What fellowship has light with darkness?
2 Corinthians 6:14-7:7 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? 16 Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,
“I will dwell in them and
walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 17 “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord. “And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you. 18 “And
I will be a father to you,
And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty.
7 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
2 Make room for us in your hearts; we wronged no one, we corrupted no one, we took advantage of no one. 3 I do not speak to condemn you, for I have said before that you are in our hearts to die together and to live together. 4 Great is my confidence in you; great is my boasting on your behalf. I am filled with comfort; I am overflowing with joy in all our affliction.
5 For even when we came into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were afflicted on every side: conflicts without, fears within. 6 But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus; 7 and not only by his coming, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted in you, as he reported to us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced even more.
In today’s text Paul says: Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God. In his previous letter to the Corinthians, in 1 Corinthians 5:9-12 Paul said: I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? So there is a difference between associating with sinners and with being bound together with them. As believers, we are to be like Christ. Jesus associated with immoral people. He was frequently questioned about and criticized for his association with tax collectors and sinners. He associated with and even aided women of ill repute; prostitutes and adulterers. Jesus though did not bind Himself to them. As the light of the world He didn’t partner with their darkness. Paul asks: what fellowship has light with darkness? There can be no fellowship between light and darkness. Darkness is the absence of light. When light is present darkness is dispelled.
Many people, when they criticize the church, say that if Jesus came today He would prefer the company or the fellowship of the world over the church. When Jesus was questioned and criticized about His association with sinners, His response was: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” When Jesus was here, He taught in and around the temple. He went to the homes of scribes and Pharisees. Jesus came to call sinners to repentance and He went everywhere that sinners could be found. To say that Jesus would not fellowship in or with the church, is actually a compliment, not a criticism. It is to say that the church is well, that it is righteous and has no need of repentance. I believe if Jesus were here today, He would again go wherever sinners could be found, that He might call them to repentance. Some in the church misunderstand the need for repentance. They say that we are forgiven of every sin that we are redeemed and no longer sinners, but saved by grace. On the cross Jesus said: “Father,forgive them, forthey do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34) Jesus died once for all, for every sin and for every sinner. We are indeed forgiven even of the sins we are unaware of. But if we are redeemed, if we are light, then we can have no fellowship with darkness. To repent is to change the way we think and act. What does Jesus say about the interaction of believers and the world? In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus says: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” When we associate with the world it is not for the purpose of fellowshipping with darkness. It is to shine the light and so to dispel the darkness. The reason we are to associate with them is: “that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
The text says: God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord. “And do not touch what is unclean; And 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. In John 15:18-20 Jesus says: “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yetbecause you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.Remember the word that I said to you,‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.If they kept My word, they will keep yours also.” If we are the sons and daughters of God, if we are brethren of Christ, if we are forgiven and redeemed, then we are called to be separate from the midst of the world, not that we do not associate with them, but that we do not partner with darkness and unrighteousness. The reason for our interaction and association with the world is not to be that the world would love us. Rather, it is to be that they would know the love of God through us, that they too would believe, repent and glorify God.
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Amen. Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit. Amen.