Unequally Yoked

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Donkey and Ox yoked together
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:
for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”

 

From the first month of being born again until now, I have been hearing this verse used to council believers, especially young believers, as to who they should and should not marry. Others will say it is being directed to those who would go into business or financial transaction with an unsaved business partner.

 

The Word of God does give the church directives regarding marriage. We find in 1 Cor. 7:39, “The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.” The last phrase of text “only in The Lord” gives us the parameter for whom the believer should marry; only to someone in the faith. The directive in the text is specifically for the wife, but the truth carries through and must also be applied to a surviving husband. This would be a biblical application even though the husband is not the subject in the verse. We cannot say the text says “the husband . . .” We must be able to separate what the text actually says and what the biblical textual applications are.

 

So what is God saying in 2 Cor. 6:14? “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” We will have to keep reading, as the old adage says, “a text without context is a pretext for a proof text” (http://d.mdsone.com/c/lakeroad/pdf/4364702_22486.pdf?ec_rate=128&ec_prebuf=80)
14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

 

16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

 

17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

 

18 and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
There is nothing in the context, before or after that mentions either marriage or business. At close examination, we see idolatry. Believers in Corinth were admonished to remove themselves from fellowshipping with unbelievers in their idolatry. Some of these believers did not remove themselves from the gatherings to Belial. The temple of God cannot be yoked with unrighteousness, darkness, Belial, infidels, idols or “the unclean.” The question that one might ask is, “what were the Christians doing in a place of idol worship?”

 

Sheep and Goat

 

We get a clearer picture in 1 Cor. 8:1-13. The believers were firstly instructed about the eating of meat offered to idols. That a believer with proper knowledge of God in this area is unaffected by this meat. On the surface, believers with knowledge knows that that the idols are simply reduced to the material they are made of. There is no other god but the God of creation. But a believer whose conscience is weak will be defiled and ultimately be destroyed because “if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died?” Verses 10-11. Yes, believers were in the idol’s temple in Corinth.
The first instruction was directed particularly to the actual meat that was offered. The instruction continued, however to include 1 Cor. 10:14-32. God is going past the meat to the act of the sacrifice.¬†We see in verse 20, “the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God” even though the idol is nothing, they represent demonic forces. In actuality, believers who would be present at these sacrificial ceremonies and eating with them in the idol temples were fellowshipping with demons.
Gods final instruction to the believers was, “come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. . .” It is within this context of idolatry that we find the text in question. Believers must not be yoked together with unbelievers in their worship and temple fellowship, “for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” There was nothing positive for the Christian’s faith in this practice. On the one hand, there is the risk of destroying the faith of a weak believer, and on the other hand, there is fellowship with demons.
Though the truth of the text can be applied universally to any situation involving Christians and non Christians, we cannot use this text to teach what the bible says about marriage and or business. Let us as teachers of the Word, be precise about the clarity of our teaching texts. If we take texts out of context, we leave the Word of God open to any private interpretation and we run the risk of being found to lack credibility and authority.

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