4Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? 15What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? 16And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols?2 Corinthians 6:14-16
This passage is often referenced in regard to marriage. Of course, it has relevance when one is looking for a life partner since marriage is the representation of Christ and the church. It is a best practice for a follower of Jesus to unite himself or herself with a likeminded person.
It is a disservice to the intent to limit the application of this pericope just to marriage. I believe this passage references something broader than marriage. Previously in his letter, Paul acknowledges the partnership humans share with Christ to be his ambassadors in the world. The responsibility to persuade others of God’s love for them through Jesus weighed heavily on Paul. His concern is that, as God’s partners, we might receive God’s great gift of kindness (salvation) and then ignore it. (2 Corinthians 6:1)
My ignorance is displayed when I do not allow the intimacy of partnership with Jesus to change what I do and how I live. This can especially be seen in those I choose to team up with. Who do I choose as partners? Who influences how I live and the decisions I make?
The warning simply stands that joining arms with unbelievers is not a best practice. How does that display intimacy and oneness of purpose with God? How can I walk in light when I join with someone who walks in darkness? Am I hoping my light will be enough for both of us?
God has promised to walk among us by the presence of the Holy Spirit. He will be our God and we will be his people. Therefore, our lives should show it. Honesty in business. Graciousness in speech. Kindness in actions. Integrity even when it hurts. Fairness in providing a product or service.
I invite you to consider Paul’s words to the believers in the early church —
1Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.2 Corinthians 7:1
Have you formed a partnership in some manner with unbelievers? What do you need to do to move toward complete holiness?