The Temple of
14Stay away from people who are not followers of the Lord! Can someone who is good get along with someone who is evil? Are light and darkness the same? 15Is Christ a friend of Satan? Can people who follow the Lord have anything in common with those who don't? 16 Do idols belong in the temple of God? We are the temple of the living God, as God himself says,
“I will live with these people
and walk among them.
I will be their God,
and they will be
17 The Lord also says,
“Leave them and stay away!
Don't touch anything
that isn't clean.
Then I will welcome you
18 and be your Father.
You will be my sons
and my daughters,
as surely as I am God,
1My friends, God has made us these promises. So we should stay away from everything that keeps our bodies and spirits from being clean. We should honor God and try to be completely like him.
This passage pulls no punches. If we are called to do God’s work, we must do it with pure hearts and motives. Because if we lose that, we lose everything. And we can’t be successful outside of the Holy Spirit’s divine leading and power in our lives.
It means making hard choices about friends, how and with whom we spend our time, where we put our energy, use our talents and financial support.
It means making clear and definitive stands in our choices – being able to operate in the world, but not the same as the culture that exists around us.
How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols?
These rhetorical questions were used by Paul to clearly contrast two competing worldviews and call the church to recognize which side they are on. His aim, to move his audience into a greater understanding of the larger picture of the purpose of life. The point was not to quarrel over whether Christians should or should not marry non-Christians, but instead a passionate plea to holiness. Once we open our hearts to Christ, the relationship is exclusive, requiring clean hands and a pure heart.
Lord, keep our hearts and motives pure. We want to be different, led by your Holy Spirit. Don’t let worldly relationships in any area of our lives creep in and distract us from your mission. Grant us a Spirit of wisdom and revelation. May the power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead be in us. Amen.