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Obedience In Family Life

Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?
–2 Corinthians 6:14

In Nehemiah 10, the Israelites listed seven ways that they were going to start obeying God. These seven promises fall under three general headings. First of all, as the Israelites read the Word of God, they became convicted of their need to be obedient in their family life. In verse 30, they said, “We will not give our daughters to the peoples of the land or take their daughters for our sons.” In other words, “Now that we are back in this land, we are not going to marry those of a different faith.” Hundreds of years earlier, as the people were getting ready to enter into Canaan, the promised land, God said in Deuteronomy 7:3-4, “Furthermore, you shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor shall you take their daughters for your sons. For they will turn your sons away from following Me to serve other gods.” There is nothing in the Bible that prohibits people of different races or nationalities marrying one another if they are both believers. The reason God said the Israelites were not to marry foreigners was because they were unbelievers.

God’s most basic command related to the family is simply this: Christians are to marry only other Christians. In 2 Corinthians 6:14, Paul said, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” I want you to notice the two reasons God says we are to marry only Christians. First of all, to marry an unbeliever destroys our relationship with God. That is exactly what happened with the Israelites. They did marry the Canaanites, and the worship of Baal and Asherah and other false gods entered into the life of Israel. The same thing happens today. You might say, “I know this person I am dating is not a believer yet, but through my witness and the way I live, I am going to lead them to faith in Christ.” I have seen this over and over again, and ninety-nine times out of a hundred, that unbeliever brings that believer down to where he is spiritually.

Another reason we are not to marry unbelievers is because to do so destroys our relationship with our mate. Look again at what Paul said: “What fellowship has light with darkness?” Do you realize light and darkness cannot occupy the same space? One automatically displaces the other. It works the same way in the home. If the most important part of your life is your relationship to Jesus Christ, how in the world could you ever experience unity in marriage with somebody who does not have that same spiritual center? If you are single and you truly want a marriage that is blessed of God, then the most important commitment you can make today is to marry only a growing Christian. If you are a parent, there is a commitment for you to make as well: “No matter how much my child argues or pleads, I will not bless their marriage to a non-Christian.” That was the commitment the Israelites made.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Declaration Of Dependence” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2010.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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