Thursday in the Twenty-Second Week of Ordinary Time

1 Corinthians 7:12-16

Our God Understands

The word of God is alive and active, and it always shall be (Hebrews 4:12).  The Bible tells us the way of salvation and gives us precepts to live by that our lives may glorify Him for His grace and provide us with joy as we experience the blessings of obedience and the fruit of righteousness.  But God also understands that, because of sin, our lives get messy.  And in this passage is the recognition on God’s part of a messy situation that needs a word of grace.  Yes, there are times a believing spouse is married to an unbelieving spouse, though such a marital arrangement should never begin that way (1 Corinthians 7:39).  But what happens when one spouse comes to saving faith while married to an unbeliever?  That is the case here, and the case with many today, and it can be very difficult and heartbreaking.

It seems that some of the Corinthians who thought that intimacy was an evil thing even between Christian spouses decided that it was especially evil if one of the spouses was a pagan: Surely the Christian wife or husband would be defiled by such unsavory behavior!  But Paul knows our Lord’s teaching on marriage too well to allow such an errant opinion to go uncorrected.  And though Paul admits that Jesus said nothing concerning this specific situation, as an apostle of Jesus Christ, he may speak with authority on the subject.  And, “No, he says, “you may not leave your unbelieving spouse.”  Yes, the marriage bond is just that sacred.  And far from the unbelieving spouse defiling the believing spouse, the unbelieving spouse is sanctified through union with the believing husband or wife.  Now this does not mean that the unbelieving spouse is saved by virtue of being married to a believer, for that would go against everything Paul and the rest of the New Testament teaches about salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.  But it certainly does tell us that an unbelieving spouse is under the influence of a believing spouse, as are the children.  So the believing spouse is to remain in the marriage and be the loving and godly spouse God has called him or her to be.

But what if the unbelieving spouse leaves?  Well, it doesn’t seem that much can really be done.  That is called abandonment, and in God’s ever-gracious way, He says, “I call you to peace.”  That is, God says to the brokenhearted, believing spouse, “I love you and I understand.”  So, 1) God understands special cases in this sinful, mixed-up world; and, 2) This passage should afford some hope to believing spouses who truly love their unbelieving partner and have vowed “till death do us part,” for the unbelieving spouse is under the influence of the believing spouse, and that’s a good place to start.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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