41. “Come Out From Among Them” (2 Corinthians 6:14-17)
“What communion [koinonia] hath
light with darkness?... Therefore come out from among them, and be ye separate,
saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing” (vv.
This passage has always been popular with
separatists, but it is even more sorely misapplied than are some of the others
we have considered. The context clearly speaks of a life of unrighteousness.
From such a worldly outlook and way of life the believers are certainly
prohibited, since such a joining is an “unequal yoking with
unbelievers”. But it is a peculiar wresting of Scripture which
would take this passage and wield it in cutting off believers for some
minor deviation, real or imagined!
The entire passage is much richer and more
detailed than one would ever imagine from a cursory reading. Each phrase is
fully expounded in a series of articles by Brother David Parry — in which
practical applications are precisely drawn (The Testimony, Vol. 46, pp.
218-220, 270-272,311-314, 341-344, 427-429, and 452-455; Vol. 47, pp. 70-74).
These exhortational conclusions reveal once and for all the moral force of the
passage, in contrast to the mere legalistic approach in “withholding
fellowship” at the breaking of bread. We have certainly come to see by
now, if we had not realized it already, that “fellowship” is a much
broader and more meaningful concept for believers than the question of whom we
exclude from “our” table (which is not even ours, but
Christ’s). Fellowship with God is a way of life that permeates all
corners of our lives, and calls us constantly upward to a fuller appreciation of
life lived always in the presence, and in the household, of our Heavenly Father.
Those who convince themselves that their duty in the way of
“separation” is accomplished when they ruthlessly exclude some or
many of their brethren from their “fellowship” have simply not
understood as yet what “fellowship” is all about! And it just may be
that, in giving undue attention to one area of responsibility, they are on their
way to ignoring other, more far-reaching duties!
We shall briefly summarize the
1. Be ye not unequally yoked together with
unbelievers (v. 14): Only two can wear a yoke, and they must agree together
in the direction they are traveling. We are commanded to be yoked with Christ
(Matt. 11:28,29), and we can be yoked with no other at the same
“The call of Christ is to a complete way of
life — it is all-sufficient. Failure to realize that when Christ spoke of
two ways, he meant two and no more, has led men to try and walk in both, looking
for a third. For the Christian partnership to work, the believer must at all
times try to match the example of his Master. The only incentive is to think
deeply of the work being performed together. Unless positive reasons for a life
in Christ are understood, the yoke of Christ will chafe and the discipline be
irksome” (Ibid., p. 220).
2. What fellowship hath righteousness with
unrighteousness? (v. 14): This word “fellowship” might best be
translated “partnership”, a joint partaking in something.
Righteousness describes the ethical standard by which God offers men salvation.
It is the pattern of life in Christ. It is impossible that there should be any
partnership between this way of living and its exact opposite —
unrighteousness, or lawlessness.
3. What communion hath light with darkness?
(v. 14): This word “communion” is the common word for
“fellowship” — koinonia. To think of fellowship
between light and darkness is to consider an impossibility, for the two cannot
in any way exist side by side. Those who say they fellowship light and yet
walk in darkness are liars (1 John 1:5-7). Correct beliefs are necessary,
but our fellowship in light must be proven by the actions of a
new life (1 John 2:29; 3:7; John 3:19-21; 8:39; 10:37). The Bible definition of
walking in darkness is not holding false doctrine, but hating one’s
brother (1 John 2:11)!
4. What concord hath Christ with Belial?
(v. 15): “Concord”, relating to the English word
“symphony”, expresses the idea of harmony in singing or other verbal
expression. In Christ’s life the “symphony” has already been
composed. Each performer and each instrument should be controlled by that
original plan. We as the players bring our individual talents to bear upon the
composer’s score. But we cannot “play our own tune”, or else
there will be discord and not concord in the finished product. Trying to follow
both Christ and Belial (idols) is like singing two songs at once. How much
easier to follow the example set by Christ, so that there be true harmony in our
5. What part hath he that believeth with an
infidel? (v. 15): Here is the idea of sharing, or having a portion or an
inheritance, which may be understood against the Old Testament background of the
promised possession of the land.
“Believers and unbelievers have nothing in
common which they can share. The believer cannot take part in activities and
associations which are not controlled by God. The believer cannot share his
inheritance, nor allow it to be taken away by unholy men. He can, and must, seek
to share his inheritance by converting the unbeliever; but he must take care
that this work is the one that God has described in His Word. The Lord is the
portion, the Hope of Israel, the founder of the New Jerusalem. It is His
inheritance, His kingdom, His memorial” (Ibid., p.
6. What agreement hath the temple of God with
idols? (v. 16): This question involves the idea of putting together, or a
joint deposit, particularly of votes. The ecclesia is the temple of God (1 Cor.
6:19); its members must cast in their “votes”, and their hopes and
aspirations, with their brethren — not with the “idols”, crude
or sophisticated, religious or secular, around them. The temptation to cast in
one’s lot and find apparent satisfaction with the godless of today is a
strong one to the modern saint. The only real antidote is not knowledge alone
but application to the example of Christ.
“Therefore come out from among them, and
be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will
receive you” (v. 17):
“The teaching of these words as highlighted
by Paul involves an equal determination on the part of a Christian to become
holy through separation from unrighteousness, darkness, Belial, unbelievers, and
idols. The far-reaching implications of these words are now obvious and it
behoves those who would apply them in very limited circumstances to take care
that in casting the first stone they are not condemning themselves”
(Ibid., p. 72).