Followers

Friday, March 9, 2012

“COMMENTARY ANALYSIS:

“UNEQUALLY YOKED RELATIONSHIPS”
II CORINTHIANS 6:14-18

Introduction: 

14        “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.  For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?  Or what fellowship can light have with darkness.
15        What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?  What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 

16        What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God, As God has said: I will live with them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.
17        Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. 
  
18        Touch not the unclean thing, and I will receive you.  I will be a father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

II Corinthians: 6:14-18 NIV


                                                           
The above passage of scripture found in II Corinthians has been one of extreme controversy and doctrinal misconceptions.  Many believers who have married into interracial and interfaith marriages such as me have been branded and condemned as “un-equally yoked together with unbelievers,” and are urged to separate from the very person that the creator has sent and joined together in holy matrimony based on his agape, or unconditional love. 
It took the leading of the Holy Spirit, prayer and lots of study and research to dispel some of the myths surrounding this text.  I hope that it serves as a catalyst and open up the understanding of many ministers, lay persons, and spiritual leaders about the importance of God ordained marriages and relationships. 
II Corinthians: 6:14 NIV
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers,
For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common?
Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

What is Unequally Yoked?
 
Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines the word, “yoke,” as a wooden bar or frame by which two draft animals (as oxen) are joined at the heads or necks for working together, and as an arched device that’s formerly lay on the neck of a defeated person. 

Verse fourteen of this chapter and the additional verses listed—based on the background of the scriptures, reflects Apostle Paul’s second letter to the church of Corinth during his sufferings in the ministry.  He’s found here giving words of exhortation to avoid idolatry.  Unbelievers as you would have it had infiltrated the church with false practices and the worshiping of idol gods also carnal minded believers that yielded to their own fleshly desires and weaknesses.  These things had been forbidden and Apostle Paul spoke out against it because the Corinthians had intermingled with devil worshiper and enjoyed their senseless shenanigans as a sure display of hypocrisy to their commitment to the, “One true God.” 
Believers and unbelievers were considered yoked together by those practices.  And that type of fellowship could not reflect the holiness of God, and had harsh consequences.  Revelation, chapter 21 and verse 8 states, “But the fearful, and the unbelieving and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremonger, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake of fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” 
An unequally yoked relationship as defined in verse 14 of Second Corinthians represents the above descriptions for unbelievers, and should not condemn God ordained relationships.  If two people are joined together in holy matrimony by their love for one another, regardless of their race, religion, creed, or ethnic background that bond should be respected.  The love factor should be the main ingredient that knits everything together. 
“For marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled, but whoremonger
and adulterers God will judge.”  (Hebrews 13:4 KJV)
 
II Corinthians: 6:15-16 AMP
“What harmony can there be between Christ and Belial (devil)?
Or what has a believer in common with and unbeliever?
What agreement can there be between the temple of God and idols? 
For we are the temple of the living God, even as God said,
I will dwell in and with and among them and will walk in and
Among them, and I will be their God and they shall be my people.”

How could Christ be enjoined with Belial, or the devil?  There is no commonality in or between the two.  Wouldn’t an unequally yoked relationship between those two elements be construed as disharmony?  Yes, of course it would.  Could a true follower of Jesus be joined with Satan?  Surely, that would cause for war within the temple.

Spiritually, speaking the temple that Paul spoke of was not the actual temple or building structure where the believers gathered to worship.  But, instead the body of the believer for which was considered the spiritual house or temple where the Holy Spirit of God took up permanent residence.  “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another counselor to be with you forever—the Spirit of Truth.  The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him, nor knows him.  But you know him, for he lives with you, and will be in you.”  (John14: 16-17)

Since some of the people were given to idolatry and began to sacrifice to other pagan gods which provoked the Lord God to jealousy by such practices and also defiled their temples.  Apostle Paul urged them to put an end to such acts of disobedience. 
The Bible tells us that it’s not God’s place to be in the midst of an unholy people.  He had strict requirements for purity, and cleanliness.  “Know you not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?  If any man defiles the temple of God him shall God destroy: for the temple of God is holy…”  (I Co: 3:16-17 TCRB) 

Therefore in order for a relationship to be equally yoked together, definite changes in practices of worship, and refraining from evil associations had to be initiated.  As well as changes in one’s inner character and behavior towards others to exemplify God’s love.  In other words, believers must have a commitment to righteousness and morality-- and not that of cultic prostitution, and the bowing down to worship idols such as the goddess Aphrodite, and other pagan gods.

II Corinthians: 6:17-18 NIV
“Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.
Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. 
I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons,
 And daughters, says the Lord almighty.” 

In the last two verses, 17-18—the warning was to be separated from unholy alliances, and not to touch unclean things that were sacrificed to idols.  Could true believers in God hold fast to such practices, and expect to remain connected to him?  Does not the Word of God apply to everyone?  His plan was not to exclude any race of people.  Even the Gentile nations were to be drafted in according as they believed.  After all, God knows the hearts of all men and has selected many called, chosen and faithful to inherit eternal life. 
     
“And God, which knows the hearts bare them witness giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us… And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.”  (Acts: 15:8 NIV)

True followers of Jesus would not tempt God by putting yokes on the necks of others.  Would it be right to put pressure on believers to conform them to man-made traditions, and ideals for spiritual living to justify religious doctrines and personal belief systems?  Thereby in following such practice not being able to rightly dividing God’s Word by the Spirit, and by love, faith and humility.  Isn’t that the standard for right living without having to show partiality?

Or should legalism be used to force religious customs and practices upon others based on the Mosaic Laws?  Apostle Paul, spoke against that type of practice in the book of Acts chapter 15.

The Conclusion of the Matter

I’ve often questioned should a person that believes in God have to surrender his culture and origin to become Jewish with the adopted lifestyles laid out in the Mosaic Law?  Or should Gentiles be forced to comply with all the doctrinal standards of various customs and practices from the early church?  And in today’s churches and congregations, should there be “divisions and schisms?”  How could a man judge another man righteously and without partiality when only Almighty God has that right and ability?  When a person has right standing with God, it must be reflected in all earthly relationships.

In my opinion, I would think that “unequally yoked relationships” relates to that of the “fearful, and unbelieving;” and the “abominable, murderers, whoremonger, and sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars,” described in the Book of Revelation.  After all, the Bible also says that, “He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the only begotten Son of God.”  (John: 3:18)

In my opinion we are all creatures of God, and share a wholesome connection between God, and each other.  Everyone has a divine purpose and destiny for what He has called them to be.  We’ve been gifted with talents and special abilities that allow us to perform and relate well to each another.  The strongest and greatest of our gifts would be our ability to be loved, and to give love unconditionally.  The way God’s unchanging love sets the example for us all. 

Our humanity, should display that commonality no matter what race, religion, creed or ethnicity we may find ourselves in.  It starts with each individual when they have made the right choices in life to give back what God has given freely-- the ability to love, and to be loved. That’s the true essence of being “yoked together,” and it bonds the perfect relationship, in spite of!

In closing, it’s my hope that this commentary has served as an eye-opener for many that may have used (II Corinthians: 6:14-18) unjustly.  I also pray that God heals and restore those believers such as myself that have been criticized and ostracized because of it.  To be strengthen by his love, and forgiveness that we may forgive also, and glorify God with our unconditional love. 

Peace Be to You All!  #


Written By: Min. Devon Wilford-Said
Copyright 2012 All Rights Reserved