The Will of God Dictates Divorce for Those Unequally Yoked In Marriage

R.C. Sproul never publicly taught or stated agreement with my understanding on divorce for the unequally yoked.  I had hoped to speak with him on the subject in order to get his opinion, but he became ill and the opportunity was lost. 

In writing on the topic of the will of God, R. C. Sproul made two points that this writer finds of great interest for those who are born-again and who are bound by marriage to someone who has not experienced the new birth in Christ Jesus.

First point, God has three distinct wills:

God’s sovereign decretive will—all that God has decreed since before the foundation of the world.

God’s preceptive will—all that God has commanded His children do and what to not do.

Finally, God’s will of disposition—that which pleases God.

Insight into these three distinct wills is seen in 1 Timothy 2:4 where Paul explained to Timothy that it is God’s desire for “all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” In that statement we see God’s will of disposition, that God desires all men to be saved—God takes no pleasure in sending men to their eternal torment. Yet God’s sovereign decretive will has determined that the road to destruction will be much broader than the road to salvation, and we know not why as God has not chosen to tell us the reason.  Men harden their hearts against the mercy and grace offered to them.  The unregenerate are pleased to practice lawlessness rather than to submit to God’s preceptive will, which commands all men to obey the gospel of Jesus Christ.

R.C. Sproul’s Second Point Regarding the Will of God

Dr. Sproul’s first point on the three distinct wills of God is foundational for proper knowledge and understanding of the second point: “God’s sovereign ‘permission’ of human sin is not His moral approval.” This point is most closely aligned with God’s sovereign decretive will from Sproul’s first point.  Our task is to apply this second point to the discussion of unequally yoked marriages. God has commanded through His preceptive will against all unequally yoked relationships including and especially marriages. Scripture makes it abundantly clear that God is very displeased (God’s will of disposition) when His children yoke themselves to unbelievers. The life and death of Jehoshaphat is an excellent example of God’s heart and mind on the faithful joining themselves to or with the godless. A prophet of God asked Jehoshaphat (an eminently godly king of Judah who married off his son to the godless daughter of Ahab and Jezebel), “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord and so bring wrath on yourself from the Lord” (2 Chron. 19:2)? This was a rhetorical question—the answer is an emphatic “BY NO MEANS, MAY IT NEVER BE!”

Therefore every regenerate man or woman of God who is married to an unbeliever can be assured that, at least when it comes to their marriage, they are outside of God’s preceptive will.  For God has prohibited unequally yoked marriages scores of times in His word. These very same Christians are also outside of God’s will of disposition—God is not pleased as bad company always corrupts good morals. It is true that they are within God’s sovereign decretive will (as is every single living being in thought, word and deed both good and evil), which is to say that God has allowed them to sin in this godless marriage, but as R. C. Sproul said, “God’s sovereign ‘permission’ of human sin is not His moral approval”.

Most today fail to recognize unequally yoked marriages as godless marriages because the church, in a monumental failure to understand God’s heart and mind on this subject, concocted a man-made doctrine for marriage that defies reason.  The pernicious nature of this doctrine is concealed by its Roman Catholic name “holy matrimony”.  The church concedes the biblical teaching that unequally yoked marriages are outside of God’s preceptive and dispositional will.  Yet inexplicably the church has granted “holy matrimony” the power to sanctify unequally yoked marriages.  Does the reader understand what “holy matrimony” has done to God’s prohibition, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers”?  The man-made doctrine of “holy matrimony” essentially states that divinely forbidden marriages are mystically transubstantiated into marriages that suddenly earn God’s moral approval.  This is like the serpent telling Eve “You certainly shall not die”.  It is entirely illogical, utter nonsense.  Why the church failed to follow the godly examples of Ezra and Nehemiah who entered into covenants with God to have all the people divorce their godless spouses will forever be a sad chapter for Christ’s church. The church desperately needs to discover its error and correct their doctrine on divorce for the unequally yoked.

It is awful when God’s children fall into sin, but it is infinitely worse for them to continue practicing the sin. Disobedience demands repentance. God never gives His moral approval to a sinful path simply because men stubbornly refuse to turn around. God’s children must always walk in the ways of the Lord. God has made it abundantly clear that marriage between two believers is the way of the Lord. Making a covenant with God to divorce your godless spouse is the biblical and reasonable course for those living in an unequally yoked marriage. Remaining single or remarriage to a genuine believer are both biblically depicted as getting back in line with the will and ways of God.

Believers who choose to remain unequally yoked are only in God’s will by way of His sovereign decrees, which mercifully provides an allowance for their sin. However, they are disobeying God’s command (Preceptive will) against such unions, and all godless unions fall short of the mark of pleasing our Heavenly Father (God’s will of disposition).  It is an undeniable truth that those who remain unequally yoked are outside of the will of God.  This does not mean that these are unregenerate as they would not be unequally yoked if they were not saved by grace, but they are living in disobedience to the will of God by being unequally yoked in marriage.  Christ said, “If you love me, then you will obey my commandments.”  How much has their unbelieving spouse thwarted this obedience?  Since bad company corrupts good morals (1 Corinthians 15:33), it is unthinkable to believe the regenerate spouse has not been greatly obstructed in their obedience of faith.

For the unequally yoked believer, divorce brings God’s child into compliance with God’s preceptive will while, at the same time, allowing them to be more pleasing to God (His will of disposition). Divorce in such cases would also be part of God’s sovereign decretive will; so then, divorce places the unequally yoked believer fully inside of the will of God—all three distinct wills. Finally, God’s prodigal child is back under the Father’s preceptive will and His dispositional will—a joyful place to be, and the place where all of God’s children belong.

THE SWORD OF CHRSIT: Separated From All That Is In the World–No Exceptions

Jesus said,

“Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life” Luke 18:29.

Jesus said that He was the Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28), and that “the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath” (2:27).  Both institutions (Sabbath & marriage) were made for believers to provide respites from this sinful world.  We must not make either an idol to be served.  I am aware that marriage preceded the Fall, but that does not prevent Christian marriage from fulfilling this function.  On the Sabbath we set one day in seven aside to find our rest in the Lord God.  It is a day of rest and a day to be separate from the world and near the Lord.  We must understand that marriage was also given for man, not man for marriage.  Jesus is also the Lord of marriage.  It is God’s word that says, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14).  The Lord’s Day (Sabbath) and Christian Marriage are both institutions God provided to help give us rest and to help us draw near to God.  If it is inconceivable for God’s children to spend the Lord’s Day in bars and brothels, then it should be equally inconceivable for them to spend their lives in an unequally yoked marriage.  Many in the church unwittingly hold to the doctrine that man was given for marriage, not marriage for man.  In so doing they make divorce inaccessible to believers bound to unbelievers forcing them into a marriage that is disobedient to God (God’s preceptive will), displeasing in His sight (God’s will of disposition) and very detrimental for the child of God.

Remaining unequally yoked, by following the church’s man-made doctrinal teaching that the marriage covenant supersedes God’s commandment against being unequally yoked, extends the years lived with nothing more than God’s permission to sin. And as we have discovered: “God’s sovereign ‘permission’ of human sin is not His moral approval” The path of remaining an unequally yoked child of God remains morally reprehensible to God. Precious Lord Jesus, open the eyes of your church on earth to see the errors of their ways, and show them the path to both corporate and personal repentance.

Biblical view on divorce


About Josiah Portermaine

By the abundant lovingkindness and grace of God I have been in Christ for over 45 years. I live to love and serve God in whatever capacity He has in mind. And can do no other but to follow my conscience as scripture and reason guide me threw the shadow lands. I raised 5 children one of whom now sees clearly as he walks on streets of gold. I have a Masters of Divinity from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City. I own a business in Nebraska, but I live to serve God. I have preached in three different churches for a period of 10 years. I love preaching God's word. Because of my divorce I am not currently serving in any official capacity, but I know that the Lord has a ministry for me. My goal is to write a book on the topic of divorce when unequally yoked, and this blog is a step in that direction. No brother or sister in Christ should divorce their spouse solely upon the advice they find here or anywhere else for that matter. Immerse yourself in God's word, and go before the Lord--wait upon Him and He will make it clear when the time comes that you are called to repent of your unequally yoked marriage. Christ's continued blessings, Joe View all posts by Josiah Portermaine

44 responses to “The Will of God Dictates Divorce for Those Unequally Yoked In Marriage

  • Edgar

    Brother Joe.

    My name is Edgar.

    I commented before about my wife being the unbeliever. But this was quite some time ago and I did not check on this article at all since commenting.

    I have left my unbelieving wife for many reasons. The main one. I’m dieing inside being with her.

    Like an internal volcano almost. Been together almost 5 years, married for about 3. Left finally last Friday. 03/31/23.

    And to my surprise. I receive 9 email notifications from this post about replies.

    I think that was my confirmation that I made the right decision. That I listened and moved when asked to move. That I followed.

    I’m deeply saddened for her but like Father has said, it’s not up to me to change her.

    As some point of reading scripture, I have realized consciously that the true battle is for your mind and direction through life and death. Not just this 5 sense perspective. But the life direction to wherever your headed. The final stop. The end of the road. The fork in the road.

    I cannot imagine what not having Father in my life would be like but like scripture has said, 2 beings together that are unequally yoked is forbidden.

    In video games growing up, forbidden was like, not part of the game. Like the rules are set and there is no changing them.

    To go against the rules is to not play the game.

    Although we all have to play this game.

    I give you 2 keys. Life and Death. Pick one.

    It just so happens that Father gives life while the other one “perspectively shows life given.”

    My grandma raised me. I understand with my experience the love that Father has shown me.

    It is a internal warmth of peace and like a hug of a newborn. It’s just out of this world…

    I hope my words has blessed you as it has blessed me to write them.

    Thank you Father. 🙏

    Please contact me through email.

    Thank you.

    Stay Blessed.

    – Edgar

  • Jen

    I wish you would include commentary on those unequally yoked after marriage, as in my case. I don’t believe God would have me divorce for being unequally yoked, nor do I find scripture to confirm that. Paul states quite the contrary! Thanks..

    • Josiah Portermaine

      Thanks for your perspective. Being unequally yoked in marriage affects believers the same regardless of how we came into that condition. Paul provides the only way that a believer should remain married to an unbeliever in 1 Corinthians 7:12-14. You will want to read my article on that passage as it relates to 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1. You did not mention how long you have been unequally yoked. That makes a huge difference. When you first become a new believer in Christ Jesus you still have a great deal of your old habits; the very same habits you shared with your husband. As you begin the process of growing in your new faith you will repent of more and more worldly behaviors and thought patterns. The gap between you and your husband will only grow unless of course the Lord God regenerates him some time later. In time, all unequally yoked believers feel a tremendous pain from these relationships. A pain that cannot be remedied without the salvation of the spouse or divorce. If you are young and especially if you have not yet had children, then it is of the utmost importance that you expose your husband to the gospel and see whether or not he hardens or softens his heart toward Christ. I take no pleasure in telling people with good marriages to consider listening to the Holy Spirit as He may be asking you to dissolve this godless marriage.

      I compare two forbidden types of marriage in Scripture: unequally yoked (directly forbidden) and gay marriage (indirectly forbidden). If you were in a gay marriage and then became a believer, would you remain in the marriage and feel that God would not have you divorce for being in a gay marriage? Both are forbidden in Scripture, but only unequally yoked is directly forbidden, yet modern Christians would agree to divorce a gay spouse, but not an unbelieving spouse.

      Jen, follow your conscience and the Holy Spirit. My blog is intended to inform the mind so that the conscience is properly instructed because when we do not have Biblical principles in our minds, then our consciences cannot work as efficiently being ill informed. The better we know God’s word the sharper our conscience becomes. The Holy Spirit can instruct us properly immediately, but we quench Him and ultimately grieve Him because we follow our carnal desires first, then consider our conscience (often poorly informed by our carnal desires, which prohibit sufficient bible study), and only once we hit rock bottom in our lives do we actually listen to the Holy Spirit. If you are and remain a carnal Christian, then you are closer to your husband, but the more you grow in your life with Christ, the further you and your husband will be.

      Finally, the unbelieving spouse begins to resent and hate the believing spouse. This is found in several gospel passages including but not limited to the Sword of Christ passage. Very often, by the time the believing spouse turns hard against the believing spouse, children are involved and it becomes so much harder to dissolve the marriage as so many more entanglements have taken root. I write Jen, to help my fellow believers see their future and escape their forbidden marriage earlier in the process so as to make it less painful albeit still extremely painful. I am always available for one on one conversations if you are troubled or if you have further questions. I am so glad God has chosen you to be in His family. I hope you grow well and honor our Father and the Lord Jesus. I actually know that you will because He never leaves us and we ALWAYS grow to maturity if we actually have life eternal.
      Christ’s Continued Blessings, Joe

      • Jen

        Jo, thanks for responding. I’ve been married 28 years, saved 22 years. We have 2 grown children, 1 teen. The gospel has been shared several times. My Pastor met with him once where he said the sinners prayer but it was not from the heart. He is strongly scientific minded. I agree we do grow apart, we do not have much in common, but that doesn’t stop me from growing in Christ and serving Him. I also know if anything did happen, if we did divorce, I would remain single and serve the rest of my days. So I’m not interested in being equally yoked with someone else. I’ve also know sisters whose husband’s came to faith on their deathbeds.. We never know, but I’m pretty sure if I upped and told my husband I’m out because he refuses to believe that I will be putting a stumbling.block and sour taste in his mouth. He would resent my faith, my God, where right now he’s just blinded from it..

      • Josiah Portermaine

        Thanks for providing more details. Follow your heart (conscience) and the Holy Spirit. God is more than capable of saving your husband or communicating to you that He wants you to dissolve this unequally yoked marriage. Until then, by all means follow the course you have been on for 28 years. But you are not responsible for saving your husband. God changes the heart. If you think we give ourselves to God without Him first removing our heart of stone and giving us a heart of flesh, then you do not fully understand the gospel. The Holy Spirt quickens us (regenerates us) and only then do we actually turn to Christ and have peace with God. Unbelievers turn to Jesus in a different way that leaves them in their sins. It is just a formal religion to them. True believers are so because God scooped them out of the waters (OT metaphor for the lost peoples of earth) and made them His children. It would be cruel to say you are leaving your husband because he refuses to believe. It would also be inaccurate biblically speaking. If you did leave it would be because it is God’s will that we be single or equally yoked. God has always forbid unequally yoked marriages in both testaments. The proof of our love to God is obedience. So you would tell your husband that I love you with all my heart, but I love God more and he desires that I not be in an unequally yoked marriage. What you do cannot harden his heart beyond the reach and power of God. And if you remained single, then if and when God chose to quicken your husband’s spirit, then you could simply remarry this man as your brother in Christ. Of course, if you divorce him, he will likely remarry. I don’t know him but the typical unbeliever generally goes after romantic relationships pretty quickly.
        I wish you the absolute peace of Christ Jen,

      • Josiah Portermaine

        Final concern for you. Divorce is extremely painful and costly. Many wives can barely make ends meet after divorcing their husbands, so I don’t want to convince you to do something that could make your life more difficult and less peaceful. So do not just have a simple change of heart and file for divorce. If you ever have this change of heart and mind, then petition God to make certain it is entirely His will for you. If you are in His will, then you can endure all things in Christ Jesus.

  • Owen Murray

    My wife of 32 years left the Evangelical faith to become a Roman Catholic, a Romanist. I took her out of Romanism when we married, but now she is returning to it. I don’t know if she was ever one of God’s redeemed. This article is a real paradigm shift for me. But it rings true.

    • Josiah Portermaine

      More reading will help answer questions you are no doubt thinking upon.
      This article is long, but it provides great assistance in understanding whether or not you should begin to ask God’s Spirit to convict you of a need to divorce an unbelieving wife. Also, the article “What is an unequally yoked marriage”.

      You will not find support in most churches, but it is the Lord Jesus and not man (even the church) whom we serve. We follow the head and not the body in cases where the body has gone astray. I will contact you privately with my email in the event you would like to communicate more on this doctrine.

      Christ’s Continued Blessings,

  • Dane

    This article was a huge help to me. I have been in an unequally yoked marriage for just over a year.
    Long story short, I became a believer about a year ago. Since then, the Spirit has begun to change me. Most relevant to my situation is that I now believe in “traditional” marriage roles consistent with what the Bible says and I would like to implement those in my marriage.
    My unbelieving spouse says she would rather go to hell than believe in these marriage roles and furthermore says she will never be a believer.
    The last year has been very difficult. She moved out of our home about a month and a half of ago and we are still separated.
    I am at a loss. I know that God hates divorce (as do I). But I feel like we are at a point where we cannot be in a harmonious marriage.
    Therefore, I have begun to consider the “D word.”
    I look forward to reading other articles as I continue to seek guidance from the Lord and his Word on what I should do.
    Thank you for your work. Truly helpful to me.

    • Josiah Portermaine

      Praise God for your salvation in Christ Jesus! I am very sorry to hear about your wife’s response to what the Lord is doing in your life. Does God hate divorce? Read my article with that as the title. You’ve much to read. God can change the heart of your wife, but we do not know that it is His will to do so. Draw very near to God. Listen carefully to the Holy Spirit as He guides you. Never act alone…go with the Lord and His Holy Spirit. You must follow your conscience, but your conscience must be squarely in line with the word of God. The traditions of Godly men can even be wrong (remember the Pharisees and Sadducees). Read my articles on 2 Corinthians 6:14 and 1 Corinthians 7:12-16. Educate your conscience and then act when it is clear what you are to do. Know that you will have to go against the traditions of men in order to follow the Lord. I am always available for direct questions.

      Christ’s Continued Blessings,

      • Dane

        Thank you for the reply, Joe. I have been reading more on your blog.

        I am struggling to understand how Paul’s writing in 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 serves as the four conditions that the unbelieving spouse must consent to (I have read your article multiple times). I am just not seeing how verses 14-15 connect as the conditions. I will read again and continue to pray on the subject.

        Although, frankly in my case, it may be moot. My spouse was very clear when she separated that she would not live with me in (my interpretation of) a Christian marriage. Thus, verse 15 pretty clearly applies to me.

        Any additional guidance on the Corinthians article or any of your other thoughts are appreciated.

        Thanks again for your help. I feel you are one of the few who actually appreciates and understands where I am currently at and how I am trying to act in accordance with God’s word.

        So, again thank you for your writings.

      • Josiah Portermaine

        No surprise that you are finding my article on 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 difficult. It is difficult. At the end of the article I note that the “four conditions” are not actually conditions but rather outcomes that the believer should expect if and when the unbelieving spouse gives their “consent to live with”. You should start reading the article at the paragraph that begins with, “The Greek word σᴜνεᴜɗoҡεῑ is translated into English as ‘consents’”. I want to make sure you are clear on Paul’s statement being a conditional clause. Paul’s epistles are written to believers, not unbelievers, and this passage is referring to marriages with one of each, so it is the believers that Paul expects to follow his instructions. When verse 15 states, “Yet if the unbelieving one leaves, let him leave…” I do not understand this to mean that all that is necessary to meet Paul’s condition of “consents to live with” is that the unbeliever simply refuses to separate or divorce. As I said, to consent to something must mean more than doing nothing. Additionally, it is the believer who must be willing to start the dissolution of the marriage if consent by the unbeliever is withdrawn. Paul is merely stating that when the unbeliever leaves or starts the divorce process obviously they have failed to give their consent and the believer “…is not under bondage in such cases, but God has called us to peace.” Notice the “us” in the verse 15? All believers are called to have peace in their lives. That would include the believer who is unequally yoked to an unbeliever. Therefore, the outcomes that Paul tells believers they should expect from the unbeliever giving consent can be understood as the conditions of consent or said another way, the outcomes portray what the “living with” will look like for the married couple. I understand that other translations such as the New King James Version appear to have less force. NKJV reads, “If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her” (1 Cor. 7:12). The translated word, “willing”, though less forceful, does not change Paul’s clear meaning. The believer is not the one who has to be willing to live with the unbeliever. If that is what Paul said, then we could draw the obviously unbiblical deduction that man serves marriage rather than marriage serves man. If the believer had to decide they were willing to “live with” the unbeliever, then they would be agreeing to live the life the unbeliever was living, which of course would be unthinkable. This is why Paul made the outcomes (conditions) for the unbelieving spouse. The unbelieving spouse has to be “willing to live with” or “consent to live with” the believer, which clearly infers living as a believing couple and family. If the unbeliever is unwilling to live with the believer as believers live, then they do not consent to live with and the believer, as the one Paul is instructing is to take a stand and end the marriage unless the unbeliever made that move first. Either way the believer is to have a spouse who is becoming sanctified, children being raised in the faith, a peaceful home meaning the absence of war (a house divided against itself cannot stand), and finally the unbelieving spouse must agree to the gospel truth that Jesus is the only way of salvation. The unbelieving spouse does not have to be saved, but they have to agree that salvation comes through Christ and His atoning sacrifice for sins. So many have bought into the myth that salvation comes from the will of man but that is simply as far from the truth as one can get (see John 1:12-13 and Romans 9:16). An unbelieving spouse must give intellectual ascent to Christ’s role as savior, and if they wanted forgiveness, then they would begin to repent and cry out to God for mercy. But the minimum requirement to “consent to live with” is that they recognize Jesus as the Way, the Truth and the Life. There is no other name…
        Dane, God desires that His children be bound together with fellow believers. It would seem God is working with you in such a way so that you will have an equally yoked wife in His timing. We have unbelievers all around us and we pour out our love upon them, but we must never become bound to them. You will need to think long on the difference. It is for such concepts that meditation is critical. Always have verses in mind when meditating. Again, I am sick to my stomach for you as I know your pain. I have experienced it myself only I thought my wife was saved for a very long time. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. He is faithful. Now is the time to spend as much time with Him in prayer and in the word. We learn much better when we are experiencing suffering–especially heartache.
        Continue to follow your conscience and do the right thing and you cannot go wrong. If a divorce takes place their are some who will think you have sinned, but that is not necessary for us to go through certain divorces. Divorce itself is never a sin. Many sins bring about divorces, but nowhere does the Bible refer to divorce as a sin.
        Christ’s Continued Blessings, Joe

      • Dane

        Thank you once again. The Corinthians article is making more sense. Thank you also for the article on Malachi as that helped me see the true meaning of the “God hates divorce” statement. It seems that God hates divorce between two believers, which makes sense and is consistent with other parts of the New and Old Testament.

        I continue to seek the Lord’s guidance. It is challenging frankly as my spouse continually tells me (and our children) that this situation is all my fault. I was the one who “changed” by becoming saved last year and interpreting Christianity in a way that is contrary to her beliefs and a majority of modern society. Furthermore, her separating from me is my fault. If only I believed the “love” part of Christianity, this situation would not be taking place.

        And of course, trying to explain position to my young children is almost impossible.

        Would it be possible to contact you directly with any specific questions I may have? I certainly will be judicious as I don’t want to be a burden.

        Thank you so much again. I can’t emphasize enough the value I get from your site.

      • Josiah Portermaine

        Once again my heart breaks for you. I had hoped children were not yet involved. You did not change out of stubbornness, but the Lord God changed you. John MacArthur calls regeneration the single most transformative action that can take place in the life of a person; even more than physical death if I recall his sermon on the subject. I would agree with him. I will email you my information so that we can speak more readily.
        Christ’s Continued Blessings,

      • Jennifer

        Dane I can totally relate. Married 25 years, saved 20 now. It’s been extremely rough, by God’s grace I’ve gotten through hard times. My husband still shows no desire to even consider the possibility of the need of our Savior. I’ve always taken Paul’s words as a command from Jesus. I stay until my husband chooses to leave or asks me to leave. And if that happened, I’d remain single. Even if he passed (as that frees you to remarry), I think I’d remain single and just serve the Lord. Paul even recommends that..:) I’m a bit surprised by this article, wouldn’t expect such leniency on divorce from Sproul..

      • Josiah Portermaine

        Here, you have a home where you can feel safe and where you can explore more deeply what God’s word actually says on the topic of being unequally yoked in marriage. Believers who have been blessed with believing spouses simply cannot relate to the pain and deep sorrow experience by those of us who are and have been bound together with an unbeliever. RC Sproul was married to Vesta, a dear believer in the Lord Jesus, for his entire married life prior to his death. Nevertheless, their immediate family did experience the pain and hardship of an unequally yoked marriage. That marriage ended in a divorce and that loved one moved into the warm and loving home of RC and Vesta. They did not judge their loved one, but loved as Christ loves.

        My use of Dr. Sproul’s teaching on the Three Distinct Wills of God applies his teaching to divorce. To my knowledge Sproul never applied the three distinct wills of God to the divorce issue. But I think my use of God’s distinct wills is accurate here in this article. I earnestly believe that the church is far more prohibitive on allowing divorce than God Himself teaches in the Scriptures, which is why I named my blog

        Please reply anytime and I will happily share my personal email and we could talk privately if you desired. It is always the case that we follow first, the word of God, then the Holy Spirit, third our conscience, which should be guided by the first two and finally by extrabiblical teachings by godly men such as this blog. Know that we need one another. For many reasons, one of which is that we can misinterpret the word of God and so inform our conscience poorly. Other believers who have earnestly studied the scriptures and who have overcome presuppositions can give us new perspectives on truths we’ve never seen. That is what I hope to do for the body of Christ on this doctrine. Nevertheless, these sources of knowledge never supersede the first three pillars God gave us to keep us on the narrow path. I too take Paul’s words (all of the word of God is included) as from the Lord. I only take command texts as commands; there is a distinction worth noting. I earnestly believe that the interpretation from the church fathers has a HUGE influence over us, and in the case of being unequally yoked I think that influence is unbiblical. If we simply read 1 Cor. 7:12-16 and 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1 we could readily see a powerful command in Paul’s second letter and wise counsel with some latitude in his first letter. So why are we not immediately following the command language of 2 Corinthians 6:14f? My blog explores this very question in full. A book I’m writing will do this better Lord willing.
        I would encourage you to read as much of the blog as you feel it to be helpful, but for sure the following article on the blog:
        Christ’s Continued Blessings,

    • Jen

      Dane, as Paul states, if the unbeliever leaves, you are free.. Blessings and God’s wisdom for your decisions! Jen

  • Anonymous

    I am married to an unbeliever. At times I have thought about divorce, but I haven’t pursued it because I’ve believed it to be against God’s will. “12To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If a brother has an unbelieving wife and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13And if a woman has an unbelieving husband and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. 14For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his believing wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.

    15But if the unbeliever leaves, let him go. The believing brother or sister is not bound in such cases. God has called youb to live in peace. 16How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?”

    This passage is what has kept me in my marriage. How do you counter Paul’s teaching here?

    • Josiah Portermaine

      The answer to your question is in 2 articles on the blog, but read a third first. Read in this order: First, “What is an unequally yoked marriage?” Do not be quick to say you are unequally yoked. Know what I mean by that phrase. If that is you, then read, Second, “1 Cor. 7:14: What is Paul’s meaning? The unbelieving Husband or Wife is sanctified. Finally, my favorite article is complicated so read it at a time of day when your mind is at its zenith. Third, 1 Cor 7:12-16 Properly Interpreted Strengthens the Case for Unequally Yoked Divorce found in 2 Cor 6:14-7:1.

      After reading these pray and ask God for His will in this area of your life. You should draw near to God through the Holy Spirit. You do not want to get a divorce that is against the Word and will of God. You also do not want to be in a marriage against the Word and will of God.

      I am always available to communicate with you and answer any additional questions.

      Christ’s Continued Blessings,

    • Jen

      This is my situation. Saved after marriage. I know Paul is suggesting, not commanding, but I trust his years with Christ gave him the wisdom to know the heart of Christ better then any of us! Blessings

      • Josiah Portermaine

        I would be remiss if I did not show you one more concept. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 7:10-16 first says “Now to the married I command, not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife.” This is the Lord’s command to those who are in Christian marriages (both in Christ). NO divorce allowed. Then Paul says, “But to the rest I, not the Lord, say”, I contend that Paul is not about to give the same exact advice; otherwise why say anything at all. It is obvious that if an unbeliever leaves a believer that the believer is not bound in such situations because, after all, what could they do to stop them? If someone is not in Christ, then they are their own master and if they want to leave, their Christian spouse has no power to prevent them from leaving. But all of this is actually Paul’s comment in verse 15. Paul states the obvious, to be certain that nobody gets hung-up here, but only after he makes a bigger point. The problem is that everyone uses verse 15 as their commentary on what Paul is saying in verses 12-14, but that is entirely incorrect. Verse 15 really stands apart as a simple clarification in the event that the unbeliever simply leaves. So verses 12-14 are saying something different from verses 10-11, yet verse 15 made people jump to the wrong conclusion. The New American Standard Bible uses a word that is correctly translated from the Greek to help us understand. Verse 12, “…if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he must not divorce her.” Then verse 13 repeats this statement for the wife. You see Jen, Paul is saying that the unbelieving spouse must give their consent to “live with” the believing spouse. Webster defines consent as: “compliance in or approval of what is done or proposed by another.” And the archaic definition, which would be even closer to the first Century says, “to be in concord in opinion or sentiment.” Paul is saying that the unbelieving spouse must consent to living as the believer now must live. This means that the unbeliever must not fight and argue against the ways of the Lord. If the unbeliever can live with the believer in peace and refuse to object to the ways of Christ Jesus, then the marriage can continue. This type of willingness to accept the Christian life likely means a soft heart exists toward the gospel and the marriage may soon cease to be unequally yoked as the second spouse will soon be regenerated as well. But Paul insists that this consent be given and followed. If it is, then the believing spouse must not divorce their unbelieving spouse. But if the unbelieving spouse does not give such consent AND also refuses to leave the marriage as verse 15 mentions, then it becomes the responsibility of the believing spouse to follow the biblical mandate Paul provides here in this passage.
        Either way, the life a Christian is to be one of peace. Peace with God, peace in our own hearts and peace in our marriage and peace in our local church. Grace is our entrance into the Christian life and Peace is the outcome. Paul simply says, if the consent is actually given, then you have peace within the home and the children will be brought up in the fear and admonition of the Lord. The spouses will be in general agreement on virtually everything important and their will be peace in the home. If that consent is not given and followed, then Paul is instructing the believer to dissolve the unequally yoked union. We cannot expect the unbelieving spouse to follow Paul’s instructions because unbelievers do not care what Jesus or God’s word says, so it is not at all uncommon for unbelievers to stay in the marriage and fight every step of the way. We cannot wait for them to divorce us because they may never do so and they may never give their consent to live with us in peace. In this scenario Paul’s instructions would be useless. We would be in a contentious home and have no power to dissolve the contentious, cancerous marriage.
        In Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians he makes his case even clearer and stronger using a command: 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1. Bear in mind that a second letter to the same churches will often clarify anything misunderstood from the earlier letter. Read and pray over this passage in light of what Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 7. As always, never go against the Holy Spirit or your conscience. Those two must be your guide. But know that your conscience is informed by what you think, and on this subject you can find a great deal of company that will tell you that marriage for you is forbidden. But after so many years of lacking peace in your marriage you will see things differently and say that these multitudes of believers have bought into a lie. My blog is intended to refute these false beliefs on marriage and divorce and remarriage. I agree with virtually everything else I read from the Puritans (those great physicians of the soul), Jonathan Edwards, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, RC Sproul, and scores of others. But I have discovered a misapprehension on this one doctrine and I aim to correct it in the church. So much fruit will come from following God’s actual will in this area.
        Christ’s Continued Blessings, Joe

      • Jen

        Thanks Joe. I will continue to pray.. There have been times over the years the flesh wanted to leave, but I never felt led to. Early on my husband put up a fight. He gradually softened and now says “whatever makes you happy”. Our kids went to church with me until they were old enough to choose. I never wanted to force them as I feel that’s what religion does.

        I do feel my prayer is focused on when my youngest is ready to move on. When husband and I are alone. That’s when it will get interesting.. I do know this is not my home, and as long as I can walk in the Spirit in greater measure each day, and not gratify the desires of the flesh, serve the Lord., give Him the glory in all things, and just rest in His peace, in Him, then I’ll be good. What my husband brings to the table the Lord uses to grow me. I’m thankful for that. He truly does use all things for our good and His glory!
        Blessing brother and thank you for your ministry..

      • Josiah Portermaine

        You sound pretty mature in your faith. If you think of my blog in the future consider providing me updates as to how your situation is progressing. I like to know how believers are dealing with unequally yoked marriages. I only have my own experiences, so it is very useful for me to hear how God is helping others cope and/or make a decision to dissolve the marriage. The degree to which EVERYONE should seek a divorce is unknown to me. That is one reason why I insist the Holy Spirit and their own conscience make the determination and not someone who sees what God actually said and realizes that divorce is not a sin at all. If it were, the Bible would not say that God divorced Israel and Judah. The problem exists in such enormous numbers because the church missed God’s instruction in 1 Corinthians 7. Had the church nailed this down from the beginning, then most of the unequally yoked marriages would not have taken place. I am convinced that if the church stance was to repent of unequally yoked marriages, then young people would be far more careful to understand the gospel well enough to know whether they or their fiancé were actually saved. Doesn’t help those like you and my good friend Brian who got saved shortly after marriage. He too has gone 20 plus years unequally yoked to a STRONG Catholic woman who refused to let their five kids even attend his church in their entire lives.
        All the best Jen, and Christ’s Continued Blessings,

      • Jen

        Oh Joe, yes repentance! I warn brothers and sisters in the dating scene all the time to not even connect with unbelievers. I’m shocked at the high percentage of believers that think it’s okay to marry an unbeliever. No way would I have had…

        By the way, some food for thought regarding why Paul expounded on it is I believe Saul was Sanhedrin and was most likely married with children. His wife obviously wanted nothing to do with his conversion and blasphemy (in Jewish eyes) and Paul was considered an adulterer in the faith. She probably left him, or told him to leave.

        Just my opinion from study.. 😁 Blessings brother! Appreciate you!

  • Donna

    Could you please tell me if you believe a Catholic and Christian marriage would qualify as unequally yoked? Such differences between us is difficult and pulling me from my Christian faith.

    • Josiah Portermaine

      Thank you for writing and for taking an interest in this important question. You can find a blog article titled, “What is an Unequally Yoked Marriage?” This article will answer your question and answer additional questions that I may not anticipate here. For two people, married or not, to be spiritually unequally yoked one of the two people must actually be born-again while the other is not. The biggest problem with this explanation is that most “Christians” know so little about biblical teaching on who is and who is not truly born-again that they cannot say for certain that even one person in a marriage is actually in Christ. Generally speaking, if a Catholic becomes born-again, they will soon leave Catholicism. Sadly, Christians from the denominations that sprang from the reformation of the fifteenth and sixteenth Centuries such as Lutheran, Presbyterian, Reformed, Anglican, Methodist, etc. are generally not populated with born-again people, which is what actually makes a person a Christian. Evangelicals have followed this pattern and are now primarily populated by formal Christians, which is a name for all those who take the name Christian without actually being in Christ Jesus or born-again. So then, it is not uncommon to have a marriage between a Catholic and a Protestant that is not unequally yoked because neither partner is actually born-again. However, if the “Christian” is actually born-again as Jesus explains in John 3, then they are likely unequally yoked in a marriage to a Catholic. Catholics become born-again all the time, but as I mentioned above, they will see the need to separate themselves from the Catholic church. They seek out a biblically centered church so that they can be spiritually fed. Please read the article mentioned above and feel free to ask further questions.
      Christ’s Blessings,

  • Patty

    Divorcing after 25yr marriage. I prayed for a breakthrough for my spouse. His actions and words are not of God’s will I married him out of lust- young, dumb hopeful and desperate. We were both brought up Christian but not practicing the faith. It’s been 6yrs that God called me- studying scripture is a necessity for a Christian to know anything about God. I live by the spirit- God’s will is my will. He has showed me who I am to him, his love his grace! I know he too loves his son who has a hardened heart. I thought God would bring him to repentance! My heart hurts for my husband and our marriage- the could’ves- if those that want to hear will hear. Those who ask will receive. My Father delivers, on his timing. My prayers have been answered and he holds my head high. I really didn’t think it would come to divorce. God’s will is for me to let go of all people that opens a door for Satan in my life. He said for me to get out of the way so he can save his son! The warfare is daily, being unequally yoked. My marriage is the final relationships I am to end. It hurts and scary. He commands us to be strong and courageous.
    God blessed my mess with 3 beautiful children and supplied me with everything I needed to raise them! Amen. I abide in Christ and pray for God’s people to wake up to God’s Grace and accept his love, especially his church! Jesus divides- he came to bring a sword, and he never said for just the unmarried or Jews. His blood covers all who accept it and abide in it. Thank you for your blog. I have delve deeper into scripture in divorce and marriage. God keeps affirming my decision to get out of the neglect and abuse.

    • Joe Porter

      I am proud of you as my sister in Christ. You will not hear that much if you are the one who pursued the divorce, but biblically you are following the ways of the Lord. Yes divorce does hurt and it is often scary, but it frees you to consider what the Lord has in store for you. Quoting Jesus Luke 18:29-30 says, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time and in the age to come, eternal life.” Jesus promised us many times as much in this lifetime if we would obediently remove ourselves from unequally yoked relationships to the children of Satan. This passage adds spouse to the other family members that were mentioned in the sword of Jesus passage (Matthew 10:34-36). How will Jesus bless us? In many ways, but certainly by providing His children with a house that can stand strong. A house where the inhabitants can love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength. And a house where they can do so together. “…every city or house divided against itself will not stand” (Matthew 12:25). Choose you this day whom you will serve. As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord. All of us.
      Christ’s Continued Blessings,

  • Rae

    Can you email me? I have prayed long and hard about this issue. I need someone to talk to.

    • Joe Porter

      I have responded to you through your email. If you have not seen it in your inbox then communicate to me through this method or email another comment using a different email to which I can respond.
      Christ’s Continued Blessings,

  • Nsongurua Udo

    I am so blessed by this post. God spoke to me about this but nobody believes me. They all say I did not hear from God. Can I email you.

    • Joe Porter

      I would enjoy hearing from you.
      Christ’s continued blessings!

      • Edgar

        I too am in a unequally yoked marriage.

        I knew about 3 years ago but for the sake of my child, I decided to stay.

        My wife was not a believer before me and still to this day, even after several occasions where Father has clearly spoken to her in some way, some fashion, she denies the truth of it. Believing that there has to be a balance to it. An “ostrich approach,” if you ask me.

        I believed I could help save her, clearly blinded by the fact that it’s not my job to change her.

        I was 25 when we met and she was 42 and I assumed Father brought me to her to change her. 5 years later, we have a 3 year old daughter together. But she will not get rid of her old life before me.

        She prays with my daughter before a meal when I’m home, but I don’t know how she is when I’m away. She smokes cigs, not around her but it’s clear that she still does. Being with her for the past 5 years, I have started smoking weed again. Falling into my sinful habits before her and it’s just not going to work out.

        I’m encouraged by this post as it has confirmed everything I’ve been feeling for the past 3 or so years.

        I plan to divorce this woman before this year is over.

        Thank you for the post. 🙏

      • Josiah Portermaine

        Thank you for writing your story. Divorce is not easy, so it must never be entered into lightly; however, God has commanded, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers” (2 Cor. 6:14, Also read through 7:1). Make sure the Holy Spirit is prompting you to follow this command. Paul did provide an exception to divorce in 1 Cor 7: 12-16, which I write about on the blog, so be sure to read that article too. I’ll try to tag it for you after my reply.
        Practical issues need to be considered prior to divorcing as well. You want to make certain that you have set yourself up to share the custody of your child. If your daughter lives in a believing home 50% of the time it will provide her opportunity to see how God’s people differ from the world as you teach her the precepts of God. If you have more questions of any kind be sure to ask. I generally take further discussions to our private emails so that you feel free to ask anything without an audience. Please read more of the blog Edgar. Discover teachers such as RC Sproul and Martyn Lloyd-Jones who is my favorite preacher and expositor of God’s word.
        Christ’s Continued Blessings,

  • Diandra Johnson

    Amen! The church MUST start teaching this! Along with sexual purity, and stop making people believe that just because you get married, you with be in His Will.
    I married an unbeliever. Then I had to repent and an going through divorce now. It has been an ugly uncomfortable and painful situation, because I also had a child with him. But God gives grace and I have learned the hard lesson of disobedience! I followed Ezra 10 because the enemy and the false church kept trying to guilt me into staying. Nope, I was out, because God was against me while in disobedience.

    • Joe Porter

      Thank you for sharing your experience. Sadly it is not just the false church that guilts Christians who are unequally yoked in marriage to stay in that condition. But we must answer to God. We must follow the scriptures. We must listen to our conscience. Sadly, because the conscience is informed through the mind, those who hear what the church teaches on this subject mostly have a conscience that is misinformed when it comes to what God’s word actually says about being outside the will of God when we are unequally yoked. Therefore, we must be careful not to ask believers to break with their conscience and divorce their godless spouse until their mind has been renewed by God’s word on the doctrine of being unequally yoked. This blog works toward teaching God’s will on this tremendous doctrine. It is very gratifying that you have discovered God’s truth on this doctrine. Now go and be unequally yoked no more. By that I include every vile association with this world. We are in the world, but we must never be of the world. As Martyn Lloyd-Jones frequently said, we are part of a new human race in Christ and we must be entirely different from those who are merely in Adam and of the world. How absurd it would to divorce our godless spouse only to date godless people, or to be best friends with a godless person, or engage in godless behaviors, or speak vile, silly or coarse words, etc. We must cease all instances of being unequally yoked with the world. We must love those who are lost and desire to introduce them to our Lord, but we must never join them in their sinfulness. It is our calling and privilege to be salt and light in this vile and dark world.
      Christ’s Continued Blessings,

  • Theodora

    “Finally, God’s prodigal child is back under the Father’s preceptive will and His dispositional will—a joyful place to be, and the place where all of God’s children belong.”.
    Before the believer leaves the pigstye to beg the Lord, the believer is still stuck trying to bring order and clean the pigstye chaos, to no avail. He has to have his efforts fail consistently to realize there is not even one connecting possibility, that can mix oil and water. It won’t blend because it is designed to be incompatible. Like the ox and the donkey. It is cruel to yoke these two beasts.

    “An ox and ass, being of different species and of very different characters, cannot associate comfortably, nor unite cheerfully in drawing a plough or a wagon. The ass being much smaller and his step shorter, there would be an unequal and irregular draft. Besides, the ass, from feeding on coarse and poisonous weeds, has a fetid breath, which its yoke fellow seeks to avoid, not only as poisonous and offensive, but producing leanness, or, if long continued, death; and hence, it has been observed always to hold away its head from the ass and to pull only with one shoulder.”

  • Theodora

    Regarding the will of God:. There’s no such thing as accidents, only incidents.

  • Eve Adam

    If an equally yoked marriage can produce bitterness it still can be dealt with but not with an unbeliever because they are unable to repent.

    Biblical Headship Vs Abusive Men ❃Paul Washer❃ – 6 mins

    • Theodora

      Yes, forcing diverse values destroys trust, resulting in a whole host of sins, such as ungodly jealousy, and the frustration of being unequally yoked can lead to serious sins such as rage, and even murder for example. Yet, almost all Christians in this bondage do not see this curse as the cause of their afflictions, so they ‘die’, committing ‘suicide’ slowly, all the while depending on odols, such as medications, gluttony, porn, drugs, etc., to treat the symptoms.
      God provides valid divorce, to prevent sins becoming worse, like sins that end up criminal, as a result of the sin of unequally yoked marriage.

      It is like nipping sin in the bud, preventing it from getting uglier.

  • Alan

    How do you explain 1 Corinthians 7:13?
    I’m curious because I’m in the unequally yoked marriage. However, she was a “Christian” at marriage but now no longer believes…and forbids me to believe.

    • Joe Porter

      Read the following article on this website: 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 Properly Interpreted Strengthens the Case for Unequally Yoked Divorce Found in 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1

      You are in a difficult position. You should be willing to do significantly more reading on my blog to figure out what you should do. Write me again once you have done more reading and still have questions. I would be happy to provide my phone number so that we can talk more extensively if that would help you. Generally speaking, I can only give general advice from God’s Word when I do not have more details. My heart goes out to you. Your wife was deluded to think that she was a Christian. People understand so little about the bible and they rely on ministers for their understanding and belief. The vast majority of “Christians” do not know enough about God’s Word to realize they are not and never have been in Christ. Being born in a Christian family or deciding to be a member of a Christian church does not a Christian make.
      Christ’s Continued Blessings,

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