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Question - 1 Corinthians 7:12-14 PDF Print E-mail
Written by John R. Respess   

Butler, Ga., August 1886 

Q. Please give your views on 12, 13, 14, verses of vii chapter 1 Corinthians.

A. In the establishment of the gospel church among the heathen or gentiles, there were doubtless many husbands who believed who had married before their conversion, and whose wives did not believe; and wives in the same condition with unbelieving husbands; and the question perhaps arose as to what they should do under such circumstances, and the apostle's advice was timely upon that subject; that their marriage ties were not dissolved by their conversion, but that their obligations still remained, though the wife or the husband, as the case might be, was still a heathen. And if the unbelieving wife or husband was pleased to dwell with the believing husband or wife, that they should not be put away, but remain together as husband and wife. But if the unbelieving husband or wife was not pleased to dwell with the believing husband or wife then they could leave; because the believer was not to give up Christ in such a case for the unbelieving wife or husband, and the believer lost a husband or wife, and could not of course, marry again, unless the wife or husband had been put away for fornication, in which case they could marry again. This separation was at the option of the unbeliever; and not of the believer; it was something that the believer could not help. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the believing wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the believing husband, else were your children unclean, or illegitimate, or bastards. Thus a believing husband could have an unbelieving wife, and still be married to the Lord. Because it is by mutual consent as recognizing the God of the believer in the marriage, that is, in the obligations, that the wife could have but one husband, and the husband but one wife, and not according to the heathen custom of polygamy, or more than one; thus making their children all unclean as the offspring of more than wife or husband. But the children of the believing wife by an unbelieving husband were clean or holy, or legitimate, because the wife was a believer and because the husband conformed to the gospel law of marriage for her sake, or having no other wife but her; and the same with a believing husband and an unbelieving wife. The one sanctified the other in that literal sense, and thus their children were holy. But the holiness here only means holiness as far as it pertains to a holy or a right and proper marriage; and not that the children were any more holy by nature than were bastard children; but holy in the sense that they were children of a lawful marriage --- and the sanctification spoken of is in the same sense. As vessels in the temple service were called holy from the use to which they were applied; being employed in holy or religious purposes; while others, made of the same material, were unholy, as being used for profane or ordinary purposes. Thus a Christian is holy, as being converted to holy or Christian practices, though in his flesh, he is depraved.---R.

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