Before I begin the post today, I am grateful to my daughter in law, Holly, who is teaching me about blogging etiquette. She told me that my posts are too long and that more people would read them regularly if I shortened them. Thanks so much, Holly. Remember a month ago I didn’t know what a blog was. Now I am a blogger!
To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother had a wife who is an unbeliever and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman who has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. Wife, how do you know whether you will save your husband? Husband, how do you know whether you would save your wife? (I Corinthians 7:12-16)
Divorce is rampant today, even among believers. In many cases, divorce seems to be the easy way out of a troubled marriage. But we must always remember that marriage is sacred to God.
In our passage today, Paul is addressing the problem of a married couple in which a believer is married to an unbeliever. This problem may exist for several reasons. First, the couple married when they should not have. That is, one partner was a believer and the other was an unbeliever. God’s instructions are very clear that a believer must not marry an unbeliever. The obvious reason is that there will be two very different sets of beliefs, values, and perhaps lifestyles present in the marriage relationship.
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness: What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? (II Corinthians 6:14-15)
Second, one partner may have become a believer since the marriage began. This happens often. After the marriage takes place, one of the partners is enlightened by the Holy Spirit, regenerated and converted. He or she comes to repentance and faith. The partner is now a believer while the remaining partner is not.
Third, a believer is deceived by his or her partner. That is, one partner says he or she is a believer, may even show signs that he/she is a believer, but is unconverted. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen this in my 35 plus years of ministry. The unbelieving person gives all the right answers, seems to be a “good person,’ but, in fact, is not a believer in Christ.
This is why godly counsel is so critically important. We need to listen to others who see things we do not see. There is an old adage that says, “Love is blind” and blind it may be! Be certain; be cautious; do all you can to ensure that you are not heading toward a marriage that is one unequally yoked.
Well, enough for today. In the next post I will address the matter further. In particular, I will deal with the situation in which a believer is married to an unbeliever. What is the believer’s responsibility?
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