Friday, November 23, 2018


The lure of success in this life seduces us into mismated relationships. Paul commands us not to become entangled with those who would sidetrack us from following Jesus (2 Cor. 6:14). He describes the entanglements that would lead us astray with five rhetorical questions in the following verses (14-16). Each question is a comparison clause governed by a different noun, but all five nouns combine to make the same point. We must part company with anyone who would sidetrack us from the direction Jesus has set for us in life lest we compromise our witness for Christ in this world.

1. Those who partake of what is right (δικαιοσύνῃ) do not share spiritual values in common with those who partake of lawlessness (ἀνομίᾳ), literally no (ἀ) law (νόμος). The noun translated partnership (μετοχὴ) means sharing, partaking or participating. The verb form comes from two words meaning to have or possess (ἔχω) something with someone else (μετά). Paul uses the verb form in 1 Corinthians 10:17, 21 to teach us that Christians cannot share or participate in the Lord's Supper and also share or participate in the worship of idols (NIDNTT, 1:635-630). We must part company with unbelievers who try to use what we have in common to sidetrack us from our allegiance to Jesus.

2. Fellowship (κοινωνία) is frequently used in the New Testament to express the intimate bond that Christians have with one another because of our common bond with Christ. The root (κοινός) was used in secular Greek to identify a legal relationship of common ownership as opposed to private property. The verb (κοινωνέω) meant to share with someone something you have or to receive a share from someone who has what you don't have. The noun (κοινωνία) expressed a two-way form of participation either through giving or receiving (TDNT, 3:789-809). The idea is one of partnership and came to refer to the community of faith among Christians (Acts 2:42). Light and dark cannot share such a partnership with one another because they are mutually exclusive.

3. What harmony has Christ with Belial (Satan)? The word "harmony" (συμφώνησις) means agreement with respect to settling accounts in a business transaction. A related noun (συμφωνία) was the name of a musical instrument something like a bagpipe, and we get our word "symphony" from it. Matthew 20:13 uses the verb (συμφωνέω) for agreeing to the price of something (M&M, Vocabulary of the Greek NT, pp.598-599). How can believers set a price tag on Christ in an attempt to barter a deal with the devil? Yet, sometimes Christians are tempted to trade the principles of our faith for financial success in the business world. Like Esau, we will sell our birthright in Christ for a pot of stew from the world.

4. What part does a believer have with an unbeliever? The word "part" (μερὶς) means a portion or share of something larger - a part of a whole. Luke uses it to describe the district of Macedonia which is part of a larger Roman province (Acts 16:12). The word is also used of a share of grain stored in a room and a portion of land in a larger property (M&M, Vocabulary, p.398). A believer shares no portion of our eternal heritage or our kingdom cause with an unbeliever.

5. The temple of God has no agreement with idols. The word translated agreement (συγκατάθεσις) is only used here in the New Testament. It refers to a decision that a group arrives at together so often means approval or agreement (BAGD, p.773). The verb form (συγκατατίθημι) is used in secular Greek meaning "deposit together" from the idea that more than one person exercises an equal vote in a financial transaction (M&M, Vocabulary, p.609).

The list is climactic. The first four comparisons lead up to the fifth comparison which leads into the quotations Paul uses in the following verses regarding spiritual separation from unbelievers. Paul is not talking about casual contact or missional involvement but separation from any relationships that control us in some way (William Webb, "What is the Unequal Yoke in 2 Corinthians 6:14?" BSac, 149, April-June, 1992, p. 163). Business contracts, employee agreements, political parties, and even patriotic fervor can pressure Christians to compromise their faith for worldly gain.

Lord, keep me from the worldly entanglements that would sidetrack my loyalty to you.

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