Choosing a Mate
Ray F. Dively
Every since God had a chosen people he has forbidden his people to marry those of the world. In the Old Testament the Jewish nation were his chosen people (Deuteronomy 7:6). Today the Christians are his chosen people (II Corinthians 6:16-18, 1 Peter 2:9).
Jesus said, "From the beginning it hath not been so" (Matthew 19:8). Therefore we must go to the Old Testament, as well as the New Testament, to read of God's moral laws of marriage. God has given divine laws for his children in every dispensation.
Before the flood God's people disregarded God's laws of marriage, for "The sons of God's took wives such of them as they chose" (Genesis 6:2). As the result of these unholy marriages the people became very evil. And God destroyed all but eight souls by the flood (Genesis 6:1-8).
In the Mosaic age God also forbade his people from marrying those who were not among his chosen (Deuteronomy 7:1-4; Joshua 23:12-13), "Because they will turn them away from following God" (Deuteronomy 7:4). This also applies today.
The people of Israel did marry those with whom God had forbidden and it was a sin against God. Ezra commanded them to put away their forbidden wives (Ezra 9 and 10). Nehemiah also condemned the Jewish people for marrying outside the Jewish nation (Nehemiah 13:22-31).
In this Christian age, Christians are forbidden from marrying those who are not Christians. We are to be sanctified from other people, holy unto God.
As Christians we are "Not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship have righteousness and iniquity? Or what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what portion hath a believer with an unbeliever" (II Corinthians 6:1415)? In the early days of Christianity there was but "one Faith" (Ephesians 4:5) spoken of in the New Testament as the common salvation (Jude 3). All those who refused to embrace the "one faith" were called "unbelievers", and the Lord forbade Christians to marry them. How could a Christian be more unequally yoked together than being married to a non-Christian?
In I Corinthians 7:12-16, Paul gives command from the Lord to those already married before they became Christians. When a person is converted to Christ and his mate is not converted, they are to remain together, unless the unbelieving mate makes it intolerable for them to serve God.
The apostle Paul states in I Corinthians 9:5; "Have we no right to lead about a wife that is a believer, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?" (ASV) In the King James Version instead of believers it has sister. If Paul were to marry he had to marry a believer, a sister in Christ. Paul is telling us we must marry in the Lord.
"A wife is bound for so long as her husband liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is free to marry to whom she will; only in the Lord." (I Corinthians 7:39). This prohibits the widow marrying one who is not a Christian. I know no reason why a widow should be more restricted as to whom she may marry than a person who has never been married.
The Old and New Testaments tell us that it is and has always been a sin to marry out of the Lord.
There are many problems which result in a mixed marriage (Christian and non-Christian) because the Christian disobeys God. A mixed marriage seeks to join together two people who can never really belong to each other. For the Christian loves and serves God while the unbelieving mate does not. If the Christian continues to serve God, they will always live in two different worlds. Jesus said when you marry "the two shall become one flesh". How can this be in a mixed marriage when the Christian serves the Lord and his unbelieving mate does not?
Children in a mixed marriage are going to get hurt in one way or other. The children are forced to choose sides between the two people who are the dearest to them. Often the children are left to decide which religion (father's or mother's) they may follow. In many cases, the non-Christian mate insists the children go to his church. A Christian parent is commanded to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).
Then there is always the danger of the Christian forsaking Christ and His church. Statistics have proven the majority of Christians in a mixed marriage leave the church.
In the mixed marriage where the Christian does not leave the church, great harm is also being done. In many cases they are doing even greater damage, by undermining it from within, whether they realize it or not.
Do not unite yourselves with unbelievers (non-Christians); they are not fit mates for you. What ever you do, do not get yourself unequally yoked together with an unbeliever non-Christian) in holy marriage! Jesus said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments" (John 14:15).
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XV: 22, pp. 7-8