“I don’t think it’s wrong that I date or marry this person who is not a follower of Christ. I am convinced God wants me to marry this person.”
Have you not heard these words before? Have you said these words or felt them yourself?
Indeed, what is wrong if a follower of Christ falls in love with someone who is not? Probably this non-believer is a very good friend… someone who understands you like almost no one else can. They are compatible with you, have a very good-nature and in their behaviour, they even beat Christians! So, is it wrong to date a non-Christian like that?
Probably as a Christian, you wonder if the Bible is silent on this matter. What does God’s Word have to say about a question that is more relevant in our churches than we think?
There are very good Biblical resources that address this topic better than I can. I would still like to point out certain things to the genuine follower of Christ with factors that play out in the prevalent Indian culture. Before that-
1) I will address marriage only between a man and a woman, the only valid marriage in the Bible.
2) For convenience, I will respond as if the man is the believer and the woman is not. Please feel free to read this from the other side.
3) I have nothing against your love-interest personally. I am certain she too is made in God’s image and is probably a fun person to be with.
You are not obliged to not marry her if you yourself have no relationship with the Lord Jesus.
You may be a pastor’s child, a missionary yourself or a “worship” leader. But only the Lord and you will know if you really trust not in any deeds of yours but in Jesus’ death to rescue you from the penalty of your sins. If you have not experienced the joy and love that Holy Spirit brings when one becomes a child of God, there is no shame in admitting that.
After all we can’t create this salvation experience, God gives it as an undeserving gift. Let’s not fake what none of us here can ever earn.
But, that means I will plead with you to consider Him to be your first love more than anyone else, but unfortunately we digress.
Trusting Jesus and obeying the Bible must come above your love-interest.
2 Cor 6:14, 1 Cor 15:33 – “Yoking”, or coming into a partnership, when done with non-believers, is indeed a sad affront to the Lord who is our Father and has called us to live like His Son Jesus- to not participate in the deeds of the spiritually dead.
When I was a sinner, I could never create holiness in me. The same holds for any non-Christian, including the girl you are dating. If 1Cor 15:33 is true, then how much more should such corrupting company be avoided in the deepest, most intimate relationship among people- marriage!
Please step back and think -A momentary decision will make a person your life-long partner.
Deut 7:3-4 – This is just one instance in the Old Testament where the Lord commands his people to not marry those who have faith, not in the living God, but elsewhere. God knows the damage we can do to ourselves and these are loving commands for God’s glory and for our everlasting joy.
Gen 2:21-22 – God the Spiritual Father, conducted the first-ever marriage, between Adam and Eve. Yes, this was a state prior to the fall, but have we failed to notice that both were His spiritual children? This may not be without significance.
Parental or peer pressure is no Biblical grounds to validate marriage to a non-Christian.
You may have heard it said,“the Bible tells us to honour and obey parents (Ephesians6:1-2). So if they want you to get married, you need to trust God and obey them. They have lost their sleep and are almost in sick-bed because of your disobedience”.
I do not have anything against parents. God used my non-believing parents to make me who I am today. I am grateful for them. And the best thing I can do for them, is to obey God the Father, the perfect parent and the one who placed my parents in authority over me.
Often parents (both Christians and non-Christians) sin by selecting the partner for their “children”, based on their preferred caste, colour, educational background or social status. It is ugly that Christ would embrace lepers and prostitutes but Christians succumb to “the traditions of men” (Matt 15:1-3).
I remember the times when Valentine’s Days would pass by with failed attempts piling up every year. The sight of boy-friends and girl-friends is sure to bother you- it did me too.
Does not your God see that? Is He a hard, unloving Father who has not been extremely good to your soul?
But O Christian, have you forgotten the searing separation of Jesus from God His Only Father, for your sins and mine? How does that compare with the money spent on you and the decades of sweat our parents spent for us? Dare we compare?
God forbid! Remember the gospel you have forgotten, let your soul hear over and over how deeply has God loved you when you deserved hell all the while (1 John 3:1, 1 Peter 1:2-4, Romans 8:31-32).
You need to plan and lovingly communicating the love and commitment Jesus has for you, which forms your basis for your obedience to Him. Some parents might need to hear the tough fact that God is in total control of their children.
If you truly love your parents, the last thing you should be doing is make idols out of the very ones who raised you up.
No, the Bible will NOT show verses which show you “she is the one”.
The Bible was never meant to do that.
No task gives the right to anyone to re-interpret what verses mean. Yes, Boaz married Ruth but to say this means you can marry someone who is not a Christ-follower would have appalled both Boaz and Ruth and certainly appalls Jesus. We need to ask what the original intention of the verse or passage was. Otherwise, we insult God the Holy Spirit who inspired the Bible and grieve Him.
I have elaborated this here, but Tim Challies does a better job here.
“But I know another pastor who said it is OK for me to marry her because God will make her a Christian.”
I must say lovingly , this “pastor” is either lying to you and is guilty of misleading God’s people, or they are Biblically ignorant. In these times we will hear pastors, voices, songs (I have!) and every thing around us “conspiring” to make this happen. But we will always find people who will teach what we LOVE to hear.
But it is sweet poison, that ensures the ruin of our spiritual intimacy with Christ.
But she has started coming to my church!
Since when does going to church make ANYONE a Christian?
Regular at church? CHECK.
Bible studies? YES.
Mission trip? YES.
But if she doesn’t know what it means to trust in Christ for their sins and to love Him above all, Bhaag, Milkha, Bhaag!
These are tough yet loving words, but flee the temptation to marry someone because they seem “Christian”.
Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than going to McDonald’s makes you a hamburger! – Keith Green
Why should this person NOT be someone who loves and obeys the Lord Jesus, whom you claim to love? How will you expect her to help you (and your kids) spiritually when she adores not your amazing Saviour, Jesus? If you love God’s people, is this decision an encouragement to your local church and her mission?
I am hoping the Spirit is convicting you. I appeal to you to pause, take time, put that engagement on hold (it will be worth it), talk to God and meet with Christian leaders and friends who you know will be true to the Bible and to you. Our Lord will not leave you without help.
But she cannot live without me. You DON’T understand the pain if I say no to her after all these years.
Actually, I might understand a tad bit. Years ago, I sinned by entering into a relationship with a girl from another church. I totally disregarded Godly advice – I knew she was not a believer and still went ahead. Mercifully, God intervened through friends and I managed to pull out of the relationship but not without causing her immense pain and betrayal.
I realise now that never did I truly love her. I had just loved myself.
But.. thank God! That girl is now married happily to someone else. And I am the husband of a wife I am so glad to have found. The story is not over, if you are to trust God. But make no mistake, you definitely need to apologise to her for your foolishness.
You were never called to be her Rescuer. Point her to Christ- he is the Savour. Please do not let a soul idolise you.
Are you a Christ-follower who has married a non-Christian already? Then, this article could leave you defensive and in pain. You probably know the troubles that are flowing into your married life – the vast differences, the lack of spiritual support and what not – all because of one decision of selfish sin. But you can write in to warn others who take now the same step of costly disobedience you once thought was OK.
I claim to be no better than you. Please take heart. God longs to be gracious to you and your family. Maybe it is time to repent, go to the Cross to witness the love that will satisfy your heart, long-term.
If you have questions, please write to aravind(at the rate)margfamilies(dot)com.
My Christian friend just got engaged to a non-Christian.