Singing Off Key
2Cor. 6:15 What agreement does Christ have with Beliar? Or what does a believer share with an unbeliever?
This verse is found in the middle of the section where Paul talks about being unequally yoked. The scripture is usually utilized when talking about marriage and dating relationships (at least it was in my life!). However, this reaches beyond the idea of marital relationships and speaks to the way in which we live our lives.
The word here “agreement” comes from the Greek word symphoneisis, the root of which gives us the word symphony. Just imagine the beautiful music which is created when the symphony begins to play. However, before they ever play they tune up so that they are all playing exactly in the same key. One person plays the note and all the rest tune up to this note so that the music is harmonious and produces a sound which is glorious.
The vision of this verse is of two people who sing in different keys. This is a sound which is literally painful to the ears. It’s like fingernails on a chalkboard. It makes you cringe!
This is what happens if Christ and Beliar are playing music at the same time. Who is Beliar? This is a name for Satan but the name actually is more of a description of behaviors. It is a transliteration of the Hebrew word for worthlessness or wickedness. The Greek translation of the Old Testament (Septuagint) translates the word as transgressor, impious, foolish, or pest. Therefore, living a life of foolishness, or wickedness is like singing a song in a different key from the life in Christ.
This is an intentional singing off key! This is the anti-Christ, for the behavior of this type of unbeliever is one that is deliberate about creating discord in the life of the believer. This is not a non-believer who has not heard about Christ, but this is the individual who feels it is their calling to work in a calculated manner to be destructive to the life of the believer. And Paul wonders why the Corinthians are hanging around with someone who is bent on their personal destruction. There is no harmony in the relationship and the music produced cannot be used for it becomes repulsive to the world as they both belt out a tune in two different keys.
If we understand this scripture passage correctly we need to understand that we are not to run from people who need to know Christ. We need to be a part of the world around us in a way that Christ was — he helped to lead people to God. At the same time he didn’t hang out with the Scribes and Pharisees who were actively discordant against his work. When there were those actively working against Jesus’ work around him, such as in his home town, his work was limited. The music was not attractive because there were those singing so loudly in another key that no one could hear the beautiful music created by Christ.
We must be discerning about those with whom we partner in life. This certainly is true when it comes to marriage. When we are married to someone who is an active non-believer, who is openly against our faith in Jesus Christ, there will be a lifetime of bad music! It doesn’t work.
When we try to have business partnerships with those who are actively working against the kingdom of God we will discover many a sour note. Just like the fingernails on the chalkboard there will be times when we can barely stand the dissonance that is created.
Does this mean that we do not love these individuals and we do not pray for them? No! On the contrary Jesus prayed for and died for those who had persecuted him. But at the same time he went to places where he was able to do his work and ministry without continual disruption.
This is really about discernment. May God give us his wisdom and the ability to perceive the heart of those with whom we partner in life for his kingdom work. The result will be a beautiful tune which is played artfully and clearly. At the same time, may we be willing to minister and reach out to those who may be playing a different tune.
Lord, please help me to play your tune today. Amen.