“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 harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God.” 2 Cor. 6 14 – 16a
This little snippet of Scripture has been, in modern times at least, seen as prohibition against marrying an unbeliever. Please note that this is not a new law that Paul is laying down here. The legal system of the Old Testament was never able to transform anyone. And Paul is the one who points this out in more detail than any other New Testament writer. So, let’s don’t go down that road.
But what are the facts? If you marry a staunch unbeliever your life will be made extremely difficult. Life is hard enough as it is, so why heap more derision and stress on top of what you already have?
Others have taken this to mean that you should only have business partners who are believers. Well I’ve seen some of those business partners who claim to be believers and I can tell you that it isn’t always a bed of roses. Why? Because they have unwittingly yoked Christ with Belial. Why would I say that? All commerce and business are a part of our fallen world system. Trying to yoke Jesus with the business of this world is yoking Christ with Belial.
Do we need to be ethical in business? Yes!
Do we need to treat our business comrades as Christ would? Yes!
Do we treat our customers with respect and honesty? Yes!
Should we invoke the name of Jesus as the foundation of our business? No! In so doing we are yoking Christ and Belial.
Another way we try to yoke Christ and Belial is with the concept of “God and Country.” Now believe me, I really like to see believers run for political office. But being a Christian does not make you a good legislator any more than being a Christian makes you a good lawyer . . . or doctor, or engineer, or banker.
Furthermore, all political systems are a part of this fallen world. The best ones are those that recognize our fallenness and mitigate against that with lots of checks and balances. I firmly believe that the United States constitution is probably the best in the history of civilization. But it is still part of our fallen world system. Trying to infuse Jesus into the system is yoking Christ and Belial. His Kingdom stands completely apart from all political world systems. It is fundamentally different and exists in a completely different dimension. The two can never be joined.
Paul winds up this passage by admonishing the Corinthian believers to cast off any unholy alliances. This is part of what holiness is – separateness. To make this more practical let’s set up an Is / Is Not list. It’s important that we know what it is as well as what it is not so that we don’t go off and do stupid things.
Not putting all our faith and hope in a political party or political leader
Trusting God to supply all our needs
Treating colleagues and customers with respect and honesty
Selecting a spouse who is a believer
Having closest friends who are believers
Refusing to vote or run for political office
Refusing to work in a “worldly” business
Claiming Jesus as the foundation of your business
Divorcing a spouse who is an unbeliever
Having no friends who are unbelievers