Big Questions Section
This section includes answers to some big questions. We don’t claim to have the answers (only God has all the answers!) But we hope and pray this helps you and the young people you work with. These are not definitive and you may way disagree or be able to add more, but they hopefully act as an inspiration or starting point.
There are 18 questions answered here. We must credit “When Skeptics Ask” by Norman Geisler and “Cosmic Codes” by Chuck Missler, “It makes sense” by Stephen Gaukroger and the website http://carm.org/ (Christian Research and Apologetics Ministry). We’ve tried our very best to give easy answers to the questions and then more advanced / detailed answers and even further study.
Relationships: Do I have to go out or marry a Christian?
You don’t have to go out with a Christian because God is not about rules. Instead, God wants the very best for us and so he guides us and helps us to make good decisions. God says that the best thing is to go out with and to marry a Christian. God tells us this so that we avoid lots of trouble and so that we have the best possible life when it comes to friends and going out with people.
In the New Living Translation, the Bible tells us this, “Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers… How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever?” (2 Corinthians 6.14)
The Bible doesn’t say this because God wants to control you or stop you from having fun. But when you go out with someone who’s not a Christian (even if they’re nice) there will always be temptations to do things wrong. These temptations are there anyway (such as having sex or getting in with the wrong people) but they are nowhere near as strong if you are going out with a Christian. And someone who’s not a Christian won’t understand the things you do and why. They probably won’t want to come to church. They won’t have things in common with you if you want to talk about God or the Bible. They won’t have the same beliefs and morals as you. (Morals are the ways you live your life). And these are really important things in a relationship. Unless you are incredibly strong with God, you will usually end up moving away from God and away from God’s best.
This can be really hard because you may like someone and they may like you. But because God knows that it’s ultimately not his best, he advises you not to go out with, get off with, shack up with or marry someone who’s not a Christian. Some people do this and things seem OK but this is rare. Sometimes we have to make sacrifices but you’ll never lose out with God if you put him first no matter what (and may avoid a whole heap of problems). Try your best to do things now that you won’t regret in the future. If you really want God’s best and if you are really putting God first, you won’t want to do things that damage your relationship with God or with your family. If you’re in a situation where someone wants to go out with you and they’re not a Christian, the loving thing is not to go out with them. What you could do is invite them to church – get them to hang out with other Christian young people who are the same sex as them (e.g. if you’re a guy who likes a girl, introduce her to the Christian girls in your group). And pray for them that God will change them and that they will know Jesus!
2 Corinthians 6.14-18 – Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”
In 2 Corinthians 6, Paul (the writer) isn’t telling us to become monks and nuns! Instead he is saying separate yourself from what is evil. Don’t be evil. Yes, we live in an evil world but we are called to be lights shining in the face of evil and not try to fit in with the evil. Someone has said that if you don’t meet the devil face to face, you’re running in the same direction as him! What this means is that the devil is opposed to the ways of God and will fight you. If you have a fight in an area of your life, it’s often because there is a battle going on. But we know that God in us is stronger than the devil (1 John 4.4), even when it doesn’t feel that way. When it comes to relationships, our hormones go crazy and I know it can be hard. But God will get you through bit by bit, step by step and day by day.
The thing about living for Jesus is that his message will always force you to make a choice. You’ll always be faced with decisions about what to do in a situation and the best decision is always to do what the Bible says or to follow Bible principles. So we may not always be given exact guidance on everything but we can be wise, using the Bible and God in us to help us make right decisions in every area of life.
You will find examples of people who ‘flirt to convert’ – so they may start going out with someone but doing so because they want that person to become a Christian. Sometimes this does happen. But it is the exception. Most relationships with a Christian and someone who isn’t a Christian end, or the Christian gradually falls away from God into a life that isn’t God’s best for them.
Jesus tells us that those who are not with God are against God. In Matthew 12.30 he said, “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.”
So even if it seems right, God says that anyone who is not for God is actually against God. So if you want to go out with someone who’s not a Christian, in many ways they are actually against God. If you’re someone who’s really on fire for God, they may actually see that as getting in the way of your relationship. So you’ll have a choice – do I stay on fire for God or do I try to please that person, meaning that I’d be a little less on fire for God. In a Christian relationship, you’re stronger because you are two people united in God and with God’s help. If you go out with a Christian, God is still for you and for that person but it will never be the same as when you are going out with a Christian. This is true of anything that takes first place from God. He hasn’t got a big ego and isn’t someone who ‘needs’ to be in first place in your life, but if you really love God then you will want to make decisions that put God first, even when it’s tough!
The final thought is that marriage, according to Bible standards (one man and one woman for life) has been shown to be the place of the greatest health (physically and mentally), greatest security, greatest comfort, increased finance and by far the greatest happiness. This is according to many reports (such as the one done by CARE in 2000). Couples that just shack up and don’t marry are 6 times more likely to break up. Yes, there are always exceptions and yes there are some unhappy marriages (mostly because of people and unwise decisions). But marriage itself is good and can always be restored and improved!
The final point to know is that 2 Corinthians 6 also helps us when we think about our friendships and even business partnerships. We just need to be careful who we work with and hang out with – making sure that we’re being a good influence on them and not them being a bad influence on us. If you feel someone’s being a bad influence either talk to them or find some other friends. If you ever think of being in business with someone who doesn’t believe in God, just think carefully about your shared values, morals and ways of doing things before committing to something.