IIa.4. Does An Unbelieving Spouse Become a Believer If He Marries a Believer?

Question: Does 1 Corinthians 7:14 mean that if a lost person marries a saved person, they are saved because of the marriage?

Answer:   1 Corinthians 7:14 says,

 “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now they are holy.”

 The situation presented by this verse is that the marriage, no doubt, began with two unbelievers; with the wife getting saved after they were married. In 2 Corinthians 6:14, God forbids the marriage of a Christian to a non-Christian.

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness.”

 In 1 Corinthians 7:14, the word “sanctified” basically means “set apart.” This has nothing to do with the salvation of the one who is the unbeliever; but, rather, has to do with the blessings he receives by being set apart in marriage to his Christian wife. God is going to bless his wife for her faithfulness; therefore, those blessings on the home are enjoyed by him also, because of being “set apart” in marriage to her. In other words, from God’s viewpoint, He recognizes the marriage as a legitimate marriage, even though one is a believer and one is not. If not, then in God’s eyes the children would be unclean (i.e., illegitimate); but, now they are holy. They are recognized as legitimate children from a legitimate marriage.

 A practical application surely can be obtained from this verse. An unbelieving husband and children being in the household with a Christian mother puts them in a position of particular privilege. You see, both husband and children are set apart (i.e. “sanctified”) under the influence of a Christian wife and mother to hear the Gospel and be saved; also by the testimony of her life. 1 Peter 3:1 explains,

"Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives.”

Many wonderful Christian women have won their husbands and children to Christ and experienced Proverbs 31:28.

“Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

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