Under what conditions can a Christian associate with the world?
In II Corinthians 6:14-15 we read: "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness... or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?"
This scripture is generally taken to mean that a Christian and a non-Christian should not marry. But this same principle that applies to marriage would also apply to any close relationship or partnership that one might enter.
A Christian should never include non-Christians as his bosom friends, even though he should love all men. This does not mean that a Christian cannot have any dealings with one who isn't a Christian, "for then must ye need go out of the world" (I Cor. 5:10).
Christ said: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). Christians are supposed to be "the salt of the earth... the light of the world" (Matt. 5:13, 14). But at the same time we are to come out of this Babylonish civilization referred to as "this present evil world" (Gal. 1:4), established by men under the sway of the Devil. "Wherefore come out from among them (the people of the world), and be ye separate, saith the Lord..." (II Cor. 6:17; Rev. 18:4).
The teaching of the Bible, when all of the scriptures are put together, is that we are to go into the world, but that we are not to become a part of the world and its Babylonish societies, customs and traditions. God's plagues will fall on those who will not renounce this present evil world (Rev. 18:4).
Any Christian who yokes himself unequally with an unbeliever — whether in marriage or in a business partnership — is certainly treading on dangerous ground.
There are some "unequally yoked" marriages, and Christian and non-Christian partnerships that have succeeded. But how much more successful would they have been had they been yoked together with those of like faith!
Practically every person with whom you come in contact influences you to some degree. It is important, therefore, that you wisely choose your associates. Remember, "a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump" (I Cor. 5:6).
If, however, you are already unequally yoked with an unbeliever in a harmonious partnership which does not interfere with your Christian life or growth, you may continue until God makes it possible to do otherwise. Whenever such a relationship develops to the place where you are not able to obey God and grow in grace and knowledge as you must, then, you should "obey God rather than men" and be prepared to immediately sever your association in such a partnership!