How should Christian & non-Christian spouses act?

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By BibleAsk Team


Married to a Non-Christian

If one spouse becomes a Christian after the marriage, he or she will face challenges with the non-Christian one. For those who do not receive Christ as their Redeemer, the teachings of Christianity seem foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:18). The Bible puts it this way: “For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?” (2 Corinthians 6:14-15).

Should the Christian Leave the Non-Christian?

To answer this question, the apostle Paul instructs, “But to the rest I, not the Lord, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy” (1 Corinthians 7:12-14).

Christ taught that marriage vows are sacred (Matthew 19:4–6, 9) and cannot be broken by any change in the religious faiths of either party. The only effect of the conversion of one spouse should be to make him or her more loving, and faithful than before. A marriage to an non-Christian is to be considered as binding on a Christian so long as the non-Christian does not freely separate himself from his or her Christian souse and remarry.

There might be occasions in which a non-Christian spouse would be so hostile to the faith, and so opposing to the other spouse that he or she don’t want to live with Christian spouse. In such cases, the Christian could not stop the separation. If, on the contrary, the non-Christian spouse wants to remain with their believing spouse, the Christian is not free to seek a separation.

Paul adds, “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy” (1 Corinthians 4:14). This does not mean that the non-Christian would become holy, simply by continuing to live in matrimony with a Christian. This verse means that the marriage is legal, and is considered as such by the church, the two are by the marriage tie one flesh and are indissolubly united (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5, 6; Ephesians 5:31).

Paul continues His instruction, “But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace” (1 Corinthians 7:15). If the non-Christian spouse does not want to live with the Christian one, and leaves, the Christian is not to feel responsible to keep the marriage. Christianity is a religion of peace; it strives to avoid conflict (John 14:27; Romans 14:19; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Philippians 4:7).

Win the Non-Christian Spouse

The reason why the Christian spouse should not leave the non-Christian spouse, is that the non-Christian might be led to accept the faith by the example of the Christian. Paul teaches, “For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?”(1 Corinthians 7:16).

Let the Christian act kindly with the non-Christian spouse without having to give up principle (Romans 12:18; Hebrews 12:14). The conversion of the non-Christian would bring great joy and harmony to the family. To achieve this goal, the believer should have a daily relationship with God through the study of the Word and prayer to receive wisdom, grace and love to impart to his non-believing spouse.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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