Only in the Lord

A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 7:9)

wedWho is it that a single Christian should desire to marry?  Who is it they should date?  Here is the answer.  “Only in the Lord.”  More and more we see marriages between people of differing religions.  The Rabbi leaves the podium and the Priest steps up.  The traditions of one religion are combined with another.  And worst of all: the one flesh union is tainted by two divided souls.

Some have gone for far as to suggest the the words above only apply to widows.  What a ridiculous argument.  What it simply assumed in the other contexts is blessedly spelled out for us stubborn people here.  Christians are to marry only in the Lord. 1  Only then can the one flesh union be manifested in every way God intended.  And only then can the great blessing that marriage be experienced in the fullest way.  Yes, spiritual union is certainly more important that sexual, financial, or habitational union.  God reveals it, and even secular studies confirm it.

And yes that means Christian people need not flirt with, go on dates, exchange physical affection with those who are not in the Lord.  Although our society tries to break the obvious connection between dating and marriage, we must not be fooled.  Else we will end up especially connected to someone we ought not marry.

To be married to one in Christ is a great blessing.  Do not accept anything less.

As a side note to pastors:  We must have the courage to apply this truth to those who come to be married to those obviously not in the Lord.  We all know how hard it is to say “no” to those who are so “in love.”  But we must proceed with Godly courage and conviction.


  1. Of course, if one finds themselves already married to an unbeliever, the instructions found in 1 Corinthians 7 apply: 1 Corinthians 7:12-17   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.  If any woman 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 will save your wife?  Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. []

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011 at 12:41 pm and is filed under Marriage and Family, Theology and Practice. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

7 Responses to “Only in the Lord”

  1. Peter Mead Says:

    I would love to see some great tools for witnessing to the unbeliever-half of such a couple. Pre-marital counseling materials that can touch such a person at this time of “exceptional grace” would have the opportunity of being most effective! Up to this point, the pastor may be the only contact with one of “God’s People,” other than the fiance. Take the chance to introduce Christ in the most positive way. Carrying them through the journey toward faith. Then, if met with grossest resistance, seek other options. Just a (justifiable) opinion. Otherwise, I couldn’t agree more that the Christian faith is the very foundation of any other relationship! I could never “hook up” with anyone not “hooked in” to my Lord, Jesus!! Peace, Pete.

  2. Peter Mead Says:

    Sorry, one more thing: Esther Meyer was working at the sheriff’s office in Milwaukee, WI. She was often approached by a dashing young motorcycle officer. “Will you go out with me?” He would ask. “No,” was her reply, “But you can accompany me to my church.” After several attempts he relented, and spent many a Sunday morning with her at Gospel Lutheran. The Holy Spirit did his work, and Alvin Beckemeier became a signed and sealed child of God. In their case, “first comes love, then comes FAITH, then comes marriage … then comes Marilyn (my amazing mom!) in a baby carriage.” Ladies (and gentlemen) this is encouragement that you may not turn them down, but turn them ON to your Lord. Let them know why you’re so attractive—because of Christ living in you. Again, peace, Pete.

  3. Jennifer Says:

    I have to say I married a non Christian. SHOCK HORROR!! Yes, me, a church worker married an unbeliever. Before we were married Mark promised me to always attend worship with me. I knew the Holy Spirit was much stronger than he or I and that through God’s Word he would come to faith. It was during his first Good Friday Service (before we were married) that he came to faith in Our Lord. He still recalls that day and the moment “all the pieces came together and I just knew”. He was baptized shortly there after. Contrarily, many a friend married a believer only to have their husbands cease to attend worship and cease to be the spiritual head.

    So, what is my point? I don’t know that I have one. I know that in my case I trusted that God would call Mark to saving faith. Maybe there is some gray area here. Just my story…

  4. Philip Hoppe Says:

    Praise God that he worked faith in Mark’s heart and you can now share that spiritual union. And I do not mean to suggest that two Christians who marry will have the perfect ideal marriage or never succumb to the sin of divorce. But the scriptures are clear on this one. In the Old and New Testament, marrying outside of the faith is considered sinful. Many in the Old Testament went to great length to secure faith-filled wives for their sons. God is gracious and merciful, as displayed in your life, but that never is an excuse to ignore his ways. Thanks for writing and for reading.

  5. Philip Hoppe Says:

    Peter, I agree that we need to use the opportunity given to us when an unbeliever is sitting in our office because they love a believer. We must at the same time, guide the believer in the ways of God and witness to the unbelievers of his greatest way, Jesus.

  6. Philip Hoppe Says:

    Peter: I love her ways :). Awesome. What a testimony she gave that them placed him in the presence of the Word.

  7. Erich Heidenreich DDS Says:

    Jennifer wrote: “Before we were married Mark promised me to always attend worship with me.”

    A close relative married an unbeliever against her parents’ and my advice, even after quoting 1 Corinthians 7:9 and the 4th Commandment.

    Before they married, this man promised to attend church with her. I have only seen him in church a couple times early on when they married, and now she is rarely attending.

    Conversion should occur before marriage occurs, preferably before engagement or even dating begins. One can be a friend with the unbeliever, and that should be all unless and until conversion occurs. Stories like Jennifer’s with happy endings remind me of the fact that the end does not justify the means.

    Another verse that applies is 2 Corinthians 6:14: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness, and what communion hath light with darkness?”

    A Christian simply should not become one in flesh with someone they are not already one in Spirit with.

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