Did God really say believers should not marry non-believers?
Yes … yes he did.
As Moses prepared the Jewish people to enter the Promised Land, God warned, “Be careful not to make a treaty with those who live in the land where you are going. If you do, those in the land will be a snare among you.” Exodus 34:12 “When you choose some of their daughters among those who live in the land, and those daughters prostitute themselves to their gods, they will lead your sons to do the same.” Exodus 34:16
God was not warning Moses that the daughters of those who worshipped pagan gods were sexually immoral. Rather, God warned that the women in the land were willing to sacrifice their talents and self-respect for personal or financial gain. In doing so, the men of God would follow the practices of the women.
God knows men struggle with lust of the flesh. Man has since Adam.
Paul wrote to Timothy, “Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.”
With full awareness and intent, Adam looked upon Eve in all her beauty and traded his relationship with God for that of the help-mate made for him. The last image Adam beheld before he turned from God towards sin was the radiant beauty of God’s final creation. He chose the creature over the Creator.
It is no wonder God warned Moses to keep his people separate. God demands that we make no accommodation for sin, not one. Even the smallest compromise leads to larger and greater sins. This is why Paul cautioned believers in Corinth, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”
Though it may seem intolerant to refuse to sign agreements, covenants, and treaties with non-believers, God knows our hearts must seek him before others. And if both hearts serve him first, then God, not the couple, is the head of the relationship. When we submit to God first, we surrender our right to be right, to be in control, to be honored. When we submit to God first, we become a servant of others, “submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” Ephesians 5:21.
At its core, sin is my claim to rights as a person. We demand respect and to be recognized for our accomplishments, all the things to which God alone is worthy. The nature of sin is fulfillment of one’s own desire and will. It is our pride which leads us to say, “I am my own god and I demand to be …”
Only with Christ as our Lord can we love as he loves us.
Paul gave us an example of an equally-yoked relationship. “Husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Ephesians 5:22 & 25 “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. As the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.” Ephesians 5:22 & 24
May we strive to follow God’s instructions for Godly relationships.
“Lord, help me to love my wife with the same love you have for her. And may she love me with the same love you have for me. And may we both love you above all else. Amen.”