To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 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.
1 Corinthians 7:12-13
In this case, there’s a special set of circumstances. You have two vastly different kingdoms living under the same roof.
It’s the problem of light and darkness coming together. They don’t mix very well. In many cases, the unbelieving spouse finds it very convicting as they live with a believer. This is true even when the Christian isn’t actively trying to win them to Christ.
Because of this, Paul says that the decision should be left in the hands of the unbeliever. If they’re willing to remain in the relationship, then the marriage should stay intact.
The reason it works this way is because of the influence of the Holy Spirit. The Christian spouse brings a covenant blessing into the home because of their faith.
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 7:14
Please understand what Paul’s saying here. The unbeliever is made clean in a ceremonial sense. They’re not saved by the spouse. A clean rock is still a rock.
God gives the unbeliever a position of cleanness. This is so that the children can come under the covenant blessing. Because of the believer, they’re covered by God’s promises.
God will always desire for the marriage to remain together. That’s because the Holy Spirit has a chance to work on the heart of the unbeliever.
But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
1 Corinthians 7:15-16
As in all things, the rule is peace. God wants our homes to be a refuge of peace. That’s why He will not keep a believer and an unbeliever bound together. A battleground between light and dark is no place to live.
God’s desire is for our best. He wants our homes to be a place of blessing for both parents and children.
Question: How can God work on the unbeliever even if they decide to leave the marriage?
© 2019 Nick Zaccardi