September 06, 2016

Privileges, Promises, and Perfecting Holiness

By: Anthony Mathenia Topics: Uncategorized Scripture: 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1

Privileges, Promises, and Perfecting Holiness (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1)
Sermon Link

I. Prohibition (2 Corinthians 6:14a)

As Jonathan Mayhew said, “Extremes are dangerous,” and in understanding what Paul means in these verses we have to be careful not to take his instruction to a wrongful extreme. When Paul says that we are not to be bound together, or unequally yoked, with unbelievers, he is not saying that we should have no association with the unconverted or that we should become isolated and secluded from the world. In fact, Christians are to be purposeful in relating with unbelievers for the sake of displaying to them the glories of Christ and His gospel. We should take advantage of opportunities to interact with non-Christians through things like meeting up for coffee, inviting them to cookouts, inviting them to church, etc. However, the relationship that we have with non-Christians should not be one that serves to form our identity, shape our values, influence our activities and lifestyle, or mold our ambition in life.

II. 5 Antithetical/Rhetorical Questions (2 Corinthians 6:14b-16a)

In showing why it is illogical or incongruous for the Christian to be bound together with an unbeliever, he gives five rhetorical questions. Whereas the non-Christian is described by the terms lawlessness, darkness, Belial, unbeliever, and idols, the Christian is characterized by the terms righteousness, light, Christ, believer, and the temple. The identity of the Christian stands in stark contrast with the identity of the unbeliever. Since these terms are so antithetical to one another, how could one have partnership or fellowship, commonality or agreement, with one another?

– Why is it important for a Christian to not be bound together with an unbeliever? What do we communicate about God to others when we are unequally yoked with non-Christians, allowing sinful ideologies and attractions to define or shape us?

III. The Promises of God (2 Corinthians 16b-18)

The privileges that we have as Christians serve as an encouragement to cleanse ourselves from all defilement, having no fellowship with sin or idols. Though these promises were initially given to ethnic Israel, they find their fulfillment in the Church. God promised Israel that He would make His dwelling among them and walk among them as their God (Lev 26:11-12, Ez 37:26-27). The Church is the temple of the living God, and He now dwells among us in the person and power of His Holy Spirit. This promise will find its ultimate fulfillment when Christ returns to take His Bride home to dwell with Him in the New Heavens and New Earth.

God also promised Israel that He would receive them again after they had been cast into Babylonian captivity and there will be a second exodus after the pattern of Israel’s exodus out of the land of slavery in Egypt (Is 52:11). However, the second exodus that Isaiah was referring to is the far greater exodus that He accomplishes in the lives of those He welcomes to Himself, having brought them out of slavery to sin and death in order that they would no longer be bound together with sin and unbelievers.

Finally, God promises that He will adopt us as His sons and daughters. This promise was first given to David, saying that God would be a Father to David’s Son (2 Sam 7:14). The true Son of David is Christ, the perfect Son of God. Through Christ, the true Son of David, we also are now children of God, sons and daughters (Isa. 43:6).

– In what ways are these promises precious to you? Do you find these promises to provide you with strength and motivation in the face of temptation? How can you grow in the enjoyment and application of these promises?

IV. Commandment (2 Corinthians 7:1)

Based on these great promises, Paul then commands Christians to cleanse themselves from all defilement. The Corinthians were living in a city that was renown for its immorality. Knowing that many of the Corinthians were saved out of that background, Paul exhorts them to have nothing to do with the filth of their past, but to put off any fellowship with those sins and be further perfected in holiness. Primarily, Paul was exhorting them to have no participation in idol worship (1 Cor 10:14-22), and also to separate themselves from the false teachers in Corinth (2 Cor 11:3-4, 13-15).

– In what ways do you have yet to cleanse yourself from defilement? Are you believing that the grace of God in Christ is sufficient to cleanse even you in order that you might walk in purity and uprightness?