Hebrews 4:12-13 "For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account."

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

Will You Marry Me?”

Part XI

How much do you know about marriage?

In observance of humanity, I am persuaded to believe that too many know too little about this subject. I invite you to study this very important theme as God has instructed and instituted this union.

The need is obvious. It is obvious by the fact that two out of three marriages end in divorce today (a stat that has even found its way into the “Body of Christ”). It is obvious by the advice given by marriage counselors, preachers, in-laws, lawyers, advice columnists, and by this entire like. It is obvious by the attitude of many of our civil authorities, Senators, representatives, and so on. It is obvious by the teaching that our children are exposed to in our public schools.

It is interesting to note that none of the above, including most preachers, refer to God’s word in dealing with marital problems, or even teaching in advance the understanding of marriage as God has revealed it. God’s word affirms that there is not a problem that a husband or wife may have that God doesn’t answer.

The key is: APPLICATION!!!

This will be the last lesson in this series. In a study of marriage where Christians are concerned, the study would not be complete without considering the question, “Should Christians marry non-Christians?”

This study can be difficult and often creates turmoil; however, it is vital to recognize truth, which only originates from God.

First, the term non-Christian is not as obvious to many as it ought to be. There are many claiming to be Christians within the United States; however, less than ¾ of them actually admit any real dedication to Christ, and less than ½ of those claim the Bible to truly be God’s word. 

All of this is to say, it does not matter what one calls ones’ self! It only matters what God sees you as through Christ Jesus the Lord; who is the only way to God!

In Acts 11:26; “disciples were first called Christians in Antioch”. The interesting thing about firsts in scripture is that it sets precedence; this is also true here. In Verse 21 of the text, they had become disciples (learners and practitioners of the master) by believing and turning to the Lord through the preaching of the word (vs.19). This is a reference to the complete response in conversion to Jesus the Christ that was commanded to be taught to the entire world and we see first accepted in Acts 2:38, once again setting precedence. They were now, with purpose of heart continuing in the Lord (Vs. 23).

Second, with this definition under our belt, we need to comprehend the Lord’s wisdom in this. When I was engaged in my secular career; we had business practices that we followed and trained others to adhere to. These practices were classified as “Best” (under ideal circumstances always produced the best results), “Good” (under ideal circumstances were sound and were stabilizing producers), and “Prohibited” (these were either illegal or immoral and could never be considered under any circumstances!).

This is not a human business practice; however, there a good use here for this defining process. With this understanding, let’s look at God’s teaching following these three categories as a guide.

Prohibited (these were either illegal or immoral and could never be considered under any circumstances!)

Remember that we are speaking to a Christian by the scriptural definition, considering marrying a non-Christian. To this, I have heard many claims that there are no prohibited practices when it comes to marrying a non-Christian. This could not be further from the truth!

In several very distinct commands and in a vast amount of indirect references; Christians are commanded to abhor, abstain, and give no place to – evil!

See: Romans 12:9; Ephesians 4:27; 1 Thessalonians 5:22; just a few of these poignant commands. 

To this end, a Christian can by no-means join themselves in such an intimate relationship as marriage with anyone who openly disavows God; and or openly practices evil (with eyes wide open, and seeing it as acceptable), and would demand that you except it as well.

Note: It is here that we should talk about a vetting process (the act of scrutinizing someone to test or assess the accuracy of your knowledge of them). Many today begin their approach to choosing a partner to marry simply by physical attraction. In the process of the relationship, little is truly discovered by meaningful dialogue and heart felt discussions concerning values, goals, etc…

For some reason, many think that this will upset the cart; instead of seeing how important it is to know in advance the true nature of the individual you are marrying, and even to recognize serious issues when evidence of them appear. 

This often leads to marriages of ignorance where horrible things then appear in the relationships (physical abuse, immorality, etc…); and the signs were there to see if someone was looking! For younger people who are considering marriage, this is not your parent’s job, it is yours (many parents have tried to share concerns with their children concerning the person being considered, only to find the young person attacking the parent. In fact, if the young person was doing this for them-selves, they would look objectively at the input and weigh it in proper perspective).

Since strong influences in our lives can have detrimental effects on our eternal souls; this vetting process should be exponentially more stringent than the ones they used to determine the president of the United States (I used that for effect more than reality – by it should be a sober and methodical practice). In the course of relationship building, do not dismiss signs of trouble; in fact, demand explanation and truly find out about someone before you make a commitment before the God of heaven.

Many are worried about losing someone, as if it would be their last chance at finding the right mate. Here is a little story I have always appreciated and saved for this reason (it is applicable to either men or women:

“A boy asked his mom, “How will I be able to find the right woman for me?” The mom answered, “Don’t worry about finding the right woman, and concentrate on being the right man!” Author unknown

Good (under ideal circumstances are sound and are stabilizing producers)

In the first century, many obeyed the Gospel of Jesus Christ and entered into a relationship with God through Him. This process in many cases occurred without the spouse likewise obeying. This would sponsor the Apostles of our Lord to write to these Christians, note:

1 Corinthians 7:12-16But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. 13 And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. 15 But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. 16 For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?”

1 Peter 3:1Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives” (in verse 7, “likewise” is used to the men, which would include this same understanding towards and unbelieving wife).

Now this is not specifically pointing to considering marriage to a non-believer; however, in the case that the prohibited is not being violated, we see the great responsibility and the capability of the child of God through Christ. Their dedication, “being that right man or woman as the story goes”; is vital, for their own sakes as well as their spouse.

Many of us have known the difficulty in this kind of relationship where one half is dedicated and the other is not; however, many of us have seen the Apostles words fulfilled in the souse being won to the Lord by their conduct.

Being someone who always tended to do things the hard way, I fell into this category 27 years ago.

So, under the right circumstances (which is defined by the strength of the one who is the child of God), this can be a marriage that will fulfill the physical requirements, but can also lead the other to service to God through Christ.

On the other hand, great care has to be considered, and careful instruction (if the spouse who is not a Christian, by the definition above, is willing to under-go marriage classes, this is a good vetting sign that they will not undermine your faith), to insure the success of this marriage and avoid the polarization that can occur in this kind of union.

Best (under ideal circumstances always produced the best results)

In Acts 18:2-3, we are introduced for the first time to a couple – Aquila and Priscilla; who were Jewish, and already married.

They would be converted to the Gospel of Jesus Christ together and they would continue to labor in the Lord together; see: Acts 18:24-28 – taught the truth to Apollos together; Romans 16:3 – fellow workers with Paul; 1 Corinthians 16:19 – hosting the Body of Christ in their home; 2 Timothy 4:19 – still faithful when many would abandon the faith (9-16).

Although they were not considering marriage (as they were already married); they stand as an example of the best possible scenario when it comes to service to the Lord and marriage! It is obvious that both, by their conduct were interested in being the right man and woman to God first, then to each other.

Once again; however, great care must be taken in the vetting process to make sure that the ideal circumstances of marrying an equally committed servant of God is just that. Marriage classes, once again, would be a great way for both to demonstrate their understanding of God’s will, and have the meaningful dialogue and heart felt discussions to show with great transparency that they are who they claim to be.

Note: I have tried to keep this lesson simple, but there is obviously much more that could be added to this subject and should be studied carefully with the shepherds of our Lord by God’s word.

I do want to make sure that we understand one thing clearly; and this is to parents. It is vital that we teach much of this to our children, including and especially the vetting process, before our children are at the age of considering marriage. If we are afraid to have candid discussion and clearly instruct how important the entire process of marriage is, we are literally handing them to the adversary, and dooming them to a marriage of heart break and sadness. Do not be that coward, teach them now!

A final thought for all who have followed this entire series of lessons:

Colossians 3:1-4If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.”

In any and all issues of this life and the relationships therein, seek, set, live, and reap the benefits that come from God!

James 3:17But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.”