In the book of Nehemiah, we read about Ammonites and Moabites.

On that day the Book of Moses was read aloud in the hearing of the people and there it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever be admitted into the assembly of God.

Nehemiah 13:1 (NIV)

However, we know King David’s great-grandmother, Ruth, was a Moabite. How, then, do we reconcile this with this statement from Nehemiah 13:1? 

At the beginning of Ruth, she makes a critical statement.

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God (emphasis added).

Ruth 1:16 (NIV)

We can consider this statement by Ruth a conversion to Judaism.

In Exodus 12:48-49, we have this intelligence:

“A foreigner residing among you who wants to celebrate the Lord’s Passover must have all the males in his household circumcised; then he may take part like one born in the land. No uncircumcised male may eat it. The same law applies both to the native-born and to the foreigner residing among you.”

Exodus 12:48-49 (NIV)

Therefore, those who convert to Judaism are no longer considered what they were. Instead, they are now Jewish. This is similar to what happens when a person becomes a Christian.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)

Nehemiah 13:1 deals with those who have not renounced their background to embrace the Lord. We are given this insight later in Nehemiah 13.

Half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod or the language of one of the other peoples, and did not know how to speak the language of Judah…Was it not because of marriages like these that Solomon king of Israel sinned? Among the many nations there was no king like him. He was loved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel, but even he was led into sin by foreign women. Must we hear now that you too are doing all this terrible wickedness and are being unfaithful to our God by marrying foreign women?”

Nehemiah 13:24,26-27 (NIV)

Thus, we can conclude that these relationships between the Israelite men and foreign women were like that of Solomon and his wives.

As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.

1 Kings 11:4 (NIV)

When we become Christians, our lives should look different than before we were saved. Who we once were doesn’t matter in God’s eyes. As Christians, we are washed in the blood of Jesus. We are new creatures. What we see in Nehemiah is a warning to us today. In 1 Corinthians 7, Paul writes:

To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her.

1 Corinthians 7:12 (NIV)

Then, Paul asks this question regarding the unbelieving spouse. 

How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

1 Corinthians 7:16 (NIV)

The concept of the unbelieving spouse being saved is incredible because it does happen. What Paul isn’t talking about, however, is a Believer marrying an unbeliever. While the unbeliever might be saved (it happened to me), it’s spiritually dangerous for us to seek such relationships with unbelievers. 

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV)

Jesus gave us this insight in Matthew.

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Matthew 6:24 (NIV)

Jesus wasn’t just talking about money. Consider what Paul said about being married and unmarried.

But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife—and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband.

1 Corinthians 7:33-34 (NIV)

In this way, a Believer marrying an unbeliever has his or her interests divided between serving God and serving their spouse. How much more is the separation when one person follows Christ, and the other follows the world? 

This is why, as single Christians, our first question about a potential mate should be, “Does he/she love the Lord?” If not, we should pass.