When Paul tells us not to be “unequally yoked” with unbelievers 2 Corinthians 6:14, what does that separation look like? How far are the boundaries?
Unequally yoked comes from agriculture. This was a wooden device long enough to hold two oxen under it. It would be strapped onto each of the oxen and keep one from going faster than the other so that the two would work together.
Paul is speaking about the relationship we have with unbelievers. In another place he tells us not to be partners with them (). The idea is that we have a different worldview, different values, and a different way of thinking. We don’t work well with unbelievers, not because we are judgmental or difficult, but because we have a different process.
Paul follows this principle with many questions that highlight the differences between Christians and unbelievers. He then quotes from Leviticus 26 and Exodus 29 concerning separation of the believer from the unbeliever. But what does that look like?
We live in this world and we work for Jesus here. We can’t burn our relationships with unbelievers where we would lose the ability to witness to them. Not only that, but we must show ourselves to be genuine friends. Jesus was a friend of tax collectors and sinners.
We must have relationships with unbelievers. But we don’t have to partner with them in their worldviews. While we can tolerate the stances of others we do not have to accept promote them. This has changed in our world. People are trying to redefine words like tolerance.
But we must stand for Christ. We bear his name and we must not do things that don’t glorify him. This will bring persecution to our door. But his persecution and suffering for Christ. We are called to a life of holiness.
The world doesn’t even understand what holiness and godliness are about. There will be friction between believers and unbelievers. But that doesn’t mean we can’t live together with them. To the best of our ability, we maintain godliness while maintaining a relationship with unbelievers.