Unequally Yoked

Unequally Yoked

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14)

One reason the Corinthian Christians were in a bad relationship with the apostle was because they had joined themselves to unbelievers, and this prevented their reconciliation with Paul.

The idea of do not be unequally yoked together is based on Deuteronomy 22:10, which prohibited yoking together two different types of animals. It speaks of joining two things that should not be joined.

Unequally Yoked

For some reason, this verse has been mainly applied as a warning for Christians to not get married to those who are not also disciples of Jesus Christ. However, Paul meant much more than that one point of application. This applies to any environment where a believer allows the world to influence their thinking above the influence of God’s word and His Spirit. When believers are being conformed to this world and are not being transformed by the renewing of their mind (Romans 12:2), they join with unbelievers in an ungodly way.

This speaks especially to the issue of influence. Paul is not suggesting that Christians never associate with unbelievers (this is clear in 1 Corinthians 5:9-13). The principle is that believers are to be in the world, but not of the world, like a ship should be in the water, but water shouldn’t be in the ship. If the world is influencingGod’s people, clearly they are unequally yoked together with unbelievers. This unequal yoke, or ungodly influence, may come through social media, a book, a video, a song, or even through worldly-minded Christian friends. Most Christians are far too undiscerning about the things they allow to influence their thinking and actions.

We all like to believe that we can be around ungodly things as much as we want and that we are strong enough to ward off the influence. But we must take seriously the words of Scripture: Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits” (1 Corinthians 15:33). It needs to come back to the simple question from Romans 12:2: Are we being conformed to this world, or are we being transformed by the renewing of the mind?

The Corinthian Christians thought like worldly people, not like godly people. They gained this way of looking at life – or at least they stayed in it – because of their ungodly associations. Paul told them to break those yokes of fellowship with the ungodly.

The Corinthian Christians were too loving and affectionate in the sense they thought it was “accepting” and praiseworthy to allow lawlessness with righteousness, to accept darkness along with the light. By using the term communion, Paul indicates that he really meant influence more than presence.

Christian, ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you: to what extent have you allowed the thinking of the world to influence you? Are you unequally yoked? In the name of Jesus, break those unequal yokes, and take the yoke of Jesus on you (Matthew 11:29-30).

Click here for David’s commentary on 2 Corinthians 6


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