Unequally Yoked – The Bible and Sexual Purity
The Mosaic Law (OT) clearly restricted the believer’s behavior in many areas such as food. Certain foods were allowed while others were either restricted or forbidden. Since Christ has been crucified the believer now has much latitude in the choice of diet and other activities. One example is the rigid restriction on movement during the Sabbath. With the complete elimination of the entire corpus of the Mosaic Law (613 Laws) and replacement by Christ’s Law, the New Testament believer was free from all constraints of the Mosaic Law. Christ’s Law, which is spelled out in the New Testament, becomes the operative commandments for a Christian to follow. The Laws, which God wants us to adhere to, appears in the New Testament. Now for the Jews who were used to keeping the Mosaic Law, Christ offers them the option of doing so if they choose (Col. 2:16-17). It is no longer mandatory in the New Testament Church Age though. This is the freedom (liberty) that Paul speaks of in this book of I Corinthians. We have freedom from the specific binding tight regulations of the Mosaic Law. We will see the concept of liberty more thoroughly developed in I Corinthians chapters eight to ten. But here the concept is just introduced to refute the concept of Antinomianism. This heresy concluded that the liberty we have in Christ extended to the moral aspects of the Law as well as the ceremonial. In an incorrect syllogism it is stated in this manner:
- The believer is saved by grace through faith in Christ (Eph 2:8-9).
- All sins are forgiven, past, present, and future (Acts 13: 39; Titus 2:13-14; etc.).
- When the believer sins forgiveness is available to the repentant sinner (1 John 1: 9; II Corinthians 7: 10).
- This heresy therefore concludes the syllogism with an endorsement to go ahead and sin all you want because forgiveness has already been achieved through the grace of the Lord Jesus.
The question we must answer is: If this is not true why?
The syllogism breaks down because the truly repentant sinner turns from the sin. The unbeliever who may masquerade as a believer will continue to sin and appeal to grace for freedom from The Law. A second fallacy is that the moral Law did not get restated in the New Testament Law of Christ. It did! Only the ceremonial Law was not restated in the NT.
I Corinthians 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
Paul is again stating the cry of the antinomian; “all things are OK (lawful) for me to do.” This had become a slogan of the Corinthians to continue sinning as if Christ permitted it under grace. The statement was partially true. While Christ had taken away the sins by grace all things were not good (expedient) for the Child of God to pursue. Some were still forbidden in the New Testament. Sexual sins continued to be in the forbidden classification.
It is never appropriate to disregard basic Christian morality as taught in the New Testament for personal gratification.
Beginning to address behaviors that were permitted under the New Testament’s Law of Christ, the text continues to demonstrate that we should not get caught up in any of them so as to damage our testimony. For those activities for which we have liberty we are not to become addicted. For those activities, which are permitted in the New Testament, we must not allow them to control us. Some examples where the Church falls down in liberty are in the areas of gossip, bitterness, an unforgiving spirit, and lust or withholding money from God’s work.
I Corinthians 6: 13-14 Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.
Food (meats) for the stomach and the stomach for food (meats), was an expression by which some Corinthians sought to justify their sexual immorality. They reasoned that “food” was both pleasurable and necessary. When they sensed hunger, they reasoned that food was eaten to satisfy the urge. So too, they argued, sex was pleasurable and necessary. When their bodies signaled sexual desire, they needed to be satisfied. But Christ drew a sharp line between the stomach and the body. The body in this context meant more than the physical frame; it referred to the whole person, composed of flesh (the material) and spirit (the immaterial). While we are on the earth the body is not separated from the spirit. Further the body will be resurrected to an immortal state at the first resurrection. The “body,” therefore, was not perishable but eternal and it was not meant for sexual immorality but for union with the Lord. The eternality of the body, the future destiny of the individual, was made certain by Christ’s resurrection. We will see this expressed fully in I Corinthians chapter fifteen. So an urge that comes to us is no justification to satisfy it! The homosexuals rely on this thinking to justify their behavior. They reason that since they have and urge to do these abominations it is therefore normal and who they are. When a believer dies today prior to the resurrection he/she is separated from the body. The body goes into the ground awaiting the Rapture and Resurrection. The spirit goes to be with the Lord. So stomachs and food will pass away as the bodies die. Until the Rapture and Resurrection we are separated from our bodies and there have no need of food or a stomach. Later when the Rapture and Resurrection takes place we will be reunited with our bodies. It is possible at that point that we will once again be eating food since Christ ate after He was resurrected from the dead.
I Corinthians 6: 15-16 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.
So too the work of the Spirit has affected Christians’ present destiny and joined them to Christ. Could a Christian practice immorality without grieving Christ? Never!
The Two Harmful Categories to Us of Sinful Sex
The union of two people involves more than physical contact. It is also a union of personalities which, however temporary, alters both of them as Paul quoted Genesis 2:24 (The two will become one flesh) not to affirm that a man and a prostitute are married but to indicate the gravity of the sin and the depth of the bonding that takes place in a sexual union.
Biochemical Bonding (Physical)
Some have studied the chemical nature of sexual intercourse. As a result there appears to be a point at which man and woman enter into a new relationship that is biochemically oriented toward staying together, geared toward their unity as a couple. Chemicals released during intercourse, such as oxytocin and vasopressin, which are called neuopeptides, introduce a unique effect that promotes a series of pair-bonding behaviors. Furthermore, this primary exposure of the system to these chemicals seems to trigger a response that permanently alters body chemistry, and consequently behavior tendencies, making the pair more receptive towards their partner. One could also say that the couple becomes bonded closer to each other. Once the bonds are established, the disruption of these bonds causes great distress.3 It is clear that the body favors the maintenance of these bonds and reacts unfavorably when they are broken. In displaying such responses, it appears that the biochemistry of the body associated with sexual union is optimally designed to be experienced within the context of an intimate and permanent relationship.
The results of these studies are that we truly become one flesh!
God designed us to be permanently bonded to one another or in secular terms monogamous.
A Secondary Aspect of the Chemical Bonding
Scientific findings suggest that tenderness expressed in physical, non-sexual affectionate touching is a bio-chemical condition for optimal sexual experience. The segment of our brains, which produce the feeling of euphoria such as having sexual intercourse, is also prone to building up tolerance to these effects. Such an effect triggers some individuals to spice up their sex lives by trying new or multiple partners, or other alterations that shift the focus of sex from love to pleasure in hope of attaining that same high again. However, females who readily have oxytocin available in their system (released by frequent positive person-to-person touching) are actually able to counter this tolerance mechanism naturally. Research indicates that the body is designed to be affectionately touched on a regular basis. Under the conditions of loving, regular touch – whether it is through holding hands, hugging, or cuddling – the body responds optimally to more intimate sexual expressions. Sex on a physical level is ordained toward tenderness, which is an important aspect of authentic love that contributes to closeness between a couple, as well as the continuation of exclusive permanency. Therefore it is important to refrain from frequent close touching of members of the opposite sex unless within a marriage or between family members in a wholesome expression of care.
Married couples who express tender physical contact will have a more loving sexual relationship and less of a purely and limited physical desire for a sexual high. They will also demonstrate to their children the importance of wholesome physical contact and pass on to them proper loving sexual expressions as an example for them when they are eventually married.
I Corinthians 6: 17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
The Spiritual Bonding Aspect of Sexual Sin
A Christian’s union with Christ likewise affects both him and the Savior, and one cannot act without affecting the other.
I Corinthians 6: 18-20 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
The only appropriate response when faced with sexual immorality is to FLEE. Take the example of Joseph when Potiphar’s wife aggressively advanced upon him. He fled and got out (Gen 39:12).
Clearly the Lord’s design for our bodies and spirits as well is to be with one spouse in union and not to divert from that. The term body in the Greek construct refers to both soul and body. So in addition to adding conflict within our biochemistry and causing great emotional harm to our spouse the Holy Spirit is greatly grieved. We know that the Spirit enters us at the point of belief and stays with us for evermore thereafter. We have to remember the price that Christ paid for us to provide for our salvation and therefore eternal life and never marginalize it by sinning against him. All sins are against God (II Sam 12:13). Sexual sins are the worst in the eyes of the Lord and received the greatest punishment in Old Testament.
II Corinthians 6: 14-18 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
The unification of our bodies with a harlot produces a close relationship with the Devil called Belial here. Belial is a Hebrew word to describe one of the most maleficent characters of the underworld, Lucifer who became Satan.
It therefore causes pollution of our spirit with the Devil.
When we engage in a relationship with unsaved people especially a sexual relationship outside of a committed heterosexual marriage we put the Holy Spirit in immediate proximity with the Devil and the two do not mix. God will withdraw from us and the chemical factors inherent in sexual unions will cause us to want to continue the bonding with the one we had the sexual relationship with. Therefore, God withdraws from us and we move closer to Satan. This is a powerful recipe for spiritual corruption that leads to death.
When we engage in sexual relationships outside of marriage the result is we bond chemically and emotionally with the person with whom we had the sex. The pair bonding does not like to be broken and it continues to seek the bonding when it is broken.
God has a plan for us within sexual areas and it is simply that two believers must marry one another. We must not marry outside of the faith for any reason. God regards this as sin and He will not bless the union as such. When a believer finds them selves married to an unbeliever either because of inappropriate choice of partners or if both were unbelievers to start and one became a believer here what must happen.
The believer must take his/her God given role as a born again Christian and act like it. God considers this marriage a sinful union. If a person is living in a state of sin or still an unbeliever they will never experience true growth.
THOSE IN SIN RETARD SPIRITUAL GROWTH.
God will not bless a person living in sin. We have been in a section of Scripture that clarifies much for the successful God led Christian marriage. It all starts with tying ourselves together only with believers. That is committed regenerated believers in Jesus Christ. People who seek to please Him first and foremost in their lives. Real believers have been transformed and seek to rid themselves of the old man in them. They seek the guidance of God in all they do and grow spiritually all the days of their lives. This is why the Bible tells us not to unequally yoked together with unbelievers.
II Corinthians 6:14-16 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers; for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? What communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Remember a sexual union produces a chemical bonding that draws us together as God would have us becoming one flesh. If the other person is an unbeliever the bonding puts Satan in close proximity to Christ and Christ will withdraw leaving the believer bound to an unbeliever in a bond that is difficult to break.
1 Corinthians 7: 10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
Up to this point Paul had been speaking to the people that either were presently unmarried or may have been at some time in their past but now were unmarried. A new discussion now begins with instruction to those that presently are married. Divorce is not part of God’s plan. In fact He states quite clearly that He hates divorce (Mal 2:16).
Malachi 2:16 “For the LORD God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the LORD of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously.
The covering that is spoken of here is a symbol of marriage. (Ruth 3:9; Ezekiel 16:8). Covering one’s garment with violence describes violating the marriage relationship, which is exactly what divorce does. Whenever there is a repetition in the Bible it is for emphasis. In this case it is the Lord’s will that we do not divorce.
This verse is the most explicit statement in the Old Testament on God’s feelings about divorce. Divorce was allowed. The permission that appears in the Torah provides protection for the wife. (Deuteronomy 24:1-4) Jesus taught that those concessions by Moses were given because of the hardness of people’s hearts, but He emphasized that God does not approve of divorce. He hates it.
So Paul is saying in I Corinthians 7:10 that a wife should not leave her husband. In other words there should not be a divorce or a separation. Typically the question is raised regarding abuse. If a wife is suffering abuse she should remove herself from the harm. This alone is insufficient to seek divorce. Unless there is fornication (adultery) or as we will see in the next few verses abandonment by an unbelieving spouse, there is no biblical permission for divorce (Matthew 5:32). Christ never said that an abused woman should stay in an abusive situation. In fact in the text of Deuteronomy 24:1-4 provides protection for a wife that is cast out by her husband by allowing her to seek another man.
I Corinthians 7: 11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
So in the event that she must leave and let’s use the example of abuse, she must not remarry. The husband has no right to end the marriage through divorce. The only legitimate biblical reason to end this marriage is through death or if adultery enters the relationship. She must remain unmarried and so also should her husband. In this verse Paul is addressing married believers. When problems occur in a Christian marriage, the resolution is reconciliation not in divorce.
Ephesians 4:30-32 And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
I Corinthians 7: 12-13 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. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
Now the discussion turns to those believers who are married to unbelievers (the rest). Remember we must avoid the pain and hardship associated with the unequal yoking in our marriages. Paul does not mean by saying “I speak, not the Lord” that he following words are not Scriptural. What he means is that Jesus did not specifically address this issue in the Scripture we have. Paul had the Christ given authority (Acts 9: 15) to bring Christ’s Word to the Gentiles, Kings and the Jews. That being said it is possible for one of two married unbelievers to accept Christ and enter the family of God. After this occurs the believing spouse must not leave the other. Remember how Paul reminded the Corinthians that some of them had serious sins in their past but Christ washed them clean (I Corinthians 6:11). This can happen to the non-believing spouse. The believer should not leave the non-believer. The marriage will be difficult and may result in at the least a lack of tolerance and possibly worse. In a marriage like this the believing spouse might feel like they are single or all alone. Perhaps they are taking the children to church and receive no spiritual leadership or spiritual support in the family unit. We have all seen these situations. We must reach out to them and encourage them to bring their children up in the knowledge of Christ and seek to support and educate them in the Bible. Through prayer and leading a Godly life the believing spouse may bring about the conversion of the non-believer.
I Corinthians 7:14 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.
The primary reason that the two must remain married is that the believing spouse brings holiness to the marriage. We have at least two Old Testament examples to illustrate this situation.
Never, Never Underestimate the power of God
Genesis 30: 27 And Laban said unto him, If now I have found favor in thine eyes, tarry: for I have divined that Jehovah hath blessed me for thy sake.
Laban who was deceitful knew that the Lord blessed him through Jacob. If Jacob had left earlier than he did Laban would not have received knowledge of God and he was aware of it.
Genesis 39: 2-5 And Jehovah was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man; and he was in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that Jehovah was with him, and that Jehovah made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found favor in his sight, and he ministered unto him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand. And it came to pass from the time that he made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that Jehovah blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of Jehovah was upon all that he had, in the house and in the field.
Again the Lord provided blessing to those around one of His believing children. Joseph was a child of the living God and the entire household of Potiphar the high-ranking officer in Pharaoh’s select personal guard was blessed. Non-believers can sense this in the lives of believers and seek it, if not for themselves, at least for their children. Some people who are non-believers will send their children to vacation Bible school, Christian schools or Sunday school because they know there will be some blessing that will be imparted to the children. The entire family will be blessed by the one believing spouse and especially the children.
I Corinthians 7: 15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
God has provided and additional exception to the rule of no divorce. In addition to adultery, the situation where an unbeliever insists on a divorce, he is not to be denied. Should this occur, the Christian is not bound to maintain the marriage but is free to remarry. Paul did not say, as he did in verse 11, that the Christian in this case should “remain unmarried.” The believer has two choices in this instance. The believer can allow the marriage to dissolve or he/she can deny Christ and live with the unbeliever, as the unbelieving spouse would like to live; apart from God. No blessings will occur in this relationship. Only pain and hardship will ensue. Once a person truly accepts Christ the Holy Spirit enters them forever. If they try and deny Christ the Spirit will be grieved.
The second part of this verse in which Paul affirmed that God had called Christians to live in peace could be understood as a separate sentence. The same conjunction (but) which introduced the exception at the beginning of this verse was repeated by Paul, probably to indicate another shift in thought and a return to the main point in this section, namely, the importance for the Christian spouse of preserving the marriage union and living “in peace” with the non-Christian. Paul’s point was that a Christian should strive to preserve the union and to keep the peace, but with the understanding that marriage is a mutual not a unilateral relationship. This is a difficult situation for the believer, as they will comprise their Christianity and their desire to follow Christ as they seek to appease their spouse through a peaceful relationship. This is one more reason to never become unequally yoked together with unbelievers.
I Corinthians 7:16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?
Finally the principle reason for the believing spouse staying with the unbeliever is to pray for their salvation. This is a crucial reason why a Christian should stay married to a non-Christian. God might use the Christian spouse as a vessel of blessing possibly leading to the point where the unbelieving spouse would believe the message of the Cross and experience salvation. The apostle Peter said the same thing to us.
1 Peter 3:1-2 In like manner, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, even if any obey not the word, they may without the word be gained by the behavior of their wives; beholding your chaste behavior coupled with fear.
Wives who fear the Lord just may be used to bring salvation to an unbelieving husband.
 Insel TR, Winslow JT, Wang ZX, Young L, and Hulihan TJ. “Oxytocin and the Molecular Basis for Monogamy”. Advanced Experiments in Medical Biology. Vol. 395 (1995), pp. 227-34.
 Carter CS. “Neuroendocrine Perspectives on Social Attachment and Love”. Psychoneuroendocrinology. Vol. 23, no. 8 (Nov 1998), pp. 779-818
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