October 23, 2013
READ: 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1
Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? (6:14).
Adrian Vasquez frantically waved from his tiny fishing boat. A cruise ship was within eyesight! After their boat’s engine had failed, Adrian and two friends had been adrift for days on the ocean, far from their home. Some passengers aboard the cruise ship spotted the three and told crewmembers. But, inexplicably, the ship didn’t stop to help the three fishermen. When Adrian was finally rescued by a different ship 2 weeks later, tragically both of his friends had perished.
Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, pleading with them to turn back and take the ‘life belt’ of true faith in Jesus. It’s apparent that some members of the church had been attending pagan religious services (1 Corinthians 10:14-22). Paul knew that their embracing of idolatry was a sign that they were drifting from true belief in God. He questioned, “How can light live with darkness? . . . How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-15).
There’s a vast gulf between those who are in Christ and those who aren’t. Paul used the metaphor of a temple, one filled with a “living God” (v.16). He was pointing to the purity that should be present in our lives by the work of the Holy Spirit (v.6). And he implored the Corinthians to cleanse themselves from “everything that can defile our body or spirit” (7:1).
Paul wasn’t advocating total separation from unbelievers—that would deny Jesus’ prayer for our ministry in the world (John 17:15-16). But the apostle did tell his readers not to be of the world and to stick to the moorings of holy living in Jesus.
Do you know a believer who’s starting to drift towards sin and disbelief? Don’t just cruise on by. Throw out that life belt! —Tom Felten
Read 1 Peter 2:12 and note what Peter says the outcome can be when we live out holiness before unbelievers.
In what ways have you experienced spiritual drift? How can you help a friend who’s drifting into an unholy pattern of life?