The world is a subtle and tempting place. It has its pleasures, and men desire them. The allure of worldly things has caused many a person to stumble and fall. It’s bad enough when someone secular succumbs and his end is grievous, it’s certainly worse when a Christian does so since he should know better.
A famous example of this shows up in Proverbs 6:27-29:
Can a man carry fire next to his chest
and his clothes not be burned?
Or can one walk on hot coals
and his feet not be scorched?
So is he who goes in to his neighbor’s wife;
none who touches her will go unpunished.
Forbidden fruit always seems to be sweeter. Because unbelievers don’t have the guiding light of God’s Word, they have fewer inhibitions in crossing the line into sexual immorality or any other action that is counter to the Lord’s commandments. When believers choose to disregard what God has said as to how they should walk in righteousness, the end result may be worse than that of one who doesn’t have the Holy Spirit residing inside him. Deliberate sin has severe consequences.
Because Christ-followers live in this fallen world, we are constantly around those who don’t believe. Work relationships often arise, and more time may be spent with pagans than with fellow believers. This can result in closer association with people who have no interest in holiness than is good and proper for someone in Christ. Paul warns against this in the extended passage in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18:
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said,
“I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
Therefore go out from their midst,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch no unclean thing;
then I will welcome you,
and I will be a father to you,
and you shall be sons and daughters to me,
says the Lord Almighty.”
It’s very clear what Paul was saying when we look at Strong’s #2086 for the word yoked: It “is used figuratively of Christians wrongly committed to a partner holding very different values (priorities), i.e. that run contrary to faith (the kingdom of God).”
The implication is that we’re looking at vastly different ways of thinking about things when a follower of Christ and a lover of the world join together. That may cause the Christian to do things contrary to God’s Word to his detriment. The world says, “It’s okay to cheat on your spouse and have an affair with your neighbor. No one will know. No one will get hurt.”
Yet, such yoking merges light and darkness and causes a murky gloom to settle on the participants. For the believer to engage in such behavior, it can be equivalent to his pursuing worthless idols in place of the true living God.
Paul elsewhere discusses how, since our body is the temple of God, we corrupt it through sexual liaisons outside marriage. That action causes more than physical yoking; it creates a psychological and spiritual connection. In the sexual realm, this interrelatedness is probably the worst, but attachments between light and dark can occur in business and even friendships. If they aren’t rooted in the Word and will of God, they may cause grief to the believer.
It’s why God simply says, “Don’t do it!” Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord.
He has so much better for us, even if we think in our fleshly estimation that such a union may result in good. God’s ways being higher and better than ours means He’s got insight that we don’t.
God wants His children to have and experience good things. Only when we follow all His ways and are obedient to Him – honoring and pleasing Him – can we truly receive the best of His love for us.