Godly Relationship With Unbelievers?

Godly Relationship With Unbelievers?

Reread 2 Corinthians Chapter 6
 
2Co 6:14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial ? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be My people.” 17 “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” 18 “I will be a Father to you, and you will be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
 
These are tough verses. Paul makes it very clear that God’s people are to treat unbelievers and the wicked differently than they treat their brothers in Christ. One of the main reasons why He asks us to gather together as believers is so we can strengthen and encourage one another. That is a completely different relationship than the one we are to have with unbelievers or Christian brothers who have gone off God’s pathway. 

However, there is not a hard and fast rule in that regard.
 
 1Co 5:9 I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.
 
In this letter, Paul narrows the idea just a bit. He gives us a limited license to have some measure of connection with the world’s unbelievers. If we could not have any connection at all with them, there would be no way they could hear the gospel. My guess is that Paul would advise us to continue to mingle with unbelievers who are open to hearing what we have to say about Christ and Christianity. Therefore, what he may be saying in the 2 Corinthians passage is that we should not associate with them in the same manner as with our Christian brothers. There is a huge difference in the kind of fellowship we have with believers and the relationship we have with unbelievers. We gather together as believers in unity; but we are not in unity with unbelievers. That message is clear in the following verse from the book of James.
 
Jas 4:4 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.
 
As it applies to our SSA friends, I think we can draw the same kind of conclusion. The 1 Corinthian passage relates to believers’ relationship with men and women who are openly and unrepentingly (that’s probably not a real word) practicing sexual immorality. There are unbelievers who fit into that category and there are some believers who are living in rebellion against God.
 
If we can draw any conclusion from these ramblings, let it be this – We must be careful in our associations with unbelievers AND Christians who are involved in sexual sin. Whatever contact we have with them must be for the purpose of bringing them to the cross for salvation or for restoration. In no way are we to give the impression that we agree with their way of life. There can be no real, Godly relationship with the world. Our relationship with them is to be as a messenger of truth, not an intimate, unity of spirits. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and me in every situation, so that we will not be improperly united with any of the groups mentioned in Paul’s writings.
 
Prayer: Father, this is so hard! There are men and women whom we love who are unbelievers, and “brothers” who are living outside Your will. Please make it very clear to us what kind of contact we are to have with them. Have mercy on them, and guide us to be Your representative in their lives, in a way that pleases You and fulfills Your will for their lives.
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