Key Verse: “Come out from among them and be separate” (2 Corinthians 6:17 NKJV)

14-18 Don’t become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That’s not partnership; that’s war. Is light best friends with dark? Does Christ go strolling with the Devil? Do trust and mistrust hold hands? Who would think of setting up pagan idols in God’s holy Temple? But that is exactly what we are, each of us a temple in whom God lives. God himself put it this way:

“I’ll live in them, move into them;
    I’ll be their God and they’ll be my people.
So leave the corruption and compromise;
    leave it for good,” says God.
“Don’t link up with those who will pollute you.
    I want you all for myself.
I’ll be a Father to you;
    you’ll be sons and daughters to me.”
The Word of the Master, God.

Reflection: (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

Paul urges believers to not “team up”, that is, form partnerships with unbelievers because this might weaken their Christian commitment, integrity, or standards.

It would be a mismatch.

Earlier, Paul had explained that this did not mean isolating oneself from unbelievers (see 1 Corinthians 5:9-10).

Paul even urges Christians to stay with their unbelieving spouses (1 Corinthians 7:12; 12-13).

He wanted believers to be active in their witness for Christ to unbelievers but not lock themselves into personal or business relationships that could cause them to compromise their faith.

Believers should do everything in their power to avoid situations that could force them to divide their loyalties.

These verses also have strong application to marriage.

Paul did not want single believers to enter into marriage with unbelievers.

Such marriages cannot have unity in the most important issue in life – commitment and obedience to God. Because marriage involves two people becoming one, faith may become an issue, and one spouse may have to compromise beliefs for the sake of unity.

Many people discount this problem only to regret it later.

Don’t allow emotion of passion to bind you with someone who will not be your spiritual partner.

For those who have discovered God’s light, there can be no fellowship or compromise with darkness (1 Corinthians 10:20-21).

Key Verse Reflection: (2 Corinthians 6:17)

Separation from the world involves more than keeping our distance from sinful practice; it means staying close to God.

It involves more than avoiding worldly entertainment; it extends to how we spend our time and money.

There is no way to separate ourselves totally from all sinful influences.

Nevertheless, we are to resist the sin around us, without either giving up or giving in.

When you know what God wants you to do, make a clean break from sinful practices.

7:1 With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let’s make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let’s make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God.

Reflection: (2 Corinthians 7:1)

Cleansing is a twofold action; turning away from sin, and turning toward God.

The Corinthians were to have nothing to do with paganism. They were to make a clean break with their past and give themselves to God alone.

“Work toward complete holiness” literally means “perfecting holiness.” It means becoming mature or complete in God.

Thus, Paul wasn’t suggesting that the Corinthians could become sinless in this life.

Instead, he was prodding them to work at maturing in their faith.

God had provided them with all the resources they needed, and Christ’s Spirit would empower them to become Christlike (Romans 8:2).

2-4 Trust us. We’ve never hurt a soul, never exploited or taken advantage of anyone. Don’t think I’m finding fault with you. I told you earlier that I’m with you all the way, no matter what. I have, in fact, the greatest confidence in you. If only you knew how proud I am of you! I am overwhelmed with joy despite all our troubles.

Reflection: (2 Corinthians 7:2)

Paul insisted that the Corinthians should open their hearts to him.

He knew how much those in the church needed one another.

If fellowship was necessary in Paul’s day, it is all the more crucial today.

Each day holds barely enough time to care for personal and family needs, let alone to meet the needs of others.

Yet the activities that occupy our time are not as important as the community described in these verses.

Paul’s intention is not “coffee and donuts” fellowship.

Believers need accountability that comes from lives intertwined by the cords of commitment and love.

If you are not in a small group Bible study, take the first steps.

Offer hospitality to fellow believers; when others extend the hand of fellowship to you, grasp it enthusiastically.