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Can a Christian man fall in love with a non-Christian woman?
Thank you for asking your question about relationships.
There is no reason why a Christian man cannot fall in love with a non-Christian woman. However the Bible is quite clear that a Christian should not marry a non-Christian, and here's why:
A helpful Bible verse on this subject is 1 Corinthians 7:39. Here Paul is saying that a widow can re-marry but "only in the Lord". This is a general principle for marriage. Believers should marry those of the same faith just as was told to the Israelites who were God's people in the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 7:3-4; Joshua 23:11-13).
Some Christians will always try to find a loophole and make excuses as to why it's okay to date or marry a non-believer. This I believe is a priority issue. The person with this kind of mentality has a greater priority for their own happiness by having a desire to date a non-believer rather than having a desire to obey God's Word. There are stories where believers have married non-believers and by God's grace the non-believer has indeed become a Christian. But that is rare, and should never motivate a Christian to want to marry a non-Christian.
A Christian first and foremost should be attracted to the godliness of their spouse. The spouse's relationship with Jesus should be more important than any other relationship the spouse has. May I suggest that if a believer is pursuing a relationship with a non-believer, then they themselves should examine the intimacy of their own relationship with Jesus.
Ephesians 5:22-33 says that a husband should love his wife as Christ loves the Church. Verse 26 says that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word. A wife/husband cannot be sanctified if she/he has no relationship with Jesus. The "word" here is in reference to the Bible. A non-believer might respect the Bible and even try to follow its principles, but if he/she has not by faith trusted in the Lord Jesus for salvation, then ultimately, he/she is still dead in their trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1).
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14) The context here is in relation to the involvement in commercial guilds, not marriage as such, although the principle does apply. A stronger case can be made from Ezra's dealing with the "mixed" marriages amongst the returning exiles, and from the Mosaic Law.
The Apostle Paul here is contrasting the fundamental difference between believers and non-believers - that those who have been made righteous through Christ have no partnership with those who have no consideration for God's law. Does this mean that believers shouldn't have non-believing friends? Not at all. It means that believers should not be "yoked" (or married) to unbelievers.
In summary, it is sinful for a Christian and a non-Christian to get married. A non-Christian can marry a non-Christian because that is common grace for all people. However, Christian marriage is a covenant between God and the husband and wife who know Him intimately and personally. Marriage is a picture of what is to come when Jesus returns. The Church is the bride of Christ, and marriage is one of the greatest forms of worship and service and may it be honoured forever.
Here are some more Bible Verses for your further consideration:
- 1 Kings 11:1-12
- Ezra 9:1-12
- Ephesians 2:1-3
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*All Scripture references are taken From The English Standard Version of the Holy Bible unless stated otherwise
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