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The Scriptorium

Guard Purity

Bad company corrupts good morals. 2 Corinthians 6.13-16a

2 Corinthians 6 (5)

Pray Psalm 125.1, 2.
Those who trust in the LORD
Are like Mount Zion,
Which cannot be moved, but abides forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
So the LORD surrounds His people
From this time forth and forever.

Sing Psalm 125.1, 2.
(St. Gertrude: Onward, Christian Soldiers)
All who trust in Jesus, strong as Zion stand!
Naught shall ever move them from their promised land!
Like the hills surrounding safe Jerusalem,
Christ surrounds His Church and holds her in His mighty Hand!
Refrain, v. 1
All who trust in Jesus, strong as Zion stand!
Naught shall ever move them from their promised land!

Read 2 Corinthians 6.1-16a; meditate on verses 13-16a.


1. What five words does Paul use to express relationships?

2. How does he caution us with respect to unbelievers?

Sharing, fellowship, accord, part, agreement. This is what Christians must work hard to realize with one another (Eph. 4.3). The Christians in Jerusalem experienced this in powerful ways (Acts 2-6), so powerful that the unity and purity they displayed saw many of their enemies joining them in the Lord.

Individually and as churches we must guard the purity we have as believers in the Lord. We must not allow anything into our lives that disrupts or corrupts our purity. This can happen when we become “unequally yoked” with unbelievers and their worldview. Paul is not calling us to have no relationships with unbelievers. That’s unavoidable, and it is desirable for the progress of the Gospel.

But he cautions us to guard the purity we have as the temple of the living God. We recall how, in the Old Testament, the purity of the temple and of the people of God was compromised again and again by forms of “yoking” with idols, wicked rulers, false teachers, and sinful people. Paul doesn’t want us to repeat that mistake. We may work with, shop from, live next door to, and do many things with unbelievers. But we must not share, fellowship, agree, or have any part with them that compromises our purity as the Lord’s dwelling. Paul previously warned the believers against “evil company” (1 Cor. 15.33). Here he simply repeats that admonition in a somewhat different form.

We must be careful to be who we are and to be careful that our contacts with the wrong-believing world do not lead us to compromise that holy distinctive.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162.
Let’s imagine for a minute that you are going to realize the dream of a lifetime—to participate in the Iditarod.
You are then given the choice of all the dogs in the world to put into your winning sled team. And you choose for your lead dogs a Great Dane to be yoked with a Chihuahua. Hmmm. For all the years you have prepared for this, and for all your longings to win this event, your unequally yoked dogs are not the ticket to your longed-for victory.

God, through Paul, is warning us of this same disastrous choice.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Prov. 14.12).

To be yoked is a serious commitment. To casually know is different altogether.
“The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray” (Prov. 12.26).

Jesus has a better idea and a better way: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt. 11.29, 30).

What fellowship is there to be found between righteousness and lawlessness?
What communion is there to be found between light and darkness?
What agreement is there between Christ and the wicked and worthless?
What sharing exists between a believer and an unbeliever?
What accord is there between the Church and idols?
Rhetorical, yes?  And the definitive answer to all is: none.

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Cor. 6.14).

“Individually and as churches we must guard the purity we have as believers in the Lord” and then win the Iditarod of life yoked with Jesus.

For reflection
1. What would tell you that you were beginning to be unequally yoked in a way that could harm your faith?

2. Can we be unequally yoked with things? Like the Internet? TV? Anything else? Explain.

3. Are you yoked with any believers who can help you keep a close watch over your soul? How can you help them do that?

The renewed man acts upon new principles, by new rules, with new ends, and in new company. The believer is created anew; his heart is not merely set right, but a new heart is given him. He is the workmanship of God, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on 2 Corinthians 5.16-21

Pray Psalm 125.3-5.
Pray for your church, that God will keep wicked influences from entering, that He will continue to do good and enrich your fellowship, and that any who harbor wickedness in their soul may come to repentance.

Sing Psalm 125.3-5.
(St. Gertrude: Onward, Christian Soldiers)
Wickedness shall rest not on this holy land.
Sinfulness shall never come forth from their hand.
Trusting in the Savior, firm in His caress,
ever shall His favor on this holy city rest.
Refrain, v. 1
All who trust in Jesus, strong as Zion stand!
Naught shall ever move them from their promised land!

LORD, do good and care for those upright in heart.
Those who turn to evil shall from You depart.
Sinful men may increase on their way to hell!
Save Your people, let your peace abound in Israel!

T. M. and Susie Moore

The Church in Corinth was in need of revival. But there was much to be done before that would happen. The Church today is in need of revival, and the same is true for us. Our book, Revived!, can help us to discern our need for revival and lead us in getting there. Order your copy by clicking here.

Support for Scriptorium comes from our faithful and generous God, who moves our readers to share financially in our work. If this article was helpful, please give Him thanks and praise.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalteravailable by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
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