Dr. Willis Newman, Esmeralda Newman, bible-teaching-about.com

Will unbelieving husband be sanctified by wife's faith?

QUESTION:

A further question in the same vein as the man who asked if his faith would save his wife... I understand that by accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and our faith in Him is our salvation... but I am confused by I Corinthians 7:14 which says that an "unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife..." etc.

My dictionary/concordance in my NIV Bible defines SANCTIFY as "to make holy."  HOLY is then defined as "set apart for God; belonging to God; pure; godly."

Confusing, to say the least.

So if a believing wife has a non believing husband, what exactly does her faith do for him?

Thank you for your answer.

Leta:

Leta:

Thank you for your question, and your genuine desire to understand the ways of the Lord. Here is how I would answer your question.

First, a general rule of Bible interpretation is that hard to understand verses are to be interpreted in the light of clear verses, or doctrines. In this case, it is clear that individuals must place their faith in Christ as individuals to be saved. You are correct in recognizing this truth. The faith of one person cannot save another.

Second, another rule of Bible interpretation is that words are defined by their context. It is true that words mean what they mean, but sometimes words can mean several things. Take, for example, the word, “run.” It can mean several things depending on the context. It could mean a person runs down the road, has a nose that runs, or it could be a woman with a run in her stocking. Such is the case of “sanctify.”

Third, then what does “sanctify” 1 Corinthians 7:14 mean? We know it does not mean that one person’s faith saves another. What it does mean is that with one believer in a marriage, they become a special channel of blessing and grace to the marriage and family. God will bless the Christian, and the unsaved person gets the favor of living in that special environment. The most important part of that environment is that the unsaved partner has access to the gospel of Christ and teachings of the Bible. The marriage, then, is set aside, or sanctified, for blessing. 

A biblical parallel would be when Jacob came to live in Laban’s household (Genesis 30:27) and Joseph in Potiphar’s household (Genesis 39:5). Blessing came to both houses. 

Thanks for your interest, and question. All the best, and God bless.

Dr. Newman

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