CAN A CHRISTIAN DATE A NON-BELIEVER
ANSWER: The answer is “no” [for] several reasons. In 1st Corinthians Chapter 7, I’d read quickly to you, verse 10, “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: [verse 11] But if she does leave him, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. Likewise, a husband must not abandon his wife.” Period! He lets you understand God doesn’t want divorce. And then he comes in here to say something, that lets us understand the mind of God concerning these things. Verse 12, “But to the rest I speak, not the Lord…”
What he’s saying is, the Lord has not given a particular statement, because when he started Chapter 7, he let us know when the Lord made a statement about something. This is because the Lord did make a statement when he was here, but now, Paul says, I’m giving you this, the Lord hasn’t said this, and he didn’t say this then because the Gospel that he brought had not been completely consummated. So, here he says, in verse 12, “But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, AND SHE BE PLEASED TO DWELL WITH HIM, LET HIM NOT PUT HER AWAY.” This is, after they have been married, one of them receives Christ. A brother became a Christian – a man became a Christian after he was already married. He became a Christian but HIS WIFE WAS NOT… didn’t come to Christ, did not receive salvation, was not a Christian at the time.
So, Paul says, the man should not leave her – “don’t put her away.” Verse 13: “And the woman which hath a husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.” The same thing, if a wife received Christ and her husband has not received Christ, Paul says, she should not leave the husband. But watch this, verse 14, “FOR THE UNBELIEVING HUSBAND IS SANCTIFIED BY THE WIFE, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; BUT NOW ARE THEY HOLY.” He says, just because one part is born again, i.e. the husband is born again and the wife is not or the wife is born again and the husband is not, he says, one of them has sanctified the other by virtue of marriage. NOW, THAT doesn’t MEAN THAT THE OTHER ONE IS BORN AGAIN, but he says there is no uncleanness now in their union because one is born again. So, their children are sanctified – which means God has a right to these children; they are no longer children of the devil. God has a right to them. So, he can work on their salvation – they can receive salvation. They can be saved; they would come to Christ.
Now, here is something very significant he strikingly says in verse 15 “But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God has called us to peace. [1 Corinthians 7:10-15]”
Wow! Can you imagine that God would allow divorce because the non-Christian walked away? Either the non-Christian husband or wife walked away, and he says the brother or sister in such circumstances is not under bondage. God allowed it. That’s to let you understand how serious it is that the man and his wife be born again or it means their separation is allowed by God. This is very significant. What that tells you is this, let me read the 16th verse, “For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?”. He says the reason he advises that you do not do that to yourself is so that salvation could be possible for the other party. That’s why he says that. So, salvation could be possible. BUT, IF THE UNBELIEVING DEPART, LET HIM DEPART. Now, that suggests to us that God cares about who you get married to. If you were already married before salvation, then you got no problem BUT BEFORE MARRIAGE, YOU CANNOT DATE SOMEONE WHO IS NOT A CHRISTIAN.
I’ll give you another reason for that, in verse 39, “The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.” Only in the Lord! So, a widow is allowed to re-marry, with a strict instruction here – it says ONLY IN THE LORD. In other words, she can only marry a Christian, which means when you study the whole chapter, it is clearly understood that God expects you to only marry a Christian.
So, if you’re dating a non-Christian, why are you dating him? What are you dating him for? What are you dating her for? It means you’re planning to marry a non-Christian. And that’s not going to work. So, if you were already married before you became a Christian and the other party was not a Christian, it’s allowed, it says, you don’t have to quit. But if the unbelieving leaves, then there’s no problem. You’re not in bondage; you don’t have to cry over that. But, if you’re not yet married, then he says, you can’t go after a non-Christian.