One year had passed after the first letter to the Corinthians. Some of the leading members of the church continued to spend time with their friends in pagan temples.
The temples were the “restaurants” of Corinth, but they had two very disturbing aspects. Offerings were made to the pagan god of the temple and the diners believed that the god participated in their meal.
When the meal ended, drinks were served and drunkenness was common. Male and female prostitutes frequently accompanied this part of the dinner party.
A meal like the one described above brings to life Paul’s words to the church.
— 2 Corinthians 6.14-16 – Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and lawlessness have in common? Or what partnership is there between light and darkness?
What agreement does Christ have with Beliar? Or what does a believer share with an unbeliever?
What agreement has the temple of God with idols?
Each of Paul’s questions has an obvious answer. These five categories have nothing in common.
(1) The righteous are in the right place because they are aligned with God’s plans and purposes.
Lawless people resist God from the inside of their being to the outside of their behavior.
(2) “God is light and in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1.5).
Jesus said, “For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed.
“But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God” (John 3.20-21).
(3) Beliar means “worthlessness” and is associated with the devil. Jesus has absolutely no agreement with the devil.
(4) When Jesus was criticized for eating with sinners, he said: “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” (Mark 2.17).
Jesus related with sinners and unbelievers, as the physician of their souls. He never imitated their behavior.
We are to imitate Jesus and not an unbelieving society.
(5) “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God” (1 Corinthians 6.19).
The temple is the place where heaven and earth meet. It is grossly improper to take the presence of God to a place of idol worship.
The Temple of the Living God
Paul expanded his thoughts about the temple.
— 2 Corinthians 6.16-18 – For we are the temple of the living God, as God said,
“I will live in them and walk among them,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
Therefore come out from them,
and be separate from them, says the Lord,
and touch nothing unclean;
then I will welcome you,
And I will be your father,
and you shall be my sons and daughters,
says the Lord Almighty.”
“What’s in it for me?” is a question that needs to be answered in every presentation. People won’t listen to you long if you can’t tell them what will benefit them.
If people wonder what sort of value is present if they begin walking with God, these verses are a great answer.
(1) The promise God gave his covenant people, Israel, is available for everyone.
Let the words of verse 16 sink into your heart. This is the greatest offer you will ever receive.
(2) If we cease trying to blend our trust in God with reliance on substitutes for God (idols), he will welcome us.
When Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5.8), he captured the benefit of making him number one.
(3) In a very real sense, God is our Heavenly Father. He is a personal, loving, and caring Father.
How can we trade a relationship with our Father-God for a lifeless idol?
Rudy Ross and I discuss this passage on YouTube. Our discussion is usually different from what I write. Rudy adds a very helpful dimension to our discussion. You can see the video on the Bob Spradling channel.
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