Paul’s Plea to the Corinthian Believers for their Affection and to be Holy
2 Corinthians 6:11-18 Our mouth has spoken freely to you, O Corinthians, our heart is opened wide. You are not restrained by us, but you are restrained in your own affections. Now in a like exchange--I speak as to children--open wide to us also. Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord. “And do not touch what is unclean; And 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.” NKJV
Paul completes his dialogue documenting all the obstacles of reproach and condemnation he has received from men who do not know our Lord Jesus Christ, which was the motivation for their inflicting pain upon him. Paul after describing how he conducted himself under suffering for the sake of the gospel as well as the perception of him verses what and who he really and truly is because he constantly lived his life for eternity with Christ Jesus our Lord, he now pleads with the Corinthian believers to be of the same mind set. Paul wanted them to open up more to him because he had enlarged or platuno his heart to them meaning he always welcomed them and embraced them openly with sincere love that never wavered. Paul said something similar to the Philippian believers expressing his loving desire to be with them and worship our Lord Jesus Christ together in spirit and truth when he said, “For it is only right for me to feel this way about you all, because I have you in my heart, since both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers of grace with me. For God is my witness, how I long for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:7-8).
Paul is confronting these Corinthian believers inability to fully and completely open up to him in the same manner that he has done and continues to do with them. Paul declares to them that they are straitened or stenochoreo meaning to hem in closely or figuratively to cramp; it has the idea of someone being sorely in difficulties and painfully to a great degree distressed in spirit. This was the condition of the heart or inner man/woman of many of these Corinthian believers toward Paul minus pity, sympathy, inward affection, and tender mercy and Paul declares his disposition he has for them and exhibits to them in loving tenderness because he wants their affections to him as well as he wants them to live in holiness before God the Father. Paul speaks to them as a loving father would his children desiring a closer relationship with them and wanting to protect them from the lies of the enemy masquerading in the person of the false apostles that came to them trying to turn their hearts away from Paul to themselves.
So Paul now makes his plea for them to “not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers” and this English phrase “unequally yoked together” is translated by the Greek word heterozugeo which means to have fellowship with one who is not a Christian in marriage, where the apostle is forbidding Christians to have intercourse with idolaters. Paul takes his idea here from the Miscellaneous Laws given to the Israelites from the LORD’s command recorded for us by Moses with these words, “You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together” (Deuteronomy 22:10) meaning just as it was unprofitable for the Israelites to yoke two different animals together to a plow, it is even more unprofitable spiritually for a Christian to have an intimate relationship with a non-believer. Paul makes the contrasting comparison by using the example of our Lord Jesus Christ (the way, the truth, and the life) having anything in common with the devil (the father of lies). Paul declares the Christian to belong to Christ and the non-Christian belongs to the devil, therefore, in that spiritual condition there is no common ground.
Paul surely is not requiring these Corinthian believers to never commune with or participate with non-believers in the world, but he wants them not to enter into a marriage union with a non-believer thinking they could change them because that is not possible, for only the Holy Spirit can change the hearts of non-believers and bring them to Jesus Christ. The true believer in Christ Jesus has Him dwelling in their body through the Holy Spirit and the non-believer does not. Paul concludes his plea to them for holy living by quoting the LORD’s words spoken through the Prophet Ezekiel when he said this to the Israelites, “My dwelling place also will be with them; and I will be their God, and they will be My people” (Ezekiel 37:27). The logical conclusion that the Corinthian believers and us today should draw from God’s redemption of us from our old life making us partakers of His Holy Life (2 Peter 1:4) is for us to remove our hearts from the lure of the world and its ways (Isaiah 52:11) and then our Heavenly Father can be freed up to treat us lovingly like the sons and daughters that we are just as any good earthly father and mother would treat or care for their children with love unconditional, corrective discipline, and unending sacrifice.
“Paul’s love failed to be appreciated by his converts because the channel of receptiveness, that is, of their faith and love, was so straitened. How often is this the case between Christ and us! Let us dredge the channel. Be ye enlarged! Open your mouth wide and He will fill it. The best method of doing this is to be only, always, and all for Him. We must not offer Him a share of our heart and devotion. There must be no division between Him and others. Whenever iniquity, darkness, Belial, and unbelievers seek to share our nature with the Holy Spirit, and we permit the partnership, He withdraws. No idols must be permitted in any hidden shrine of the heart. The whole nature-spirit (that is, the Holy of Holies) soul (that is, the seat of our individuality), and body-must be the temple of the Eternal, who rules it from the Shekinah, which is enthroned on the Ark of the Covenant. God still walks the world in those who love Him and are wholly yielded to His indwelling. The loneliest spirit finds Him to be father, mother, brother, sister, all. What an incentive to cleanliness not only of flesh but of spirit! Hebrews 10:22.” F. B. Meyer
“God the Father is ever and always wanting to lavish us with all of his loving care and provision but it is likewise always our sinful disobedience and rebellion that blocks our reception of His Love to us. God the Father’s Love to us never ever ceases, it is just like the sun shining every day and it is only blocked by clouds which is figurative of our unwillingness to let go of some besetting sin that blocks the Father’s Love to us. The Apostle Jude reminded us with these words, “Keep yourselves in the Love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life” (Jude 1:21).” Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ and His amazing healing power, pray this from your heart to the Lord Jesus Christ (you speaking directly to Him), Dear Lord Jesus, I confess to You that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe You shed Your Blood and died for my sins. I believe that You rose from the dead proving that You alone are God. I repent of my sins. I want to turn from my sins. I ask You Dear Lord Jesus to come into my heart and take control of my life. I want You to be my Lord, Savior, and my God. Amen...
Sincerely in Christ,
Clifford D. Tate, Sr.
Author of “Silent Assassins of the Soul - Are you Broken by Pornography and Masturbation? You can be Restored by the Lord Jesus Christ and brought into Deliverance, Freedom, and Victory! A Guide for Men and Women in the Enemy’s Crosshairs” e-book available now @ Amazon Kindle, @ Apple I Bookstore for IPod, Barnes and Noble for Nook, Reader Store for Sony Reade, Kobo, Copia, Gardners, Baker and Taylor, and eBookPie…