Do Not Be Unequally Yoked with Unbelievers
“You shall not plow with an ox and a donkey together.” – Deuteronomy 22:10
Scripture offers many examples of how Christians are to present themselves in this world, but the mystery to some may be how “not be of this world.” The Old Testament (Law, Torah, or Pentateuch) reminds us that different animals were not to be yoked (plow) together, in that one animal would be stronger than the other animal and/ or the animals would at least pull in different directions.
Paul told the church of Christ in Corinth (which reminds us) that God’s people are called by God to be different because we are different animals from the world. Christ died for the sins of the world but He is the savior of the Body (Ephesians 5:23). We should not exchange our doctrine (righteousness) to accommodate fellowship with the lawless ones (un-Godly, vain worship, denominations, etc.). Indicating that the word and the life we live, preach, and teach in Christ Jesus is as different from that of night and day, and as different from a Saint should be from that of an infidel (an unbeliever)!
The Temple of the Living God: 14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 17 Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then 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.” (II Corinthians 6:14-18)
Christ provides an example of how to live this example in Mark 1:40-45, where Jesus touched a leper to cleanse him. Under Jewish law, touching a leper would render the person unclean as well. The Jews were commanded in the Law to separate themselves from other nations, in order that their hearts did not turn from God due to undue influences and begin to follow false gods and idols (Deuteronomy 7:16).
Christ’s example to the church of Christ is that He was close enough to have a profound effect on the people; however, Christ was never affected (changed) by the Pharisees, Sadducees, sinners, sick, etc. that He encountered! Simply put, we live in this world, but we should never be of this world—our actions should not be “worldly,” nor should the church of Christ appear to be the same as any other worldly religion! We have to be able to carry the good news to all Nations according to Matthew 28:17-20 but be reminded that we should not adopt philosophies, practices, verbiage, etc. that are not conducive to sound doctrine (I Timothy 4:6).
Romans 12:2 exhorts Christians, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
— Damon Long