A Sanctified Spouse

John MacArthur – Grace to You – Bible Q & A

For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband; for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy. (1 Corinthians 7:14)

Christians married to unbelievers were not to worry that they themselves, their marriage, or their children would be defiled by the unbelieving spouse. On the contrary, the very opposite was the case. Both the children and the unbelieving spouse would be sanctified through the believing wife or husband.

Being unequally yoked, one flesh with an unbeliever, can be frustrating, discouraging, and even costly. But it need not be defiling because one believer can sanctify a home. In this sense sanctify does not refer to salvation; otherwise the spouse would not be spoken of as unbelieving. It refers to being set apart, the basic meaning of sanctify and holy, terms that are from the same Greek root. The sanctification is matrimonial and familial, not personal or spiritual. In God’s eyes a home is set apart for Himself when the husband, wife, or, by implication, any other family member, is a Christian. Such a home is not Christian in the full sense, but it is immeasurably superior to one that is totally unbelieving. Even if the Christian is ridiculed and persecuted, unbelievers in the family are blessed because of that believer. One Christian in a home graces the entire home. God’s indwelling that believer and all the blessings and graces that flow into the believer’s life from heaven will spill over to enrich all who are near.

In addition, although the believer’s faith cannot suffice for the salvation of anyone but himself, he is often the means of other family members coming to the Lord by the power of his testimony.

A young woman came up to me after the service one Sunday morning and told me that when she was growing up her grandmother was the only Christian in the family. The grandmother used to speak of her love for Christ and witnessed to the family in what she said and by what she did. Eventually, three of the four grandchildren came to know the Lord, and each one declared that their grandmother had the greatest influence on their decision for Christ.

When God was about to destroy Sodom, Abraham pleaded with Him to spare the city if fifty righteous people lived there. “So the Lord said, ‘If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare the whole place on their account’ ” (Gen. 18:26). When that many could not be found, the patriarch reduced the number to forty–five, then to forty, thirty, twenty, and finally ten. In each case the Lord agreed to spare the city, but not even ten righteous could be found. But God was willing to bless many wicked people for the sake even of a few of His own people in their midst.

Furthermore, God looks on the family as a unit. Even if it is divided spiritually, and most of its members are unbelieving and immoral, the entire family is graced by a believer among them. Therefore, if an unbelieving spouse is willing to stay, the believer is not to seek a divorce.

The Christian need not fear that the children will be unclean, defiled by the unbelieving father or mother. God promises that the opposite is true. They would otherwise be unclean if both parents were unbelievers. But the Lord guarantees that the presence of just one Christian parent will protect the children. It is not that their salvation is assured but that they are protected from undue spiritual harm and that they will receive spiritual blessing. Because they share in the spiritual benefits of their believing parent, they are holy. Often the testimony of the believing parent in this situation is especially effective, because the children see a clear contrast to the unbelieving parent’s life, and that leads them to salvation.

Source :http://www.macarthurcommentaries.com/Archive.aspx?question=252#



4 thoughts on “A Sanctified Spouse

  1. Thank you so much for posting this. This has been heavy on my mind since last month when My fiance confessed that he was an unbeliever. My heart was broken. I didn’t know what to do. I fearef that I might have to leave him someday. I have noticed a few changes in him since then. I have been consistent in praying for our family’s needs and The Lord has been so faithful. My fiance has noticed that. I know I just have to be patient and pray and trust in God. This verse has answered my prayers and your post helped me to understand.

    Thank you again and God Bless us


    • Dear Noelle

      Persist in prayer. 1Th 5:17 pray without ceasing, 1Th 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
      1Th 5:19 Do not quench the Spirit.
      1Th 5:20 Do not despise prophecies,
      1Th 5:21 but test everything; hold fast what is good.
      1Th 5:22 Abstain from every form of evil.
      1Th 5:23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

      Your comment also brings to mind the parable Jesus told. Luk 15:4 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?
      Luk 15:5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
      Luk 15:6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’
      Luk 15:7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

      Praying for you,take care
      God bless


  2. Noelle

    Your comment is very touching and as real as your situation is. And, by the by, as I have said somewhere else on this blog, your gravatar and its caption are simply great.

    Know that the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit is with you ,

    Know that all of your extended family of true believers from which you will never be removed, who read your comment, should be praying with you, for you and for your family,

    Know that God hears your prayers as a chosen believer in Him, and that He will do what you ask of Him according to His perfect and good Will,

    Know that God will bring the correct changes. Be comforted in the assurance that your salvation cannot be affected by outside influence and be confident during trying times, that Jesus will never lose you, even if you think you might have become lost!!

    Know that your own salvation is secure and that you will not be forgotten or left behind in any storm or wilderness, Jesus will always find you; come back for you. But, know that your salvation is this special, due to the highest price that was paid for you. For you . You belong to Him and your salvation cannot be shared with anyone, child, parent, spouse or fiance, no matter how much your good hearted nature would like you to share it.

    Know that your family is blessed by the presence of your salvation, and that they share in that blessedness during this life only.

    Please think on these verses:

    Joh 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

    2Pe 3:17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability.

    Mat 5:46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?

    Luk 11:13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

    Be blessed!


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