Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Friday, July 18, 2014
Is it acceptable to God to marry a pagan? The Apostle Paul’s discourse in 2 Corinthians 6:14-16 discourages Christians strongly from becoming unequally yoked; that is, he cautions us against marrying an unbeliever. Who then, can please God by taking a pagan bride?
The answer depends on the timing and the person. Under the Old Covenant, taking a pagan bride was not always a bad thing, but most who took this action stumbled in their service to God. The Bible records Esau and Samson as prime examples. However, taking a pagan bride did not always bring ungodly behavior on the part of the groom. Sometimes, for a Godly man, it was an enormous blessing for the groom, but even more so for the bride.
Joseph was one man who had Godly success with a pagan bride. After Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream correctly, Pharaoh gave Joseph several things – his ring (an ancient credit card!) a new wardrobe of royal clothes, a gold chain necklace, a chauffeur-driven chariot (limousine of the era), a title (Zaphenath-Paneah), and last, but not least, a wife. Suddenly, Joseph had a pagan bride.
Her name was Asenath, which means “One who belongs to Naith”, Naith being an Egyptian goddess, the mother of the Nile delta. Thus, in charge of the whole land of Egypt (Genesis41:41), was an exalted Jew who called forth a Gentile bride from obscurity and paganism, married her, and set her next to himself in his seat of power. This pagan bride, who had been an obscure figure enslaved to idolatry, began to share in all the splendor and glory, fame, and power of her exalted husband, Joseph. Moreover, Joseph continued to serve God and avoid many of the pitfalls that others experienced with their pagan brides.
Was Joseph’s experience just dumb luck? No, it was grace, not luck. Former pagans can make good Christians. Ruth started life as a pagan, but recognized the value of the Living God. She became a model of faith and is one of only two women to have a chapter in the Bible. She is also one of only two women to be mentioned as part of the genealogy of Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:1-12).
As a practical matter, the Church of Jesus Christ started out with mostly former pagans as members, including many formerly pagan brides. The Jewish people had largely rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ, so if the Church were to grow, the only other choice was to enlist former pagans (Gentiles). The Apostle Paul was even God’s chosen emissary to bring the Good News to the pagan, Gentile world, and he was hugely successful in converting people whom the Jews considered heathens.
Lest we forget, another exalted Jew, our LORD Jesus Christ, chose His bride, the Church, out of the Gentile world. Just as Asenath, a pagan Gentile, was chosen out of obscurity to wed Joseph, the Church of Jesus Christ was called out of the paganism of the Gentile world to wed this exalted Jew. Jesus, a Jew, has been exalted to the throne of Heaven and is, even now, calling His bride, which contains many non-Jewish, Gentile people. The Bible teaches that someday Jesus Christ, the bridegroom, is coming to Earth for His bride. He has gone back to the Father to prepare a place for us, but He will soon return to receive His bride, the Church, out of this world.
It is normal for Jesus to welcome pagans into the New Covenant, the body of which is His Church, the bride for which He will return. Jesus loves His bride. Jesus died for His bride. Jesus protects His bride and sanctifies His bride. What a privilege it is to be a part of the bride of Christ! As a Gentile with faith in Him, I feel especially lucky that Jesus would accept me as part of His Church. I will someday share in the wealth and eternal riches of Christ for being part of His bride.
Paul’s warning about not marrying someone who has not yet accepted Jesus Christ as LORD and Savior is good advice. Under the New Covenant, we should not bring pagans into Christ’s Church through marriage to Christians, lest they be unequally yoked. However, former pagans have long been an important part of the bride of Jesus Christ. By accepting Him, they have made themselves ready for Him. “For the marriage of the Lamb is to come, and His wife has made herself ready.” (Revelation 19:7). Are you ready to be part of the bride of Jesus Christ?
In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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