THE REASON TO SEPARATE
The first reason for the need of separation between a believer and an unbeliever is communicated via five rhetorical questions from verses 14 to 16. In each question, a contrast is being made between two opposing groups:
1. Righteousness versus Unrighteousness
2. Light versus Darkness
3. Christ versus Belial
4. Believer versus Unbeliever
5. Temple of God versus Idols
Observe how the two categories in each question simply do not mix. This highlights the point that there must be no unity between the believer and the unbeliever.
The second reason involves the sanctity of the saints. In verse 16, Paul describes the Corinthian Christians as the “temple” (naos) of the living God (2 Cor 6:16). The term “naos” refers to the inner sanctuary of the temple where the glory of God is supposed to dwell. Paul had earlier used this expression in 1 Corinthians to describe the church (1 Cor 3:16) and the individual Christian (1 Cor 6:19). Christians, collectively and individually, are expected to reflect the holiness and glory of God. If sin and worldliness is present, how can God be glorified?
Paul quoted from Leviticus 26:12 and Ezekiel 37:27 to elaborate his point. “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” As the temple of God, God is dwelling in the midst of His people and is presiding over their activities. Thus, the people of God must not be lax in their conduct and allow sin to dwell in the camp. Similarly, the Holy Spirit indwells every believer. It behoves us that we be diligent not to grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:30). Let us therefore take care to keep ourselves unspotted from the world (James 1:27).
THOUGHT: My body is the temple of the living God.
PRAYER: Father, help me be devoted to a life of holiness.