What does light have in common with darkness?
2 Corinthians 6:14-7:7 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Do not be mismatched with unbelievers; for what do righteousness and lawlessness share together, or what does light have in common with darkness? 15 Or what harmony does Christ have with Belial, or what does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 Or what agreement does the temple of God have with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,
“I will dwell among 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’s 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 have wronged no one, we corrupted no one, we have taken 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 My confidence in you is great; my boasting in your behalf is great. 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 on the outside, fears inside. 6 But God, who comforts the discouraged, comforted us by the arrival of Titus; 7 and not only by his arrival, but also by the comfort with which he was comforted among you, as he reported to us your longing, your mourning, your zeal for me; so that I rejoiced even more.
In 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 Paul says: I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people; I did not at all mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the greedy and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to leave the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is a sexually immoral person, or a greedy person, or an idolater, or is verbally abusive, or habitually drunk, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a person. For what business of mine is it to judge outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the evil person from among yourselves. In today’s text he says: Do not be mismatched with unbelievers; for what do righteousness and lawlessness share together, or what does light have in common with darkness? Or what harmony does Christ have with Belial, or what does a believer share with an unbeliever? Or what agreement does the temple of God have with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell among 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. So, we see that while it is okay to associate with the unrighteous people of the world, we are cautioned not to make alliances with them or their unrighteousness. We are to be in the world, but not of the world. 1 John 2:15-17 says: Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God continues to live forever. If we would walk with God, we cannot embrace in the darkness of the world. We cannot say that we love God and yet embrace the very things that Jesus, His Son died to redeem us from. In Isaiah 5:20 God says: Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Paul says: Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let’s cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
The challenge for the church and for individual believers is to love people, even as they are, in their sin and unrighteousness, to welcome them to come as they are, but hold them accountable to change. In Luke 5:32, Jesus explained His association with outcasts and sinners saying: “I have not come to call the righteous to repentance, but sinners.” In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus says: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” If we would walk in the darkness of the world, it should be only so that we can shine the light of Christ. In Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus says: “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Upon these two commandments hang the whole Law and the Prophets.” It is vital then that we love others, but we cannot truly love them unless we love God with our whole heart, mind and soul. 1 John 4:19 says: We love, because He first loved us. Our ability and our capacity to love others is derived from God’s love for us. Romans 5:8 says: God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. It is based on the truth that God loved both us and others so much, that He sent His Son to die for our sins and theirs, that we love them. Love is the key to our being able to convey the love of God to the world. Ephesians 4:15-16 says: Speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, that is, Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. In Mark 16:15-16 Jesus says: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. The one who has believed and has been baptized will be saved; but the one who has not believed will be condemned.” It is a matter of life and death. We need to love enough to tell the truth.
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ, may I truly love others as You love them. May the demonstration of love be that Jesus died to redeem us from sin. Holy Spirit, be my guide. Give me the words to say, that I would speak the truth in love. Show me what to do, that I would be a light in the darkness. Through Your indwelling presence may I walk not in alliance with the world, but rather in alignment with the Father and the Son. Amen.