produce of the seed which you have sown and the increase of the vineyard will become defiled. You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together. You shall not wear a material mixed of wool and linen together.” Deuteronomy 22:9-11.  The idea here is that there should be no mixing of different animals, seeds or fabrics, that it is important that purity is maintained.  We see in our focus verse that the purity suggested is true Christians with non-Christians involving activities and lifestyles of the non-believer.  Now, it is important that we understand what is meant by unbeliever.  It is not someone who is a Christian that struggles with belief in certain areas.  In this event, we need to teach him and help him understand that they may grow as a Christian.  In our focus verse, unbelievers are non-Christians and this makes things clearer. 

Now, Paul is not saying we are to ban social interactions with unbelievers.  For how can we be a light in the darkness if we choose not to let unbelievers see our light.  What he is saying is that we must not  participate with them in activities that are sinful.  We should not worship false gods if they do or speak evil of Christ if they do.  However, we can interact with them in such a way that the light of Christ shines forth from us and the unbeliever sees it.  In this, we are showing them what our life is all about and it may open a door to present the gospel message to them.

In the last part of our focus verse he asks two important questions. “for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?”  2 Corinthians 6:14b.  The answer to both of these rhetorical questions is ‘none’.  In the next verse he asks, “Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?” 2 Corinthians 6:15.  Again, the answer to both are none.  But again, this does not negate any opportunity to share the gospel.  They are referring to the different beliefs and practices which do not mix or there is no unity between.  But that does not say that we should never associate with them for they need to hear the truth.

Paul in his letter to the church at Rome says, “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED. How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!” Romans 10:12-15.  It is important that we preach the gospel to those who do not know Him, for how can they know if no one tells them.  Therefore, Paul is not saying we should ostracize them, but we are not to engage in their sinful practices.  We can fellowship with them without sharing in their sinful activities.  They need to hear the truth and we are the ones called to tell them. “And He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”  Mark 16:15

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries. 

Matthew 23:28

Verse of the Day Devotion: Matthew 23:28 

“So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. ” – Matthew 23:28

This particular verse is part of Jesus declaring the seven woes to the Scribes and Pharisees. This one is associated with the sixth woe which deals with hypocrisy. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” Matthew 23:27.  This is an extraordinarily strong condemnation of the Jewish leadership. 

He is comparing them to whitewashed sepulchers.  The purpose of whitewashing a tomb was not so much to clean them up or improve their appearance. These tombs were whitewashed annually to alert people that these were tombs so that they could refrain from touching them, which would make them unclean.  They looked quite beautiful on the outside, but because they had dead bodies inside, it was a violation of the law to touch it in any way.

So, when Jesus is comparing the Jewish leadership to whitewashed tombs, He is in essence calling them fakes.  On the outside, they look so good and pure.  They come across to all as righteous, but in actuality they are far from it.  When in public, they show themselves as keepers of the law, but when alone or with others like themselves, they do not follow it as defined.  This is the definition of hypocrisy, which in essence is claiming to have moral standards but whose behavior speaks to the contrary.  He condemns them as not being followers of the law, but pretenders. 

Do we have people today who act one way and think another?  Unfortunately, we do.  And we must be careful that we are not fooled by them, just as Jesus had warned His followers regarding this.  David wrote the following regarding his foes.  “There is nothing reliable in what they say, their inward part is destruction itself. Their throat is an open grave; They flatter with their tongue. Hold them guilty, O God; By their own devices let them fall! In the multitude of their transgressions thrust them out, For they are rebellious against You.” Psalm 5:9.  They would lie endeavoring to fool him, and he is praying that God will deal with them justly. 

We need to look in two directions to ensure we are not led astray.  First, outwardly with those in the church.  We are not to assume it is going on simply because we believe it is happening.  This is a dangerous road to walk down.  But, if we actually see it, we do not gossip about it, but we go to them and help them to see it themselves and make the changes necessary to correct it.  “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”  Matthew 18:15-17  This may seem harsh, but it is critical for protecting those whom they may be influencing.

And second inwardly with ourselves.  We must examine ourselves and make sure we are not living a life of hypocrisy.  It can be easy to fool ourselves.  Before I was saved, I honestly believed I was a Christian, even though I lived a life contrary to the Christian walk.  However, God led two brothers to show me where I was wrong, and after a short period of time, God made it clear to me and I then gave my life to Him.  It is important we all pray and see where we are.  If there are changes to be made, then we make them.  It is the only way to be who God has called us to be, true followers of Christ.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.