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6. Reconciliation

We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. 2(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) 3Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: 4But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, 5In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; 6By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, 7By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; 9As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; 10As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.

11O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged. 12Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. 13Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged. 14Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16And 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. 17Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, 18And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

14. Be not yoked As if regaining his authority, he now reproves them more freely, because they associated with unbelievers, as partakers with them in outward idolatry. For he has exhorted them to show themselves docile to him as to a father: he now, in accordance with the rights that belong to him, 608608     “Parlant comme en puissance et authorite de pere;” — “Speaking as with the power and authority of a father.” reproves the fault into which they had fallen. Now we mentioned in the former epistle 609609     See vol. 1, p. 282. what this fault was; for, as they imagined that there was nothing that was unlawful for them in outward things, they defiled themselves with wicked superstitions without any reserve. For in frequenting the banquets of unbelievers, they participated along with them in profane and impure rites, and while they sinned grievously, they nevertheless thought themselves innocent. On this account Paul inveighs here against outward idolatry, and exhorts Christians to stand aloof from it, and have no connection with it. He begins, however, with a general statement, with the view of coming down from that to a particular instance, for to be yoked with unbelievers means nothing less than to

have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness,
(Ephesians 5:11,)

and to hold out the hand to them 610610     “Aux infideles;” — “To unbelievers.” in token of agreement.

Many are of opinion that he speaks of marriage, but the context clearly shows that they are mistaken. The word that Paul makes use of means — to be connected together in drawing the same yoke. It is a metaphor taken from oxen or horses, which require to walk at the same pace, and to act together in the same work, when fastened under one yoke. 611611     “Joachim Camerarius, in his Commentary on the New Testament, (Cambridge 1642,) suggests, that ἐτεροζυγοῦντες, may have a reference to a balance, and that Paul — would not have the Corinthians unequally balanced with unbelievers. The verb ζυγοστατειν, as he observes, is employed to denote the adjusting of scales in balance. It seems more natural, however, to understand the word, as Calvin and most other interpreters do, as derived from ἓτερος, (Another,) and ζυγὸς, as meaning a yoke, and as employed by Paul to mean, drawing on the other side of a yoke with another; or, as Beza explains it, “Qui cum sint divers’ conditionis, tamen in eodem opere mutuam operam pr’stant;” — “Those who, while in a different condition from each other, do nevertheless take their corresponding part in the same work.” — Ed. When, therefore, he prohibits us from having partnership with unbelievers in drawing the same yoke, he means simply this, that we should have no fellowship with them in their pollutions. For one sun shines upon us, we eat of the same bread, we breathe the same air, and we cannot altogether refrain from intercourse with them; but Paul speaks of the yoke of impiety, that is, of participation in works, in which Christians cannot lawfully have fellowship. On this principle marriage will also be prohibited, inasmuch as it is a snare, by which both men and women are entangled into an agreement with impiety; but what I mean is simply this, that Paul’s doctrine is of too general a nature to be restricted to marriage exclusively, for he is discoursing here as to the shunning of idolatry, on which account, also, we are prohibited from contracting marriages with the wicked.

For what fellowship He confirms his exhortation on the ground of its being an absurd, and, as it were, monstrous connecting together of things in themselves much at variance; for these things can no more coalesce than fire and water. In short it comes to this, that unless they would have everything thrown into confusion, they must refrain from the pollutions of the wicked. Hence, too, we infer, that even those that do not in their hearts approve of superstitions are, nevertheless, polluted by dissimulation if they do not openly and ingenuously stand aloof from them.


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