The Unequal Yoke.

There is one form of the unequal yoke to which we would draw attention, especially for the consideration of young believers, namely, the unequal yoke of marriage.

Marriage is God’s institution for the propagation of the race (Gen. 1:28): also it is His wise and gracious provision that man shall have a help meet for him, and this is found in marrying a woman (Gen. 2:18). The Scriptures state, “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord” (Prov. 18:22). There have been, and are exceptions to this institution, and quite allowable; yet marriage remains as the general rule for all of us.

For the people of God in an evil and hostile world, there is laid down a very important principle for their guidance—on no account must they enter into an unequal yoke; there must be no linking together of diverse things whether in business partnerships, the social circle, the religious sphere, or the marriage state. In the beginning God divided between the light and the darkness (Gen. 1:4), and that division, in its varied aspects, goes right through to the end of time. In the New Testament we have a most definite command, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (2 Cor. 6:14-18). The whole passage should be carefully considered. Any diverse union is wrong for a child of God; yet the most serious is the matrimonial one, for this reason—you cannot get out of it until death breaks the tie; in every other case you can draw out, though it may cost much to do so.

Let us consider some of the things involved in a believer marrying an unbeliever. Two utterly diverse persons are inseparably joined for the term of their natural life: one is a child of God, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, bound for Heaven; the other by nature is a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3), the spirit of Satan working in the heart (Eph. 2:2), and on the broad way to destruction (Matt. 7:13). What a monstrous thing to join two such persons together in the most intimate relationship known upon earth! What must the Holy Spirit, indwelling the saved one, feel over such a union! In this union you cannot read the Word and commune with God together; tastes and desires are not the same; spiritually there is nothing in common. Should children come of the marriage, what difficulties will arise! How will this division between father and mother affect the young mind?

The believer’s hope is the coming of the Lord at any time now. What would then happen? The saved partner is released, by Divine grace, from this sad yoke and taken to Heaven; the other partner is left and goes on to eternal judgment.

In the case of a man and woman married while both are unconverted, and one of the two afterward saved, the case bears a different aspect and does not come under the same Divine displeasure. The grace of God in saving the one may also reach the other; but the believer in this instance did not enter into an unequal yoke, and is not required to separate from the other. See 1 Cor. 7: 12-16, which applies in this case.