We are currently wrestling with the following teaching of Paul:
“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
The conclusion I reached in my last post was that even if a believer marries an unbeliever, God will view that marriage as legitimate and even the children born from that marriage will be HOLY.
And if we have a married couple consisting of two unbelievers but later one of the spouses becomes a believer, that marriage becomes sanctified (becomes HOLY) through the faith of the believing partner.
Why does this happen?
Well, we learned that this happens because of the Torah principle that HOLINESS is contagious.
The HOLINESS carried by people and even inanimate objects can be transmitted to other people and things.
Okay, now after having established that, I’m about to throw a monkey wrench into this whole equation by sharing a different set of verses from the Apostle Paul.
“Do you not know that your bodies
are members of Messiah himself?
Shall I then take the members of Messiah
and unite them with a prostitute?
-1 Corinthians 6:15
This is interesting.
Because here we’re dealing with another one-flesh union but this is a one-flesh union that the Lord does NOT see as legitimate.
In fact, he outright condemns it.
How come the Lord ultimately gives His seal of approval to the marriage between a believer and a non-believer but when a believer sleeps with a prostitute, this relationship is condemned?
In other words, how come in the prostitute case, the HOLINESS of the believer is NOT legitimately transferred to the prostitute?
One may argue that in the prostitute’s case, we’re actually dealing with idolatry because Paul is really referring to cultic prostitution which involved sex acts being performed in worship to pagan deities.
Well, as true as that may be, I could kind of say the same thing about a marriage between a believer and an unbeliever.
For instance, maybe the unbelieving partner in a marriage between a believer and an unbeliever is a practitioner of Hinduism, a religion which is idolatrous as hell!
Think about it.
In that case, you would have a blood-bought born again believer in Messiah bedding down with a polytheist who worships Indian deities and we’re told that ultimately God will bless that union and that even the children born from this union will be HOLY?!!!
How the heck is this any different than a believer bedding down with a cultic prostitute?
Pretty darn confusing, isn’t it?
Okay, I’m going to attempt to answer this question by taking my cue from the Principle of SHA’ATNEZ?
Do you remember what SHA’ATNEZ means?
It’s a term that refers to illicit or illegal mixtures.
Here’s the thing.
God forbids the mixing of two foreign elements together.
We see this in the many commands to for example not plant two different seeds together in the same field, sew two different fabrics together, or have two different kinds of animals plow a field together.
But, and this is a HUGE “but“, there are times when SHA’ATNEZ or illegal mixtures are God-ordained!
Let me say that again.
There are times when SHA’ATNEZ or illegal mixtures are an exception to the rule and God-ordained.
TZITZIT are a perfect example of this.
TZITZIT (religious tassels worn on the corners of one’s garment) are made of a mixture of wool and linen, a combination normally condemned by God.
Yet, as startling as it may seem, God for His own good purposes has decided to use this otherwise illicit mixture as a HOLY reminder to His People to keep His commandments.
In addition, the Scripture tells us that the wearing of TZITZIT imparts a certain degree of HOLINESS to the wearer.
Actually, this was precisely the reason why Korah became prideful and when rebelling against Moses and Aaron, he essentially told them “all of Israel is HOLY, not just you guys!“.
Korah was referring to the fact that the TZITZIT imparted a measure of holiness to all of Israel.
Now the point I’m trying to make is this.
Just as God has ordained the otherwise illicit mixture of wool and linen in the form of TZITZIT as HOLY, so has He ordained the otherwise illicit mixture of a believer and an unbeliever in the form of marriage as HOLY.
The important part in the last sentence is “in the form of marriage”.
It is in marriage and ONLY in marriage that the otherwise illegal mixture of believer and unbeliever become acceptable to God.
A one-flesh union in the form of a marriage between a believer and an unbeliever is ultimately blessed.
But a one-flesh union in the form of prostitution between a believer and a cultic prostitute is condemned.
Don’t get me wrong.
A marriage between a believer and an unbeliever is still SHA’ATNEZ.
It is a mixture that is NOT ideal and should not be deliberately sought after.
Yet if it happens due to whatever extenuating circumstance in the form of marriage, just as if wool and linen come together in the form of TZITZIT, HASHEM will accept it as a legal union with both partners becoming HOLY and even the children from this union being accepted as HOLY as well.
Okay, this turned out a bit longer than I had expected and I’m afraid I may have raised more confusion and questions than providing clarity and answers.
These are just some thoughts I have pieced together and I am actually still wrestling with this matter.
CONNECTING THIS TEACHING TO THE NEW TESTAMENT
“Marriage is honorable in all,
and the bed undefiled:
but whoremongers and
adulterers God will judge.”
“Now to the single people and the widows
I say that it is fine if they remain unmarried like me;
but if they can’t exercise self-control,
they should get married;
because it is better to get married
than to keep burning with sexual desire.”
-1 Corinthians 7:8-9
“For this reason a man
will leave his father and mother
and be united to his wife,
and the two will become one flesh.”
This is a profound mystery—
but I am talking about Messiah and the church.
However, each one of you also must love his wife
as he loves himself,
and the wife must respect her husband.”