2 Corinthians 6:17-18
“Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE,” says the Lord.
“AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And 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.
This passage sounds like conditional acceptance, as though we have to purify ourselves before we can come to God. “You have to separate yourself from the pollution of the world before God will accept you. You have to watch how you live or your Father may reject you.” Which is a wicked thing to say to the dearly-loved children of God.
If Paul is preaching conditional acceptance, he is contradicting himself when he preaches unconditional acceptance in Romans 15:7. The good news is that Christ accepts you just as you are. Christian, you are a dearly-loved child of God (Rom. 8:15-16).
Paul is quoting Old Testament scriptures to make a new covenant point, which is this: We don’t purify ourselves to become God’s children. Rather, we purify ourselves because we are his children. Like the other New Testament writers, Paul encourages us to be holy because in Christ we are holy (1 Pet. 1:15, 1 John 3:2-3). He’s saying, “Be who you truly are. You are God’s dearly-loved children, so act like it.”
Further reading: “Conditional acceptance?”
The Grace Commentary is a reader-funded website. Got something to say about the commentary? Please use the Feedback page. To report typos or broken links or give feedback on this specific page, please use the comment form below.