Let’s take our newly acquired understanding of God’s HOLINESS protocols and apply them to one of those terribly difficult sayings of Paul.
Here’s the formidable NT passage I want to tackle:
“And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.”-1 Corinthians 7:13-14
First, before we dive into our text analysis, understand that the phrase “has been sanctified through” simply means “has been made HOLY”, nothing more and nothing less.
Okay, so these verses are generally considered to be one of those mystifying teachings from Paul that even the Apostle Peter said was difficult to understand.
The problem is that in these verses Paul is making an assertion but he is offering no explanation for his assertion.
Again, it’s because he assumes his audience already understands certain underlying TORAH principles that the New Testament is built upon.
So at face value, what is Paul really saying here?
At face value, what he’s saying is pretty simple.
If an unbeliever marries a believer, God accepts the marriage as valid.
And if two unbelievers marry and later one becomes a believer, God accepts the marriage as valid.
In addition, any children born from such a union are also accepted as HOLY.
They will not be considered illegitimate bastards (MAMZER in Hebrew).
In a nutshell, that’s all Paul is saying, pretty clear cut and simple I think.
Now here’s the issue with these passages that make them challenging.
Why didn’t Paul just simply say directly that God views marriage between believers and unbelievers as valid?
Why did he speak in such a roundabout way saying “if the believing spouse unites with the unbeliever, HOLINESS is conferred upon the unbeliever“.
It is obvious that Paul is alluding to some principle whereby the the unbeliever in some mysterious way contracts HOLINESS from the believer and the believer is NOT defiled by the unbeliever.
Based on what we’ve studied so far, we should already know what’s going on here.
The HOLINESS of the believing spouse is transmitted to the unbelieving partner and even the offspring of this union are made HOLY.
Of course, a learned Rabbi such as Paul would have understood this principle perfectly.
When two people become ONE FLESH through marriage, even if one of the partners is not a believer, the transmission of HOLINESS in this case becomes a blessing and not a danger, and even the biological product or products of this union are blessings.
We’ll continue with this discussion the next time we meet.