In the Apostle’s Paul’s writing on how the Christian is to walk in love (Eph. 5:1-7), he ends with two commands in verses 6-7 in light of the consequences of the sins of verses 3-5. The first is don’t be deceived into sin (Let no man deceive you with vain words, v. 6a).
Second, don’t be a partaker of sin (Be not ye therefore partakers with them, v. 7). The Greek behind partakers (summetochos) is the same word we studied back in 3:6: “That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.” The root is metochos, meaning partaking of something or participating in something. It’s also used to speak of a partner, as in Luke 5:7, where Peter and the others in his boat had so many fish in their net that “they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship, that they should come and help them.” When the prefix sun is added, which means “together, together with,” implying a close connection, the idea is intensified that we are “partners together,” reemphasizing the closeness of the relationship. So, Paul is telling us that we must never be partners together with sin or with those who are involved in sin.
Paul elaborated on this principle to the Corinthians, who were notorious for their partnership with sinful behavior: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” (II Cor. 6:14-17).
The word “fellowship” is again metochos, partnership. Paul’s first metaphor, of course, is based upon Deuteronomy 22:10 (cf. Lev. 19:19), which commanded not to yoke together an ox and a donkey for plowing because of the obvious reason that their “walk” is different, that is, their step and pull is uneven. Paul’s point, then, is clear. The Believer and the unbeliever “walk” differently, that is, they are totally different in every way—actions, attitudes, philosophies, goals, and destiny. They must, therefore, never be “yoked” together in circumstances that require agreement, such as marriage, close friendship, business partnerships, lodges, or anything else. Just as light and darkness, Christ and Satan, and God’s Temple and idols, are all opposites, so is the Christian and the non-Christian. We are never to “partner” with sin.
Man’s words are empty, and Paul warns us to not be lured into believing man’s philosophies or committing man’s deeds. Oh, let us not allow ourselves to be lured into Satan’s counterfeit!