For an introduction to this series, click here.
Paul continues the theme of keeping an eye on the eternal while living in a temporal world. He says a lot of ironic things, but they make sense in context:
"We put no obstacle in anyone's way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry, but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; knowledge, patience, kindness, by purity, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything." (6:3-10)
In the eyes of the world, Paul lived a terrible life. Some may admire his dedication as we admire anyone who lives their life in devotion to a cause, but there can be no denial of the fact that Paul definitely lived his life with eternity in view. He did not care about the trouble he went through, as long as the gospel was preached and he was a part of it.
The last part of this chapter deals with bad relationships with unbelievers:
"Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, 'I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.'" (6:14-18, ESV)
We use this passage primarily to prove that a saved person should not marry a lost person, and of course that is a proper and reasonable application of the verse. But this passage goes farther than that. It has to do with close friendships as well as probably business relationships. I think it certainly has to do with church members who are not truly born again and give signs of that fact regularly. Of course this does not mean acquaintances or co-workers, because you would have to close your life off almost completely if you can’t know people who are unbelievers. Just because there is someone at work who is an unbeliever doesn't mean you need to go to their house on a regular basis and chew the fat with them. And if you are in a close business relationship with someone who is unethical and a cheater, at some point you are going to have to either confront them or they will fire you or cut you out or you will be tempted to go along with their sinful business activities. And of course it goes without saying that if you are saved, you are very foolish to marry an unbeliever. There will be endless conflicts, just because they will not understand the things you do as a Christian.