Thursday, November 8, 2012

Is it a Sin for a Christian to Marry and Non-Christian?

This is an important question to ask. Besides the commitment to become a Christian, marriage is likely the 2nd greatest commitment one will make in their life. When attempting to answer this question, most people immediately quote (2 Corinthians 6:14) which states:
 "Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?" (NASB 95).
Before answering the question about a Christian marrying a Non-Christian, let's first research the verse usually applied to this question and see whether or not it applies.

It seems the main idea of this passage is for one to be separated from sin (such as those in Corinth who were preaching false doctrine and questioning Paul's apostleship). 

The key to the passage begins in verse 17 with the word "THEREFORE". Here Paul is giving the conclusion of his argumentation. His conclusion is from Isaiah 52 with the idea of "separating yourself" from the ungodly. If he was talking about marriage, the only way this passage could be applied would be by divorcing ones unbelieving spouse. THIS WOULD BE A DIRECT VIOLATION of Paul's previous teaching in (1 Cor 7:12) where he tells the believing spouse to stay with the unbeliever.

 Paul cannot be referring to the marriage relationship in this passage because his conclusion would contradict a previous conclusion in another passage. So what I believe Paul is referring to, is for us to separate ourselves from immorality, false teaching and pagan practices. Makes sense when considering the context.

Back to the question at hand, Can a believer marry an unbeliever? I do not see any verses that say it is a sin, however, I also do not see any verses that say it is a good idea.

The Apostle Paul when talking about his right to marry states - "Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?" (1 Corinthians 9:5 NASB95) - Paul here is under the assumption that they would marry "believers".

When giving practical advice about how to persevere in the midst of persecution, the Apostle tells the Christian widows in Corinth, that if they choose to remarry, they should only remarry "in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 7:39).

Is it possible for a Christian to convert his/her non-Christian spouse. Yes, it is very much possible. (1 Corinthians 7:13 and 1 Peter 3:1-2 speak to this as being a goal for the Christian and how to achieve it).

Although, there are no Scriptures that say it sin to marry a non-Christian, when looking for a spouse, the wise choice would be to find one that is going to help you get to Heaven and not lead you astray. This is not always a matter or right or wrong, or sin and not sin, but what is the wiser choice.

Post by Cliff Sabroe