Abstaining from Worldly Associations

Bible Book: 2 Corinthians  6 : 14-18
Subject: Worldiness; Christian Living

Though Second Corinthians 6:14 & 15 “…are often applied to various sorts of alliances (e.g., mixed marriages, improper business associations), Paul’s primary association was probably ecclesiastical.[1] Though the principles found in these verses can be applied to marriage and business, those were not the topics under consideration. The context of these verses was the tendency of the Corinthian church to listen to and accept the teachings of false teachers, and those masquerading as apostles of Christ. These false teachers and apostles continually vied for the affections and allegiance of the Corinthian saints, criticizing and lying about Paul in the process. Paul alludes to this problem in First Corinthians 4:15, where he said, “For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.”

In Second Corinthians 6:3-13, Paul defends his ministry, by showing that he had sacrificed his personal comforts in order to minister to the Corinthians, something conspicuously missing from the ministry of the false teachers and false apostles. The false teachers and apostles were merely after a following, and undue respect and position.

In Second Corinthians 6:14-18, Paul urges the saints in Corinth to be discriminating concerning the teachers they heard, for some of these people were not real followers of Christ. However, Paul also wanted to drive home the point that they should not try to live with one foot in the world, and one foot in the teachings of Christ. What they truly believed would affect how they behaved. They could not live for Christ while spiritually straddling the fence.

Theme, note with me:

A. “How can there be Any Partnership with the World?”

2 Cor. 6:14b-c “…what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”

NOTE: [1] The word “fellowship” means, “…partnership, participation. What is there in common; or how can the one partake with the other?”[2]

[2] The word “unrighteousness” refers to “lawlessness.”[3]

[3] The word “communion” is interesting, in that it “…involves ‘close relationship’ (Arndt), as in marriage or as in spiritual relationship with God (cf. II Cor. 13:14; I Cor. 1:9; I Jn 1:3, 6).”[4]

[4] Paul is simply saying that the child of God cannot be close to God while at the same time living according to the ways of the world. The late Adrian Rogers once asked, “Do you want to live a supernatural life of victory? The Victory Express runs on two tracks: trust and obey.”[5] Unfortunately, many Christians are sleeping with the enemy.

John Suk writes, “Soldiers of the Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapped newspaper heiress Patty Hearst from her Berkeley, California, apartment on February 4, 1974. In return for her release, Patty’s kidnappers demanded that her father, Randolph Hearst, give millions of dollars to the poor. On April 15, 1974, the FBI identified Patty in a videotape of a bank holdup in San Francisco. On September 18 of that year, Patty was captured. She served nearly three years in prison for her crime.

“Patty Hearst suffered from the Stockholm syndrome. This condition affects some hostages who are so traumatized by their captivity that they identify with and become sympathetic to their captors. The syndrome gets its name from a 1973 bank robbery in Stockholm, in which one of the hostages fell in love with her captor. People who fall prey to the Stockholm syndrome in essence sleep with the enemy.

“Many Christians suffer from a spiritual kind of Stockholm syndrome. We sleep with our enemy—the world. Worldliness is more than a fixation with card playing, dancing, or movie going. True worldliness is being caught in a sticky web of commitments to self.”[6]

B. “How can there be Any Peace with the World?”

2 Cor. 6:15 “And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?”

NOTE: [1] Wiersbe says: “The word concord gives us our English word ‘symphony,’ and it speaks of beautiful music that comes when the players are reading the same score and obeying the same leader.”[7] There can be no peace and harmony in the life of a backslidden Christian. The things of God will not resonate with the philosophies, mindset, and actions of the world.

[2] The word “Belial” is “…a synonym for Satan.”[8]

[3] Paul further stresses the lack of harmony between the children of God and the children of the world with the use of the word “part.” This word “denotes…‘a part’ or ‘portion.’”[9] The Greek word used here “…suggests a deep sharing of things in common (cf. its use in Lk 10:42; Acts 8:21; Col 1:12).”[10]

C. “How can there be Any Participation with the World?”

2 Cor. 6:16 “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

NOTE: [1] The word “agreement” carries the idea of “…a sympathetic union of mind and will in a plan mutually agreed to.”[11]

[2] The idea above is much the same as that found in Amos 3:3, which says, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” The obvious answer to the question is “No.” However, many saints tend to go along with the world for selfish reasons. It’s the course of least resistance.

Two employees were chatting. “The boss wants a meeting today at 4:30.”

“Why does he always have to have them on Friday at 4:30?” “People tend to agree with him!”


Matt. 5:29 “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.” (Terminate sin; don’t toy with it.)

2 Cor. 6:17 “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”

Eph. 5:11 “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”

NOTE: Concerning the temptation to sin, Charles Spurgeon once said:

What settings are you in when you fall? Avoid them. What props do you have that support your sin? Eliminate them. What people are you usually with? Avoid them.

There are two equally damning lies Satan wants us to believe: (1) Just once won’t hurt. (2) Now that you have ruined your life, you are beyond God’s use, and might as well enjoy sinning.

Learn to say no. It will be of more use to you than to be able to read Latin.[12]


A. We Must Live in the Spirit.

1 Cor. 6:19 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”

2 Cor. 6:16b “…ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

Eph. 5:18a “…be filled with the Spirit.”

Gal. 5:16 “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”

NOTE: We must live moment by moment in complete surrender to God’s Spirit.

May not a single moment of my life be spent outside the light, love and joy of God’s presence and not a moment without the entire surrender of my self as a vessel for Him to fill full of His Spirit and His love.[13]

B. We Must Shine as Lights in the World.

Matt. 5:14a “Ye are the light of the world…”

Eph. 5:8 “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:”

Phil. 2:15 “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;”

NOTE: Does our walk backup our talk?
As a schoolboy, I worked with my father during the summer months. Each morning we stopped to pick up the early edition of the newspaper at a small grocery store.
One morning when we got to work, my father found that by mistake he had taken two newspapers instead of one. He first thought of paying the man the extra price the next morning, but then after a moment’s consideration he said, “I had better go back with this paper. I don’t want the man at the store to think I’m dishonest.” He got in his car, drove back to the store, and returned the paper.
About a week later, someone stole money from the grocery store. When police pinpointed the time it occurred, the grocer remembered only two people being in the store at the time—and one was my father. The grocer immediately dismissed my father as a suspect, saying, “That man is really honest. He came all the way back here just to return a newspaper he took by mistake.” The police then focused their investigation on the other man, who soon made a full confession. My father’s honesty made a big impression on that non-Christian storeowner, and on me.
Does your Christian walk square with your Christian talk? Is your honesty above question?[14]

C. We Must be Lovers of One Another.

John 13:35 “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

1 Pet. 1:22b “…see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:”

1 John 4:7 “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”

Check out the author’s recently released book, entitled, Meditations of the Heart: Thoughts on the Christian Life, at:


Copyright © April 1990 by Rev. Donnie L. Martin. All rights reserved.

[1] The Bible Knowledge Commentary, eds. John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, (Wheaton, IL: SP Publications, Inc., Fourth printing, 1984), p. 570.

[2] Albert Barnes, Albert Barnes Notes on the Bible, e-Sword®, Version 9.9.1, Copyright © 2000-2011, Rick Meyers, All rights reserved worldwide.

[3] The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, eds. Charles F. Pfeiffer and Everett F. Harrison, (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 22nd printing 1987) p. 1273.

[4] Ibid, p. 1273.

[5] Adrianisms: The Wit and Wisdom of Adrian Rogers, (Memphis, TN: Love Worth Finding Ministries, n.d.) Copyright © 2006, p. 71.

[6] The Banner, April 15, 1996. p. 2.

[7] Warren W. Wiersbe, Be Encouraged, (Wheaton, IL: SP Publications, Inc., n.d.) p.75.

[8] The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, eds. Charles F. Pfeiffer and Everett F. Harrison, (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 22nd printing 1987) p. 1273.

[9] W.E. Vine (William Edwy, 1873-1949), with Merrill F. Unger and William White, Jr. Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, n.d.) p. 458.

[10] The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, eds. Charles F. Pfeiffer and Everett F. Harrison, (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 22nd printing 1987) p. 1273.

[11] Ibid, p. 1273.

[12] Charles Spurgeon. Acquired from sermonillustrations.com.

[13] Andrew Murray. Acquired from sermonillustrations.com.

[14] Our Daily Bread, March-May, 1998, p. for April 15.