2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1, Perfecting holiness in the fear of God
What is wrong with the world? We hear tragic stories, terrible happenings, news that more murders have happened in London so far this year than in New York. The world is the way it is because of you and me. When Adam sinned it shattered everything; every one of us is a sinner. Sin is the matter in the world. The world lacks holiness, the presence of God, ‘Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord’ (Hebrews 12:14). We need to be a people of peace, a people of holiness.
- We need to be yoked.
2 Corinthians 6:14 states, ‘Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?’ (There is also a reference to this in Deuteronomy 22:10). Jesus promises, “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30). Who are you yoked to? When you wake up in the morning you may be yoked to an idea or you might be yoked to an ambition. You need to be yoked to Christ. Don’t be yoked with the world. You are either yoked to Christ or something else. Is your life spent serving Christ? Whatever you do, do it all in the name of Jesus, as though you are doing it as Jesus (Colossians 3, 1 Corinthians 10). Do all to the glory of God. Ultimately, if you have an unbelieving boss or spouse, if you love Christ, you will love your unbelieving boss or unbelieving spouse.
- Meditate on who you are.
2 Corinthians 6:14-16 gives an incredible description of the kingdom of God. We are in the world but this list of things shows us the kingdom has not yet come in its fullness. If you are yoked to Christ the kingdom is within you – in fellowship, communion, accord, portion and agreement. The Lord has delivered us from the power of darkness and put us with the Son, His love. Everything you think about and do changes when you are in Christ, your whole life is completely changed.
Collectively, we are the temple of God (2 Corinthians 6:16). We are a precisely constructed building with a definite way of doing things. The temple of God is perfect. Peter says we are living stones. Even when you are amongst your friends, at work or with unbelievers, you are a temple of God. Meditate and think often on who you are.
- We need to cleanse ourselves (2 Corinthians 6:17)
Cleansing ourselves is rooted in scripture (Isaiah 52). We are to forsake the world. We have been adopted into God’s family. Come out from the world’s system. We get so influenced by the world but we still need to be amongst the world to share the gospel (Ephesians 4:17-5:1). Thank God we have so many promises.
It is our responsibility to cleanse ourselves (Isaiah 1:16-17). Holiness is 100% We need to cleanse ourselves of all filthiness. The Old Testament illustrates this in detail in Leviticus 14. The whole of us must be sanctified. This task is impossible for us. Who can cleanse themselves in this way? Cleansing can only come from the blood of Christ, the work of the Holy Spirit. Christ loves the church and washed the church with His speech. Psalm 51 shows us the heart that is so given to Christ, the heart we want to know.
We are to operate in the fear of God. It is not just a question of reading God’s word – to hear is to obey. If you fear God, if you respect Him, you will hate all evil because He is holy. The fear of God spurs us on. 2 Corinthians 5 spurs us on to witness. It is also a key to mission (Acts 2).
How should we receive it? Proverbs 2:1-5. Receive the word of God, treasure it and apply it. Draw back to God. Choose it, seek it. It is the work of the Holy Spirit. Pray, ‘Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name.’ (Psalm 86:11).
Remember, we are yoked with Christ. Take great care and diligence with the word of God. To who are you yoked? What is the principle of your life? Do you review and check the principle of your life? Are you taking the opportunity to daily cleanse yourself in the word of Christ? Have you chosen to fear God – to be holy, to be like God, to be so in love with Christ that nothing else matters?