Separate from Sin
“Now when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations…. For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands.” (Ezra 9:1-2) When God delivered His people out of Egypt and led them into the land of Canaan, He gave them the commandment as Ezra relates, “And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy commandments, Which thou hast commanded by thy servants the prophets, saying, The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands, with their abominations, which have filled it from one end to another with their uncleanness. Now therefore give not your daughters unto their sons, neither take their daughters unto your sons, nor seek their peace or their wealth for ever: that ye may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever.” (Ezra 9:10-12) Many of the children of Israel were deliberately and willfully disobedient to God’s commands and took unto them “strange wives.” In Ezra 10 there is an account of how the people repented and “put away all the wives, and such as are born of them.” (Ezra 10:3) To put away the wives and children of these marriages no doubt caused great sorrow and deep grief. All this could have been avoided if the people had obeyed God’s commandments and not become entangled with those who did not believe in or worship the true and living God. The saved cannot have fellowship with the unsaved. And although God’s children in the New Covenant must honor the marriage covenant even with an unbeliever (1 Corinthians 7:12-16), there has to be a “putting away,” spiritually speaking. The unsaved goes one way, the saved another. The unsaved goes on in the broad way, but the saved follows the Lord in the strait and narrow way. This spiritual separation between husband and wife causes many and deep heartaches. God calls His people to be a separate, “peculiar [exclusively owned] people, zealous of good works,” (Titus 2:14) and they cannot mix with ungodly and worldly activities and keep their relationship clear with God.
Notice what the Lord says, “The land, unto which ye go to possess it, is an unclean land with the filthiness of the people of the lands.” God did not then want His people to mix with the people who were filthy in His sight, and he does not now want His people to mix with the unclean people of this day. Anyone who has not been spiritually washed in the cleansing blood of the Lord Jesus Christ is unclean, filthy in the sight of God. How it must grieve God to have His children let themselves become so blinded by Satan that they cannot see that this kind of a union will but bring disappointment, sadness, heartache, and, many times, tragedy. It is, indeed, a tragedy when one who has been saved from sin—translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s dear Son—willfully unites himself in the closest earthly union with one who is unsaved, and, therefore, a servant of sin. This kind of a union is not founded on a good spiritual foundation and cannot prosper, nor have God’s blessing upon it. The Christian loves to read the Word of God, loves to attend worship services, loves the people of God; while the unsaved is not interested in these things, but rather desires the things pertaining to the world. One who is contemplating marriage to an unsaved person may say, “Oh, but he or she would not oppose my being a Christian,” but Jesus said, “He that is not with me is against me.” (Matthew 12:30) If one is not a child of God, then he is a child of the devil, and is against the teachings of the Word of God, the beliefs, and the principles of Christianity. One may say he is not opposed to his companion living for God, but if he or she is not also living for God, then the two are living lives that are in direct opposition spiritually. This brings about misunderstandings, hurt feelings, heartaches, and separation in many activities. The one who is saved will have to constantly seek for grace to be able to suffer what the unsaved companion will inflict. You might say, “Oh, that seems an exaggeration.” No, it is not an exaggeration. It is not as strong an expression as could be made. Ask any saved person who has lived with an unsaved companion if there can be spiritual harmony in a “mixed marriage” home and you will be told that there cannot be. Although they might be reluctant to relate some unhappy experiences they’ve had with an unsaved companion, you may be sure there were many, and only by constantly seeking God’s grace could one endure and keep the victory.
If a saved person deliberately disobeys the scriptural teachings concerning marriage with the unsaved, and goes on and unites in marriage with a sinner, the Spirit of God is grieved and God will not bless that union unless there is repentance and coming back to God. But the marriage has taken place and God holds the two as husband and wife, bound together for life (1 Corinthians 7:39), regardless of what may come along life’s way.
If you marry an unsaved person, you may live the remainder of your life with a heavy heart because you stepped outside of God’s will. The Lord wants you to be happy in your marriage. He wants your heart to sing with joy. But this will not be so if you disobey God’s commandments.
Many young people have made the mistake of marrying an unsaved person thinking they could win the husband or wife to the Lord. In most cases, this leads only to great disappointment and heartbreak. The unsaved one generally goes on in the downward way, farther and farther from God, and the joy, the companionship hoped for, is never realized.
Dear young people, let God direct you in choosing a companion. You cannot of yourself choose the right companion. You may think that a certain one is the only one who can give you the love and happiness you desire, but it may be that love will grow cold, will wither and die. It may be that the passing of the years, with the troubles and problems of life and changing attitudes, will erode that young love until there is no love left, but the two are bound together by the marriage bond. What an unhappy state! How much better to let God give one a companion, then love and understanding will grow with the passing years and God’s blessing will be upon that union. You cannot know what one’s actions, words, and attitudes will be down through the years. You want and need one to stand by you in sickness with loving care, kind and encouraging words. You need someone who will uphold you in difficult and trying times with understanding and with earnest prayers, someone who will plead to God for the healing balm for you when your heart is crushed and broken from sorrow and disappointment. If one does not have a saved companion, there may be accusations instead of comfort, denunciations instead of blessings, criticism instead of appreciation.
God alone knows the right companion for you. With a yielded will, seek God earnestly to direct you in choosing a life’s companion, and remember to marry “only in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 7:39)