What is the application of 2 Corinthians 6:14 “Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?” ?
This verse has been most popular in its use as a proof text when it comes to marriage. Don’t marry an unbeliever is what it is commonly considered as its teaching. While that can be inferred from the verse, it’s not the main reason Paul mentions it to the worldly Corinthians.
The Corinthians were confusing loving the sinner with public displays and gatherings that made the community think they also freely loved the sins of the sinners. Not a sin by association, but an association that left the community thinking the believers love the sin. Not just being friends but being overtly friendly. Not just being respectful, but going out of their way to show their community that they “loved” them.
I would suggest simply praying about your individual situation and allow the Holy Spirit to bring you peace and conviction on the application of 2 Corinthians 6:14 and read the whole context then start comparing the other verses mentioned in your margin or study notes.
Let me hit on few points to consider:
- Paul uses the analogy of the farming yoke and the obvious most productive implication that to plow a field you do not hook a cow with a goat in the same yoke. Likewise a believer in Christ should not yoke themselves in a spiritual endeavor or enterprise with an unbeliever. The obvious reason is because the lesser animal will drag down and hold back the stronger animal.
- The key words in this verse are “partnership” and “fellowship.” The verse is not counseling against communicating or visiting with an unbeliever. Jesus visited and spent time with unbelievers. Peter in Acts 10 was given a vision to encourage him to visit and spend time with unbelievers. Being yoked together is being together in a partnership and in fellowship.
- You may hang out with an unbeliever, work side by side with an unbeliever, but you are not in fellowship with them unless your life and their life are in equal harmony. That’s why we call a church a fellowship, because in fellowship we should be at ease with knowing that we are likely to not be misunderstood, we can freely share our burdens, and together in fellowship we are all on the same page.
- As a believer in Jesus Christ, you don’t throw your pearls to the swine, because you are not in fellowship with the swine. They don’t think like you, they don’t act like you, they are not at one with you.
- The Christian life is a fine line between living in the world but not being of the world, living with the sins of the world, but not living in support of the sins of the world, and that is a line that requires daily Spirit-led living.