The Sanctification of the unbelieving Spouse

Crazy Verses We Wrestle With

14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. 1 Corinthians 7:14

If you are worried about your children’s status before God or the eternal destination of your unbelieving spouse, this verse should give you peace. Many believers find themselves in marriages that are unequally yoked, meaning that one person believes in Christ while the other does not. No matter how it happened, spiritual disunity in the family can take a huge mental and spiritual toll on the believing spouse as they pray continuously for the soul of their partner.

I have seen the weight this can place on a person, and can vividly remember the struggles of one lady in particular. She was an older lady that use to go to a church I was pastoring. She was so involved in ministry. She served the Kingdom of God with her all. But she did it alone. When she was young, she married a man and hoped that one day he would become a Christian. 30 years later, that had not yet taken place. On the surface it looked like she was content and had lived a wonderful life, but when she let her guard down, you got to see her true struggle.

In reality, she spent time every day praying vigorously for her husband to accept Christ. She prayed and prayed. And even though he would show up once or twice a year to a church event, he was stubborn and would not believe in Jesus. I can’t tell you the amount of tears this lady shed over those 30 years. I can’t imagine what it would be like to love someone so much that you spent all of your extra energy pleading for God to save that person.

It kind of reminds you of Jesus doesn’t it? You see, the term “sanctified” is to be holy and set apart. And God loved us so much that He made a way for a sanctified Jesus to be united with a sinful people. We don’t deserve to be considered holy or blameless, yet that is exactly what is offered to us by the means of the Holy Spirit. And marriage is the greatest example of what this will look like.

Jesus is the groom, we who choose Christ are becoming the bride. We are not married yet, but once we are, Jesus will never offer us a certificate of divorce because of His holy love. And another interesting side effect of that marriage is that for those who enter into it, we will remain pure and holy because we will become one flesh with Christ.

It is sad to see what the culture is doing to marriage these days, but the spiritual laws that God has put into place are binding and transcend much of our understanding. And that is what Paul was bringing out in this scripture. You see, if Jesus will be bound to us in marriage and we will be considered pure because of the holiness in Him, we must apply that same law here in the physical world.

What this means is that just as Christ will make us holy as we are one in His flesh, our unbelieving spouses will also be considered holy and clean because of the spouse who has entered into the betrothal of the Spirit of God. Marriage is important in the scriptures because it is the vital example of how and why we can be saved and marked as clean.

This is also super important in regards to our children and even baptism. For before the death of Christ, we were all children of Adam, but now we are considered to be children of God. Therefore, those who are in Christ are not only considered holy by means of the down payment of the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, our children are also covered by the Spirit until the age of accountability when they can choose for themselves if they will continue to strive after the groom. With that said, a pure child does not need baptism until that covering no longer remains. I know we struggle with this idea because we are so individually minded where as households and families were treated more as one in the biblical concept.

The laws of God can’t change. Marriage is for Christ and has been extended to us. Therefore, pray for our spouses, but do not mourn for them any longer, for God cannot show favoritism. If you have become one flesh with an unbeliever, you are joined in spirit. And the God of love will never condemn the holiness in you because of the sin of your spouse; rather, the holiness in you will display the mercy of God by redeeming your unbelieving spouse. And His act of grace will bring glory and honor to His Name.

I pray that these things will give you peace. Never give up on your unbelieving spouse. Know that those who remain married, even through boundless hardship, will receive a great reward as they lay down their life for a friend. May the peace of God be with you.