Two Different People
A lot of people believe the Apostle Paul was intolerant and old fashioned because he taught against things like sex outside of marriage, homosexuality, and Christians marrying non-Christians. But, the Apostle Paul simply taught the truths God wanted him to teach. The truths Paul taught in his thirteen epistles in the New Testament were not designed to hurt people, but to help people live healthy, productive, God honoring lives. For example, when Paul (led by the Holy Spirit) commanded Christians not to marry non-Christians in 2nd Corinthians chapter six, he did so because Christians and non-Christians are two very different people with very different perspectives, core values, and life goals.
“Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”” 2 Corinthians 6:14–18 NLT
Obviously, most non-Christians would not describe themselves as Paul describes them in 2nd Corinthians 6:14-18, but that is because they are not looking at themselves like God is looking at them. God sees unbelievers (people who have not received Jesus as their Lord and Savior) as dead spiritually because of their many trespasses and sins. (See Romans 3:10-18; 5:6-11; Ephesians 2:1-3). God sees Christians and non-Christians as very different people. According to 2nd Corinthians 6:14-18…
- Christians seek righteousness; non-Christians seek wickedness.
- Christians want to live in the light; non-Christians want to live in the darkness.
- Christians desire to live for Christ; non-Christians live for the devil.
- Christians believe Jesus is their Lord and Savior; non-Christians do not believe Jesus is their Lord and Savior.
- Christians are the spiritual temple of God; non-Christians serve idols.
The word translated team in 2nd Corinthians6:14 comes from the word yoke. In Bible days, a farmer would put a large piece of molded wood called a yoke across the backs of two oxen to harness them together. The oxen were yoked together so they could share the plow’s weight as it ripped through the soil. Farmers knew they could only plow straight furrows in their fields if they had two oxen that were the same size and strength who wanted to move in the same direction.
As a pastor/marriage counselor of many years, I can tell you that Christian/non-Christian marriages seldom last, and those that do last, always involve some unwanted compromises. Most of the Christian/non-Christian marriages I have seen have a lot of frustration and disappointment because the two people in the marriage are constantly pulling in different directions. For this reason, I counsel Christians to only date Christians so that they do not run the risk of getting romantically attached to an unbeliever.
A Christian should not marry a non-Christian because a believer has nothing spiritually in common with an unbeliever. This is evident when you read Paul’s list of things Christians have in common in Ephesians 4:4-6. Paul said…
“For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, in all, and living through all.” Ephesians 4:4–6 NLT
What do Christians have in common spiritually? Christians are one body. This refers to the body of Christ (The Universal Church) in which each believer is immersed into by the Spirit of God (1 Cor. 12:12–31) at their conversion. Christians have one Spirit. This refers to the Holy Spirit who indwells every believer. The Holy Spirit not only guarantees Christians eternal inheritance in heaven, but He also empowers Christians to live Godly lives (Eph. 1:13-14). Christians have one hope. This refers to the confidence all believers have of their eternal future with God in heaven (Eph. 1:4, 18; 2:7; 4:1; 1st Peter 1:3; 3:15). Christians serve one Lord. This, of course, refers to our Lord Jesus Christ who lives spiritually in all Christians and will one day return and rapture Christians to Heaven. Christians hold to one faith. This refers to the body of truth passed from Christ to His apostles who then passed it to the Church. All Christians are called to defend the Christian faith, which is defined in the Bible (2nd Tim. 2:2; Jude 3). Christians have submitted to one baptism. This refers to water baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Christian baptism identifies a believer with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. Christians worship one God and Father. This refers to God the Father and His relationship to all believers (John 1:12; Gal. 3:26). Paul emphasizes God is our Father and we are His children many times in Ephesians (Eph. 1:3, 17; 2:18; 3:14; 5:20).
Do you see why Paul wants Christians to only marry Christians? Christians have a great deal in common! Christians spiritually make up the body of Christ. They are indwelt by one Spirit who daily guides and empowers them. Christians live with one hope – the confidence of eternal life in heaven. Christians live under the rule of one Lord – the Lord Jesus Christ who died was buried and rose again for their sins. Christians live by one faith – the truths taught by Christ and His apostles. Christians submit to one baptism, which shows the world what they believe and who they are following. And, Christians worship and pray to one Heavenly Father who has promised to take care of all their needs.
If you’re considering marriage, or you are looking to improve your marriage, I encourage you to purchase my book The 10 Habits of Magnificent Marriages. It is available through Amazon.