February 1, 1987 Issue

By Andrew Ong

In the following article I do not propose to consider every aspect or ramification of marriage, but rather to stress the importance of Christians uniting in matrimony with those of "like precious faith". (II Peter 11)

Life is composed of various and sundry relationships. When persons are baptized into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt 28:1 9), they are baptized into a divine relationship which is the supreme relationship. Since it is possible to enter into such an unholy marriage relationship that it will be EXCEEDINGLY difficult for one to live the Christian life, proper marriage becomes all the more important.


There are many reasons why Christians MUST marry Christians. The Bible stresses "ONENESS" in marriage, but when a Christian marries an unbeliever, "oneness" is sadly lacking in the most important area--the spiritual area! In marriage, two are to become one. The Bible says that two cannot walk together unless they are agreed (Amos 3:3). There must therefore be oneness, similarity, and agree meant to a large extent if marriage is to be successful. If oneness does not exist in the spiritual realm, it is useless to look for it elsewhere.

Next to the salvation of your soul, the most important decision that you have to make in life is that of choosing your life-partner. You cannot afford to make a mistake here, for this is one decision in life which once made can never be reversed. If you have chosen the wrong vocation, you may be able to correct the error. Similarly, you may correct many other decisions in life, but if you have married outside the Will of God, you can never correct your error; you can only try and make the best of a wrong choice. It is a tragedy to miss Gods will in marriage. Many who married in haste without awaiting Gods time or seeking His Will are now repenting at leisure! Surely their example is a warning to young people to tread cautiously in this realm.

In Ephesians 2:1, Paul plainly taught that an unbeliever is dead in trespasses and sins. Since the living cannot be united with the dead, there should be no question of a believer even considering marriage with an unbeliever! If you are joined to the Lord, your spirit is now one with His (I Cor 6:17). You can therefore consider marriage only with one who is similarly united to the Lord. It takes a union between the man, the woman, and the Lord to make a truly Christian marriage. Any thing less than this can never be called a Christian marriage.

The Bible commands us, "DO NOT BE UNEQUALLY YOKED UPON WITH UNBELIEVERS-do not make mismated alliances with

them" (II Cor 6:14). The yoke is a very clear symbol of marriage. The picture is of two oxen pulling a plow together symbolizing husband and wife united and working together for the Lord. In the Old Testament, Gods people were forbidden to plow with an ox and an ass together (Deut 22:10) because these two animals had different natures. The Christian too has a different nature from the unbeliever. Hence the Bible also says, "How can light and darkness share life together? How can there be harmony between Christ and the Devil? What can a believer have in common with an unbeliever?" (II Cor 6:14-15 JBP).


It is obvious that if you as a child of God marry an unbeliever (who is a child of the Devil-John 8:44, I Jn 3:10), your father-in-law will be the DEVIL HIMSELF!! With such a father-in-law, you can be sure of endless trouble for the rest of your life. In any case, a Christian who marries an unbeliever, does so in clear violation of the command of the Scripture and in outright disobedience to the Lord. It would therefore be presumption on his or her part to ask God to bless the wedding. The Lord will never, under any circumstances, sanction the marriage of a child of His to a child of His enemy, the Devil!

Another important reason why Christians must marry Christians is that an unbeliever does not recognize the significance of the Lords work, the "furtherance of the gospel", and the Church. When one partner is a Christian and the other is not, this couple cannot in any way worship and serve God in spirit and in truth TOGETHER. Their attitudes toward God and His eternal verities are not the same. Those thus united cannot pray together (remember, "A family that prays together, stays together"), they cannot train up their children together, they cannot do personal work together, etc. Most of us agree, for example, that a gospel preacher could not do his best work if married to an unbeliever. We must remember, however, that all Christians are to be servants of the Lord. it is obvious that the effectiveness of any Christian in serving the Lord is greatly injured by a nonbelieving spouse.

A brother in Christ who marries an unbeliever still has a responsibility to bring up his children in the "nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Eph 6:4). (Some translations render this "discipline and instruction".) Many fathers in this situation fail to do so because of the religious differences with their wives. The same is just as true of sisters in Christ who marry outside the Lord. Sometime ago, I was told of a teenage girl whose parents differ religiously. They had agreed several years ago to not bring up the question of religion in their home, and eventually both stopped attending church services. The girl indicated that she had a great desire to study the Bible and attend services, but that she would not because both parents were in such disagreement. Such discord will bring hardship to any home.

Those contemplating marrying outside the Lord, must recognize the fact that their children will be affected. There is a risk that the children may be led into religious error by an unbelieving companion. Children are affected adversely when one parent fails to go to church and encourages them to do likewise. Remember, God did not intend that it be this way.



Some Christians contend that if one marries an unbeliever, he can thereby save a soul from Hell. If this argument were a valid one, surely an all-wise God would have urged all Christians to marry unbelievers! Why hasn't He done so? Surely because He never intended marriage to be a method of saving souls! No one can expect the Lord to support him if he adopts such an unscriptural soul-winning (?) scheme. If ones partner is not converted prior to marriage, it is unlikely that he or she will be thereafter. Also, there is a chance that the unbeliever will drag the Christian back into the world! Why risk marital failure, a lack of a Bible-centered environment for ones children, and the loss of ones soul by such a union?

Consider the case when a true New Testament Christian marries a member of a denomination. One spouse gives support to the gospel of Christ which teaches the essentiality of baptism, the Church, and Christian living. The other supports the dogma of salvation at the point of faith only, the unimportance of the church, and the impossibility of apostasy. In such cases, the home atmosphere cannot be ideal. A genuine Christian, recognizing the importance of the promulgation of Gods scheme of redemption, cannot help but hate every false way (Psalms 119:104). Yet, the one whom the Christian loves most dearly is guilty of supporting false doctrine.



What should parents do to prevent this problem? The answer is simple: People marry the ones they date. Thus, children should be taught from the beginning the importance of marriage, and the necessity of dating those who are Christians. The safest thing to do is to refuse to get emotionally involved with any unconverted person at any time. Parents have the awesome responsibility of teaching their children to marry only in the Lord.


In conclusion, all Christians need to meditate upon the fact that one purpose of marriage is to assist ones companion in reaching the celestial city of God. Christians should recognize the supremacy of the divine relation ship. One should not enter a marriage that is likely to cause his divine relationship to deteriorate. Too much is at stake for a Christian to be unified with a non christian. No faithful Christian would ever want to have THE DEVIL AS HIS OR HER FATHER-IN-LAW!

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