(Vs. 11.) The apostle, having dealt at length with those who teach, preach and minister the Word of God, exhorting them to fulfil their ministry, to walk in integrity of life (inwardly and outwardly), to preach the Word of truth in the power of the Spirit (all of which he encourages by his own example), now addresses the whole congregation saying, "My mouth is open to you, to speak freely and openly to you all the counsel of God (Acts 20:20, 27) and to deal with you faithfully and plainly. My heart is enlarged. I speak openly and plainly to you because I love you! This strong love for you is what opens my mouth toward you, for I desire your eternal good."
(Vs. 12.) "I have no difficulty finding room in my heart for all of you; the trouble is with you. Because of outside influence, doubts concerning my office and authority and the fact that I have had to rebuke and correct you for various errors, you cannot find room in your hearts to love and accept me and my words (Gal. 4:16).
(Vs. 13.) "Now, by way of return, grant to me the same recompense; repay me with affection; let love be returned for love. I speak to you as children." As a father should love his children, so children should love their father. "Open wide your hearts to me as I have opened my hurt to you" (1 John 4:7-11).
(Vs. 14.) "Be not unequally yoked together with unbelievers." This metaphor is taken from horses or oxen which, being joined together by a common yoke, must walk and pull together in the same direction and with the same goal or have serious problems. Believers and unbelievers do not have the same principles, natures, nor goals. They cannot walk together in harmony because they are not agreed on the vital issues of life, sin, salvation, God's glory and the gospel (Amos 3:3). Therefore, the believer is unwise who marries an unbeliever (1 Cor. 7:39), who forms a business partnership with an unbeliever, who seeks social fellowship and companionship with unbelievers, who attempts to worship or conduct religious projects with unbelievers. This is not to be understood as forbidding any contact with unbelievers in civil society, conversation, or vocation and grade. If that were true, the believer would have to leave the world. Also, God put us in the world as salt and light (Matt. 5:13-16) to witness to all men and to be an example of his grace, even to those who despise his name. But to seek an unnecessary alliance and partnership with one who does not know nor love our Master is foolish, for what fellowship, companionship and agreement can righteousness have with unrighteousness? What an absurdity to think of joining together for comfortable communion darkness and light, or fire and water! (1 Cor. 10:20, 21; Eph. 5:5-11).
(Vs. 15.) What harmony can there possibly be between Christ and the devil? The word "Belial" is only used this one time in the New Testament but very often in the Old Testament and signifies a very wicked person. Most agree that the reference here is to Satan. Christ, who dwells in us and we in him, has no fellowship nor agreement with Satan; therefore, how can we enjoy unnecessary communion with those who manifest themselves to be children of the devil? Christ Jesus is our life, our part and portion; the infidel's part and portion are sin, self and eternal damnation. Therefore, what do we share in common that would give us any common ground for communion?
(Vs. 16.) The argument for believers to quit the company of wicked persons, to separate from them and to avoid being joined unequally with them in unnecessary communion is further enforced by asking, "What agreement can there be between a temple of God and idols?" We are certainly the temple of God; for God said, "I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people" (I Cor. 3:16; Eph. 2:21,22). "We are the temple of the living God." Idols have no life but are dead things and are representatives of dead men. What agreement or place can life have with or for death? We can no more walk with the living God and find joy and comfort in communion with unbelievers than we can bring dead idols into the temple of the living God! The apostle is not just setting forth the rules and laws concerning unnecessary communion with unbelievers. He is wondering why the believer would seek such alliances and what possible agreement or communion could come of these partnerships! They have nothing in common.
(Vs. 17-18.) Paul does something here that is done in other places in the New Testament. He quotes the Old Testament, not word for word but keeping to the true teaching; in the same quotation he uses another passage (Isa. 52:11; Jer. 31:1,9). Israel was a special, chosen nation (Deut. 7:6-8) and so were commanded to separate themselves from idols and idol worshippers, from heathen people and their evil ways. The believer is chosen of God, loved, redeemed and called to a life of righteousness; therefore, he ought to and will separate himself from superstition and will-worship in the matters of the soul. He will separate himself from the evil customs and manners of the world, conducting himself as a child of the King. He will separate himself from wicked and immoral persons, not wishing to keep company with them in their sins nor to be exposed to their evil by association. He is not our Father because we separate ourselves from worldly associates and associations, for he is our Father by grace and adoption by his own will in Christ, but he will care for us as a father cares for his children in their every need (Matt. 6:31-33).