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Volume 16 - Page 99 of 151 Index | Zoom | |
"I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My
"I will receive you and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and
daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."
These are the promises that are the propelling force that makes for the "perfecting of
holiness". But these promises do not stand alone, they too are closely connected with the
argument of the context. We must therefore go back to verse 14 to commence the
conditions that regulate the enjoyment of the promises, "Be ye not unequally yoked
together with unbelievers". The unequal yoke appears to refer back to the typical law
forbidding the use of ox and ass together at the plough (Deut. 22: 10), and therefore
speaks particularly of service. The first epistle told them that while at heart and in spirit
they were to be a separated people, it was not possible, neither were they called upon, to
withdraw themselves from all contact with the outside world. When we come to
participation in the things of God no such latitude is allowed. The unequal yoke is
contrary to the first principle of holiness. This inequality is expanded for us in a series of
"For what participation has righteousness with lawlessness?
Or what fellowship light with darkness?
And what concord Christ with Belial?
Or what portion a believer with an unbeliever?
And what connection a temple of God with idols?" (II Cor. 6: 14-16).
There is no need to labour the point. There can be but one answer. The last figure,
that of the temple, carries the argument to a higher point. The saints themselves are the
temple of the living God, purged by the promise that God has said that He will dwell
among them, walk among them and be their God.
Let us now observe the turn that is taken both in the exhortation, the quotation and the
consequence. "Ye are the temple" states a fact; accomplished by God. "Come out, be
separate, touch not" states a personal outworking of that fact, and not something static.
"I will walk, dwell and be their God" is connected with the fact of the believer's holiness
in Christ. "I will receive, be a Father, and ye children" is the blessed result of "perfecting
holiness", of living as though we were the temple, of practicing and making our own that
sainthood that is ours by the blood of Christ.
The title "Father" is deeper than the name "God". We have been reconciled to God.
That is the initial fact. We can have access to the Father. That is the consequent
privilege (Eph. 2: 18). So here. While it is glorious to be the temple of God, it is even
more glorious to be sons and daughters of the Father. If the temple of God is holy by
reason of its use and purpose, the children of God will be holy because they are children
of such a Father. The temple stones may be no better than the stones of the house near
by, the gold no purer than that which adorned the careless in the street. Its sanctity is not
personal, it is not moral, but the holiness that is brought to its end (perfected) is that
response in the quickened believer to rise and walk in newness of life and serve in
newness of spirit. The highest incentive to practical holiness lies in sonship, and it is