2 Corinthians 7:1 (KJV)
1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
What promises? What is Paul referring to when he says "Having therefore these promises"...?
He is referring to what he said in the previous chapter when addressing the Corinthian church. Notice, Paul is talking to a church. The church at Corinth...look what he told them in chapter 6...
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (KJV)
14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 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.
17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
Wow...look at these promises God is giving to the Corinthian church. Isn't God awesome. He promised "to dwell in them and walk in them and to be their God, and they would be His people"...He goes on to say He would be a Father to them and they would be His sons and daughters. It doesn't get any better than that, does it?
No, but it does come with a price...Paul said we are not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers...mainly because people who are walking in righteousness and holiness have nothing in common with unbelievers. You just can't mix light and darkness. If you try, as soon as the light shines in it, darkness is no longer darkness. He goes on to add "what agreement hath the temple of God with idols" and then states "ye are the temple of the living God." He finishes by adding "come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you."
We, as God's church, cannot even begin to blend in with the rest of the world. Paul was addressing a church that had been established for several years, letting them know God required more of them than He did of those that were in the world. He asks them specifically what agreement has God's temple (our bodies) with idols (those who worship their flesh are considered in the same category as idol worshipers by God)...
Romans 1:18-25 (KJV)
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
Paul is addressing people who still know truth or claim to be walking in truth, but yet they want to live their own lifestyle without righteousness (right living). Paul says that God's wrath is revealed against them. He goes on to say the invisible things of God are clearly seen in the Spirit, so they have no excuse to walk in darkness while professing the light. Paul says that the problem is that when they knew God, rather than being thankful towards God for truth, they allowed their imaginations to prevail, and their heart was darkened to the point where they actually began to make other things their Gods. God in His wrath gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, and they ended up turning the truth of
God into a lie in order to worship and serve themselves (the creature) rather than the God of glory who created them.
People turn aside from holiness because they have not rebelled against some preacher or church doctrine, but against the very God from whom those doctrines exist. To be self-serving is to be selfish to the point of actually putting God on the back burner, so to speak. A person who walks in true righteousness and holiness has made up their mind that God is first in their lives, not themselves. they have realized the importance of having a relationship with God, and are willing to "come out from among them" (the people who walk in unrighteousness) and be separated from the world. They have a resolve to not touch the unclean things of the world, but rather to "seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. They have cleansed themselves from "all filthiness of the flesh and spirit". In other words, their attitude is as holy as their dress. These are they who are at work "perfecting holiness in the fear of God".