Having considered the dangers of “loving the world” from I John 2, and of becoming “like the world” from Romans 12, lets consider the danger of becoming “linked with the world.” That is the idea that is expressed in the words of the apostle Paul, “Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Cor 6:14).
Even in the use of the word “unequally” (another of a different kind), there is a suggestion that the things of God and the things of this world dont mix. In the verses that follow, the apostle uses a number of expressions to emphasize the incompatibility of the believer with any of the things of this world.
We might take the words of Moses to the people of Israel as a general principle: “Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds … thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together … thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts” (Deut 22: 9-11). Consider examples from the lives of individuals in the Word of God that will underscore the danger of becoming linked or yoked with the world.
Apart from the Lord Jesus Himself, Solomon was likely the wisest person that ever lived. Surely, none would doubt the wisdom of Solomon when we read what is written concerning him in the Word of God. Sadly, something happened in the experience of this great man that ruined his life and had tragic consequences for generations to come. The Word of God says: “Solomon made affinity with Pharaoh king of Egypt and took Pharaohs daughter” (1 Kings 3:1).
This affinity would eventually be Solomons undoing, for we read concerning him: “But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women … of the nations concerning which the Lord said … surely they will turn away your heart after their gods … It came to pass when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods … for Solomon went after Ashtoreth, the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom, the abomination of the Ammonites… likewise did he for all his strange wives … because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel” (I Kings11:1-9).
In the expression, “his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel,” we see the sad results of Solomons “affinity” with the king of Egypt. Egypt is a picture of the world. There are disastrous results when the child of God becomes “linked” with this world. Here, the result is defection, a “turning away from.”
Many good things are spoken concerning Jehoshaphat, King of Judah. Consider carefully what the Word of God has to say about him: “The Lord was with Jehoshaphat… he sought to the Lord God of his father, and walked in His commandments… his heart was lifted up in the ways of the Lord” (2 Chron 17:3-6). One would hardly think that a person of this spiritual stature would ever become involved in questionable activity!
In spite of all of this, we read that Jehoshaphat “joined affinity” with Ahab, King of Israel (2 Chron 18:1). The remainder of the chapter records the disastrous results of this unseemly alliance. Upon his return from battle, Jehoshaphat was met by Jehu, the son of Hanani the seer, who asked him: “Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord?” (2 Chron 19:2). For Jehoshaphat, the end result of his “affinity” with Ahab the ungodly king, was defeat. May we never forget the admonition from James: “The friendship of the world is enmity with God” (James 4:4).
Finally, let us consider the case of Ezra and the remnant of the people of God that were found at Jerusalem upon his return from Babylon. Ezra discovered that Gods people had “joined affinity” with the nations around them (Ezra 9:14). It had been told him that, “the people of Israel, and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the people of the lands … so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands” (vs 1-2). The result of this particular “affinity” was defilement.
Ezra is reminded of the Word of the Lord through His prophets concerning this very thing. Also, in Numbers 25, we have recorded for us the sad story of Israels defilement in connection with the daughters of Moab. There we read that, “they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods; and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods; and Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor” (vs.2-3).
Not only do we have recorded for us the details of their sin and departure from God and His Word, but we have also the consequences of their actions. Departure led to disobedience, which led to defilement, and sadly, for some, this led to death.
It is very interesting to notice that in Daniel 1, Daniel and his friends are referred to as “children of the kings seed,” and in Ezra 9 the people of God are referred to as the “holy seed.” May the Lord help us therefore, as “children of the kings seed,” and as those that are called “the holy seed,” to seek to live by Pauls admonition to Timothy, “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Tim 2:19).
We have considered the dangers of “loving the world” (I Jn 2), becoming “like the world” (Rom 12), and becoming “linked with the world” (2 Cor 6:14). Consider now the secret to living lives of separation from the world. 2 Corinthians 6 provides us with the promise of God for those who are separated from the world and unto the Lord.
Verse 16 “1 will dwell in them and walk in them…”
“I will be their God… they shall be My people…”
Verse 17 “1 will receive you”
Verse 18 “1 will be a Father unto you”
“Ye shall be My sons and daughters”
Chapter 7 continues the thought of separation to the Lord with this timely reminder: “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, “Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh”
“perfecting holiness in the fear of God”
“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:15-16).