Do Not Marry an Unbeliever
Last time we talked about people finding themselves in marriage with an unbeliever because they have been converted to faith in Christ. Sometimes the texts speaking to this circumstance are used to justify entering marriage with an unbeliever. Watch out. Young people and parents alike should take heed. This is a trap which takes future generations away from the church and away from Christ. The evidence is all around us.
The requirements of the Bible are also abundantly clear.
When the Lord your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, and clears away many nations before you…and when the Lord your God delivers them before you and you defeat them, then you shall utterly destroy them. You shall make no covenant with them and show no favor to them. Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods; then the anger of the Lord will be kindled against you and He will quickly destroy you (Deuteronomy 7:1-4).
God commanded the people of Israel never to marry anyone outside their covenant community. “You shall make no covenant with them.” Marriage is a covenant, a covenant of companionship. God designed marriage to reflect the love He has for His people. Marriage with someone who is not savingly united to Christ cannot reflect this love. Therefore, “You shall not intermarry with them.” In addition, marriage to a person who is not united to Christ in a saving way is a repudiation of the more vital relationship with God through Christ. It is an open statement that the relationship with God ought to take a back seat to the human relationship of marriage. Since this is the case, God warns, “They will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods.” The first step away from God is to rebuff the command not to marry an unbeliever and to overtly violate this command by uniting with someone outside of Christ. This one sin is bound to lead to others.
Does the Old Testament command refer to New Testament believers? Indeed it does. “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14). The most intimate binding of two persons in fellowship and companionship is marriage. If there is not fundamental fellowship or communion with Christ in a marriage, fellowship must take place on a different level. Should the believer’s most intimate companionship be with darkness? Paul instructs widows in like manner. “A wife is bound as long as her husband lives; but if her husband is dead, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 7:39). Marry “only in the Lord.” Do not unite with someone who is in darkness in the most intimate of human relationships.
But the Bible says, “Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4). I will not be pulled away from Christ if I marry this unbeliever whom I love. It is silly and arrogant for any of us to think we can ignore God’s warnings. In addition, the Spirit which is stronger than the world follows God’s commands. We are deceived if we think the Spirit of God will give us strength to enter a circumstance which is a clear violation of God’s will. God’s Word stands; do not marry an unbeliever.