Grace in All Relationships
1 Peter 3
The last two weeks we tackled probably the most controversial topic I've discussed since Crosswalk graciously asked me to be one of their contributing writers. The feedback via email and/or Facebook was the highest it has ever been.
Most people agreed with me that its really foolish to engage in a dating relationship with an unbeliever, because a relationship could lead to marriage, compromise the believing partner's faith, and ultimately lead to marital strife. I feel the Bible is pretty clear on this subject. However, I want to continue the discussion by talking of God's grace.
There are two worlds. There is the ideal world, where everyone follows Biblical principles and everything turns our right. Then there is the real world or the fallen world where sinners like myself make poor choices that lead to unhealthy consequences.
We live in that last world, my friend. And so it is in this world that we must look to the Scriptures for another controversial and yet foundational principle: grace.
Romans 5:20 says that "where sin abounds, grace does much more abound." John 1:16 speaks of the nature of God has being full of "grace upon grace." The image here in the original Greek text is that of waves crashing against the ocean.
The message in these two verses is this. There is a grace from God bigger than the biggest sins. Jesus Christ shed His blood and died, bearing the punishment for our sins, so that you can I can experience the unconditional love of God. That's grace.
And it is this grace that must enter our relationships.
The Bible teaches very strongly that Christians shouldn't date unbelievers. But we live in a sinful, fallen world where Christians do make unwise choices or have complicated situations.
This means that God can use you in your situation. I got an email this week from a lady who said, "I'm glad my husband married me when I was unsaved, because thru Him I became a Christian."
This is grace. This is God using a less than ideal situation to bring about His glory and this lady's salvation. The Bible is full of such examples.
In fact Peter addresses such marriages. In 1 Peter 3, he gives clear instructions for a spouse who is married to an unbeliever. In Paul's letters to Timothy we read of Timothy's upbringing in a home with an unbelieving father.
So if you are a believer married to an unbeliever—your situation isn't hopeless. Pray that God uses you to be the light your spouse needs. If you've made choices in relationships that are less than ideal, move forward from here, grab hold of God's grace, and keep going.
And if you're growing up in a home with an unbelieving Dad or Mom, know that you should love them as much as if they were a Bible-believing Christian.
As Christians, we should follow, obey, and study God's Word. But when we fall short or others fall short, we should apply grace.
Daniel Darling is an author and pastor with a passion for young people. He is the author of Teen People of the Bible, a 100-day devotional for teens. Visit him on Facebook by clicking here, or at danieldarling.com.