Friday, January 12, 2018

Christians in Marriage - Unequally Yoked

"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." (2 Corinthians 6:14-16, King James Version)

What does it mean "Unequally Yoked"?
"Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together." (Deut. 22:10 KJV)
This passage from the Old Testament reads in the NIV: "Do not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked together."
They would not be of equal strength, disposition and ability, thus the plowing of the field would be made far more difficult than was necessary. It's possible one would fall under the unequal burden. To offer an even more dramatic illustration, if a large horse and a small goat are yoked together, it is highly unlikely that the farmer will be able to plow a straight furrow in his field. His team is clearly "unequally yoked," thus one member will easily and inevitably overpower the other, with negative results!

Paul uses this picture to inform the saints from Corinth, that it is unwise, foolish and even against God's advice, to marry an unbeliever. Everyone, who does not confess that Jesus Christ is Lord and has accepted Him as his or her Saviour is an unbeliever.
Clearly, Paul is focusing on the idea of an unequal yoking. He certainly does not discourage all association with those who are outside of a relationship with Christ Jesus. This is not a passage suggesting exclusion and isolation from the world around us.
Obviously, we can't remove ourselves from association with the world about us. One day the Lord will do that for us, but that day is yet future. Until then, we are to be in the world (physically), but not of the world (spiritually). On the night of His betrayal and arrest, Jesus prayed to the Father, "I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one" (John 17:15). Paul's advice is along these same lines.
How would "Unequally Yoked" affect your Marriage?
I don't believe that marrying an unbeliever is committing a sin but certainly it is going against God's advice and therefore will have consequences. God wants always the best for His children, He has created us and knows best, what is good for us. Marriage is more than just man and woman living together, it is also a spiritual bond between two beings.
The implication is that the union of a Spirit-filled body with another human somehow carries spiritual dimensions. Therefore, the body bought by Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, should not bond with an unbeliever. Please consider the following points which speak against marrying an unbeliever:

An unbeliever is blind to spiritual things and can't see God's ways. There is a fundamental  spiritual incompatibility. (2 Cor. 6:14, 7:1, Eph. 2:1-3) 
While on a human level a believer and an unbeliever may love each other. It is like two lines meeting at a tangent or a ships crossing at sea. They are driven by such fundamentally different principles that there can be no life-long agreement. The difference is between the principles of righteousness and lawlessness, light and darkness, Christ and Belial, the temple of God and the temple of idols. The incompatibility is absolute, basic, and vast.

You are not immune - even the smartest wisest people can be led astray from God by unbelieving partners. (1 Kings 11:1-12)

A typical example is King Solomon, the son of David. God gave him wisdom, wealth and even appeared to him in dreams. However, even Solomon's heart was turned away from God by his unbelieving wives, so that in his old age he became an idol worshipper.
Marrying an unbeliever is like marrying someone with a dose of spiritual ‘flu. We keep on getting their spiritual ailments passed on to us and because we are so close to them we keep on getting "re-infected". Unfortunately goodness and virtue does not seem to be as contagious as sin and spiritual apathy. Solomon did not improve his wives - rather the reverse - he became an idol worshipper and lost his kingdom. You can be wiser than Solomon if you stick to believers when you make your choice of a marriage partner.

Believer and unbeliever have two different wave lengths. It is like two different radio stations playing to the same time.
When we hear classic music in one ear and rock music in the other ear, we will be very disturbed after a short time. There will be different view and beliefs about life style, education of children, different attitudes towards smoking, drinking, partying and worldly things in general. A unbeliever doesn't feel acountable to anyone, especially to God. 

Because the children may go astray from God (Deut 7:3,4, Neh 13:23-27)
The Lord has a real heart for children. He knows, that they copy their parents in their lives. Its not just theoretical, children do go astray, children are lost forever because of an ungodly upbringing. In Nehemiah we see a whole generation of mixed up children, unable even to speak Hebrew or Aramaic but adopting the language, culture and beliefs of the nations around them. This undoubtedly included their religious beliefs.
It leads to a lifetime of defeat (Joshua 23:11-13)
How many Christians have I seen living defeated lives because they married an unbeliever! They are so numerous. There are three stages to the catastrophe. Firstly God is no longer powerfully present and giving victory and miracles. Then there is a time of bitter frustration and pointlessness, a feeling of being trapped. Lastly everything you work for goes up in smoke there may be a foolish financial decision or an affair, alcoholism, unbelieving children, even a deception. You look back on a life that should have been prosperous and rewarding and instead you have ‘perished from the land". Look around you and see. This is not an idle threat from God. It really does happen.

Because of the pain it causes to other family members (Genesis 26:34,35, 28:6-9)
Unbelieving partners often cause real grief to the family of the Christian partner. Their ways are just not Christian ways and Satan, with his controlling strings attached to their lives, can create pain, hurt and discord through them. This puts even more strain on a marriage between a believer and an unbeliever.

What if you are already married to an unbeliever?
If you are already married to an unbeliever then you need to love him/her as best you can, set a good example of being a Christian, and pray for your spouse's salvation. You cannot leave your spouse (unless there is physical abuse, adultery, or if you are abandoned). You need to stick it out. Seek the Lord.
"But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife? (1 Corinthians 7:11-16, KJV)

If you are a re-born Christian you should be very careful in choosing a husband. Ask the Lord to help you with your choice and don't rush into something, you would later regret. 
Start slowly in developing a relationship and follow some guidelines:
          It should be someone who loves the Lord and has accepted Him as his Saviour and
         Bring the person before the Lord and ask Him for guidance
         Ask friends and your Church family for their opinion 
         Meet the family and find out what they believe, their relationship and circumstances
         Don't get too close and certainly don't have a sexual relationship
         Only meet together with friends or in public places, avoid being alone together       
        Have a regular prayer time together, including some Church friends
        Don't live together under any circumstances

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