Scripture: 1 Corinthians 7:12 To the rest I say—I and not the Lord—that if any believer has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 And if any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. 15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. It is to peace that God has called you. 16 Wife, for all you know, you might save your husband. Husband, for all you know, you might save your wife.
Observation: This passage suggests there was likely disagreement in the church at Corinth regarding marriage arrangements. There may have been pressure for Christians married to non-Christians to seek divorce. Paul disagreed, suggesting it was possible for Christians to influence their unbelieving spouses to embrace the Christian faith and “save your husband” or “save your wife” (v.16).
Application: If you’ve read this blog for a while you probably already know that I didn’t begin taking faith seriously until I was a young adult who married a Lutheran girl. That’s how I got connected to the Lutheran faith – through marriage. For that I am eternally grateful.
I often meet with people who have questions about this sort of thing. One spouse is a Christian while the other may not be, or is not a practicing Christian. What to do? Paul’s counsel is solid. Christians aren’t to leave their spouses over this, but rather pray for them. Serve them. Love them. Embody for them the love Jesus has for them. You never know what might happen as a result.
Prayer: Heavenly Father this morning I pray for all my Christian brothers and sisters married to non-Christians or non-practicing Christians. Give them grace to love their spouses as you love them. And perhaps in so doing, open hearts to receive Jesus as Lord. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.