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2 Corinthians 6:17 – BibleTools.info

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2 Corinthians 6:17

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Wherefore come out from among them - Is it not plain from this and the following verse that God would be their God only on the ground of their taking him for such, and that this depended on their being separated from the works and workers of iniquity? for God could not inhabit in them if they had concord with Belial, a portion with infidels; etc. Those who will have the promises of God fulfilled to them must come under the conditions of these promises: if they are not separate - if they touch the unclean thing, God will not receive them; and therefore will not be their God, nor shall they be his people.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Wherefore - Since you are a special people. Since God, the holy and blessed God, dwells with you and among you.

Come out from among them - That is, from among idolaters and unbelievers; from a frivolous and vicious world. These words are taken, by a slight change, from Isaiah 3:11. They are there applied to the Jews in Babylon, and are a solemn call which God makes on them to leave the place of their exile, to come out from among the idolaters of that city and return to their own land; see my note on that place. Babylon, in the Scriptures, is the emblem of whatever is proud, arrogant, wicked, and opposed to God; and Paul, therefore, applies the words here with great beauty and force to illustrate the duty of Christians in separating themselves from a vain, idolatrous, and wicked world.

And be ye separate - Separate from the world, and all its corrupting influences.

Saith the Lord - see Isaiah 3:11. Paul does not use this language as if it had original reference to Christians, but he applies it as containing an important principle that was applicable to the case which he was considering, or as language that would appropriately express the idea which he wished to convey. The language of the Old Testament is often used in this manner by the writers of the New.

And touch not the unclean thing - In Isaiah, “touch no unclean thing;” that is, they were to be pure, and to have no connection with idolatry in any of its forms. So Christians were to avoid all unholy contact with a vain and polluted world. The sense is, “Have no close connection with an idolater, or an unholy person. Be pure; and feel that you belong to a community that is under its own laws, and that is to be distinguished in moral purity from all the rest of the world.”

And I will receive you - That is, I will receive and recognize you as my friends and my adopted children. This could not be done until they were separated from an idolatrous and wicked world. The fact of their being received by God, and recognized as his children, depended on their coming out from the world. These words with the verses following, though used evidently somewhat in the form of a quotation, yet are not to be found in any single place in the Old Testament In 2 Samuel 7:14, God says of Solomon, “I will be his Father, and he shall be my son.” In Jeremiah 31:9, God says, “For I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born.” It is probable that Paul had such passages in his eye, yet he doubtless designed rather to express the general sense of the promises of the Old Testament than to quote any single passage. Or why may it not be that we should regard Paul here himself as speaking as an inspired man directly, and making a promise then first communicated immediately from the Lord? Paul was inspired as well as the prophets; and it may be that he meant to communicate a promise directly from God. Grotius supposes that it was not taken from any particular place in the Old Testament, but was a part of a hymn that was in use among the Hebrews.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
It is wrong for believers to join with the wicked and profane. The word unbeliever applies to all destitute of true faith. True pastors will caution their beloved children in the gospel, not to be unequally yoked. The fatal effects of neglecting Scripture precepts as to marriages clearly appear. Instead of a help meet, the union brings a snare. Those whose cross it is to be unequally united, without their wilful fault, may expect consolation under it; but when believers enter into such unions, against the express warnings of God's word, they must expect must distress. The caution also extends to common conversation. We should not join in friendship and acquaintance with wicked men and unbelievers. Though we cannot wholly avoid seeing and hearing, and being with such, yet we should never choose them for friends. We must not defile ourselves by converse with those who defile themselves with sin. Come out from the workers of iniquity, and separate from their vain and sinful pleasures and pursuits; from all conformity to the corruptions of this present evil world. If it be an envied privilege to be the son or daughter of an earthly prince, who can express the dignity and happiness of being sons and daughters of the Almighty?
Ellen G. White
Counsels on Health, 291

“Come out from among them, and be ye separate.” 2 Corinthians 6:17. Shall we hear the voice of God and obey, or shall we make halfway work of the matter and try to serve God and mammon? There is earnest work before each one of us. Right thoughts, pure and holy purposes, do not come to us naturally. We shall have to strive for them. In all our institutions, our publishing houses and colleges and sanitariums, pure and holy principles must take root. If our institutions are what God designs they should be, those connected with them will not pattern after worldly institutions. They will stand as peculiar, governed and controlled by the Bible standard. They will not come into harmony with the principles of the world in order to gain patronage. No motives will have sufficient force to move them from the straight line of duty. Those who are under the control of the Spirit of God will not seek their own pleasure or amusement. If Christ presides in the hearts of the members of His church, they will answer to the call, “Come out from among them, and be ye separate.” “Be not partakers of her sins.” Revelation 18:4. CH 291.1

In their conduct toward the patients, all should be actuated by higher motives than selfish interest. Everyone should feel that this institution is one of God's instrumentalities to relieve the disease of the body and point the sin-sick soul to Him who can heal both soul and body. In addition to the performance of the special duties assigned them, all should have an interest for the welfare of others. Selfishness is contrary to the spirit of Christianity.—Testimonies for the Church 4:564 (1881). CH 291.2

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 289

There are many in the church who at heart belong to the world, but God calls upon those who claim to believe the advanced truth, to rise above the present attitude of the popular churches of today. Where is the self-denial, where is the cross-bearing that Christ has said should characterize His followers? The reason we have had so little influence upon unbelieving relatives and associates is that we have manifested little decided difference in our practices from those of the world. Parents need to awake, and purify their souls by practicing the truth in their home life. When we reach the standard that the Lord would have us reach, worldlings will regard Seventh-day Adventists as odd, singular, strait-laced extremists. “We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.” FE 289.1

We are under solemn, sacred covenant to God to bring up our children, not for the world, not to put their hands into the hands of the world, but to love and fear God, and to keep His commandments. We are to instruct them to work intelligently in Christ's lines, to present a noble, elevated Christian character to those with whom they associate. For this reason our schools have been established, that youth and children may be so educated as to exert an influence for God in the world. Then shall our schools become converted to the world, and follow its customs and fashions? “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” FE 289.2

When those who have reached the years of youth and manhood see no difference between our schools and the colleges of the world, and have no preference as to which they attend, though error is taught by precept and example in the schools of the world, then there is need of closely examining the reasons that lead to such a conclusion. Our institutions of learning may swing into worldly conformity. Step by step they may advance to the world; but they are prisoners of hope, and God will correct and enlighten them, and bring them back to their upright position of distinction from the world. I am watching with intense interest, hoping to see our schools thoroughly imbued with the spirit of true and undefiled religion. When the students are thus imbued, they will see that there is a great work to be done in the lines in which Christ worked, and the time they have given to amusements will be given up to doing earnest missionary work. They will endeavor to do good to all about them, to lift up souls that are bowed down in discouragement, and to enlighten those who are in the darkness of error. They will put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof.—The Review and Herald, January 9, 1894. FE 290.1

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Ellen G. White
Fundamentals of Christian Education, 482-3

The Lord desires all who bear the message for these last days to understand that there is a great difference between professors of religion who are not doers of the word, and the children of God, who are sanctified through the truth, who have that faith that works by love and purifies the soul. The Lord speaks of those who claim to believe the truth for this time, yet see nothing inconsistent in their taking part in politics, mingling with the contending elements of these last days, as the circumcised who mingle with the uncircumcised, and He declares that He will destroy both classes together without distinction. They are doing a work that God has not set them to do. They dishonor God by their party spirit and contention, and He will condemn both alike. FE 482.1

The question may be asked, Are we to have no union whatever with the world? The word of the Lord is to be our guide. Any connection with infidels and unbelievers which would identify us with them is forbidden by the word. We are to come out from them and be separate. In no case are we to link ourselves with them in their plans or work. But we are not to live reclusive lives. We are to do worldlings all the good we possibly can. Christ has given us an example of this. When invited to eat with publicans and sinners, He did not refuse; for in no other way than by mingling with them could He reach this class. But on every occasion He gave them talents of words and influence. He opened up themes of conversation which brought things of eternal interest to their minds. And this Teacher enjoins us, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” On the temperance question take your position without wavering. Be as firm as a rock. Be not partakers of other men's sins. Acts of dishonesty in business deal, with believers or unbelievers, should be reproved; and if they give no evidence of reformation, come out from among them and be separate. FE 482.2

There is a large vineyard to be cultivated; but while Christians are to work among unbelievers, they are not to appear like worldlings. They are not to spend their time talking politics or acting as politicians; for by so doing, they give the enemy opportunity to come in and cause variance and discord. Those in the ministry who desire to stand as politicians should have their credentials taken from them; for this work God has not given to high or low among His people. God calls upon all who minister in doctrine to give the trumpet a certain sound. All who have received Christ, ministers and lay members, are to arise and shine; for great peril is right upon us. Satan is stirring the powers of earth. Everything in the world is in confusion. God calls upon His people to hold aloft the banner bearing the message of the third angel. We are not to go to Christ through any human being, but through Christ we are to understand the work He has given us to do for others. FE 483.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, 286

1 John 2:5, 6: “But whoso keepeth His word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him. He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.” 1T 286.1

1 Peter 2:9: “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1T 286.2

As we read the word of God, how plain it appears that His people are to be peculiar and distinct from the unbelieving world around them. Our position is interesting and fearful; living in the last days, how important that we imitate the example of Christ, and walk even as He walked. “If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” The opinions and wisdom of men must not guide or govern us. They always lead away from the cross. The servants of Christ have neither their home nor their treasure here. Would that all of them could understand that it is only because the Lord reigns that we are even permitted to dwell in peace and safety among our enemies. It is not our privilege to claim special favors of the world. We must consent to be poor and despised among men, until the warfare is finished and the victory won. The members of Christ are called to come out and be separate from the friendship and spirit of the world; their strength and power consists in being chosen and accepted of God. 1T 286.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 577

The evil will not end here. The influence affects not only the patients, but the workers as well. When the barriers are once broken down, step after step is taken in the wrong direction. Satan presents flattering worldly prospects to those who will depart from principle and sacrifice integrity and Christian honor to gain the approbation of the ungodly. His efforts are too often successful. He gains the victory where he should meet with repulse and defeat. 4T 577.1

Christ resisted Satan in our behalf. We have the example of our Saviour to strengthen our weak purposes and resolves; but, notwithstanding this, some will fall by Satan's temptations, and they will not fall alone. Every soul that fails to obtain the victory carries others down through his influence. Those who fail to connect with God, and to receive wisdom and grace to refine and elevate their own lives, will be judged for the good they might have done but failed to perform because they were content with earthliness of mind and friendship with the unsanctified. 4T 577.2

All heaven is interested in the salvation of man and is ready to pour upon him her beneficent gifts if he will comply with the conditions Christ has made: “Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean.” 4T 577.3

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