Question Time - Is it wrong for a Christian to go out with someone who is not saved?
Richard Collings, Caerphilly, Wales [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
Is it wrong for a Christian to go out with someone who is not saved?
From a natural perspective, it is quite possible that a Christian will find an attraction to someone who is not a believer. They may be work colleagues who get on well, or there might be some other circumstance whereby the two share several similar interests and interact easily with each other. However, the question is not whether a saved person might feel an attraction to someone not saved but would it be wrong for that to develop into a relationship. The direct answer to this is unequivocally ‘yes’; it would be wrong for a believer to go out with someone who is not saved. Furthermore, any attempt to defend the situation by thinking that through the relationship the believer might be better able to witness to their partner or use the friendship to get them to attend gospel meetings does not justify a scripturally wrong association.
Whilst a young Christian may be determined to avoid a relationship with an unbeliever, the pressures testing that conviction may increase significantly as time passes. They may long to be married and, if no partner is found, there is the danger that they might relax their conviction and seek a friendship with someone not saved. In all probability, the friend they might be attracted to will be an honest, kind and genuine individual and, in many respects, they will seem to be no different to the saved person. However, that perspective overlooks the fact that there are fundamental differences between them. A Christian is someone who is saved, reconciled to God, possesses eternal life, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, walks in the light and has been delivered from the power of darkness. In stark contrast, an unbeliever is lost, at enmity with God, does not have eternal life, the Holy Spirit is not in them, they walk in darkness and are condemned.
Although the context of the verses does not relate to the question that has been asked, the apostle Paul is very forthright in setting out the contrasts between believers and unbelievers. He states, ‘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’, 2 Cor. 6. 14, 15. The differences between a Christian and an unbeliever are so distinct that a compatible relationship on every level between the two is not possible.
One of the most crucial decisions we might face is whom we will marry and therefore it is vital that we seek the Lord’s guidance relative to this. As the will of the Lord will never lead us in a pathway that is contrary to the word of the Lord, we cannot claim that a relationship with an unsaved person is His will for us. In 1 Corinthians chapter 7 verse 39, Paul gives advice to widows, ‘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’. Although the apostle is referring to a particular situation, the principle of marrying in the Lord must apply to all couples and thus it is relevant to the matter before us.
Space does not permit a fuller answer, but I would refer readers to an article written by John Salisbury in Precious Seed, Vol. 65 Issue No. 1, Considering Marriage – How can I be sure? which gives further help.