Updated: Oct 10, 2022
By Doug Bell
2 Corinthiams 6:
14 ¶ "Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?
16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.”
“Come out from among them
And be separate, says the Lord.
Do not touch what is unclean,
And I will receive you.”
18 “I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the LORD Almighty."
Divorce is prevalent in our day. So much so, that the percentage of Christians that divorce are the same as the worlds, 50%! I say this to our shame! Some of this is because so-called Christians are not loving and treating each other, as the Bible traches us. That is, we are not living by Christian principles! But, I’m afraid the real reason for divorce among Christians is that 1.) a Christian “knowingly” married a non-believer or 2.) after the marriage, one of the partners proved to be unbeliever. (I could say a lot here about how we accept “confessing” believers in the Church today; ‘easy believism,’ ‘Asking Jesus into my heart,’ ‘walking an isle,’ etc.). But, suffice it to say that “Not everyone who ‘claims’ to be a Christian really one.
To answer 1.) above whether a Christian “knowingly” married a non-believer. Our verses above are more than enough to teach, even a nominal believer, NOT to do this. But, how many have I heard in the past say, “but, I will ‘love’ her/him to Christ.” And it ends up in a divorce. Why? Look at WHY Paul says, it won’t work: 1.) what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? I.e., you won’t have fellowship, or peace. 2.) And what communion has light with darkness? There isn’t anything more different than this. 3.) And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? As Christ has nothing in common with the devil, neither do you have commonality with an unbeliever. 4.) And most importantly, And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God! There is NOTHING that a believer and unbeliever have in common to make a good marriage. It’s like the O.T. Israel trying to combine the worship of Baal with the True worship of the Lord! It will be destroyed!
“Come out from among them. And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.”
It is a direct command from God NOT to marry an unbeliever!
HOWEVER, For ‘whatever’ reason a Christian finds himself in this situation. What should he do? Divorce him/her? Stay with him/her? The Bible speaks to this also!
1 Corinthians 7:
10 ¶ “Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband.
11 But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife”
Paul begins this section by saying that there should NEVER be ANY reason for a Christian husband and wife to divorce. Period! Taking this from Jesus’s teaching on Matthew 19:
4 ¶ “And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’
5 “and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?
6 “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
The ONLY exception for this comes from Jesus in the same passage. I.e., ‘sexual immorality.’
9 “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”
But, what about our discussion about a Christian married to an unbeliever? The Apostle comments on this, too! (1 Cor. 7).
12 ¶ “To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her.
13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him.
14 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.
15 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.
16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife.”
When Paul begins and says, “To the rest I say (I, not the Lord).” He is merely saying that he doesn’t have a “direct quote” from the Lord! He isn’t saying it’s just his opinion, but he is speaking also Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit! (Cf. Vs. 40 “…And I think that I too have the Spirit of God.”)
1.) If you are a Christian and find yourself in a marriage with an unbeliever and they are willing to live with you; DON’T you divorce! (cf. vs. 12-13).
Vs. 14 is a difficult passage:
14 “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.”
I understand Paul to be speaking here to the 'marital bond', not to one’s salvation. That is, God still accepts this marriage to be legal, though, It goes against common wisdom and God’s clear command. Notice God’s benevolence in this verse. For the sake of the Christian, God’s Grace “Spills Over” onto the unbeliever. God will ‘still’ bless this marriage for the sake of the children.
16 “For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife.” Again, this is NOT a reason to marry an unbeliever, but God in His Grace and Mercy may save this person. (Based upon you living a Christian life before them, according to God’s word. And being empowered by His Holy Spirit!)
2.) And then Paul gives us the 2nd reason for a divorce; (Between a Believer and an Unbeliever).
15 “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.”
The word ‘separate’ here is the same word meaning divorce. If the believer has done all he/she can do to make the marriage work, and the unsaved person is irreconcilable, “let them go!” Why? “Because God has called you to peace.” (cf Romans 5:1).
NOW, If this Christian were to go on and want to marry again, “HE MUST MARRY ONLY IN THE LORD.” And here is the reason:
1 Corinthians 6.
19 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,
20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”