Friday, 18 July 2014
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. 1 Corinthians 7:12
Paul has addressed those who wish to remain celibate, those who are widowed, and those who are married. However, he will now discuss a new group and his words are immensely important. The reason why will be given, but it actually deals with those who are affected by the marriage as much as those who are married. The issue he will now address is that of mixed marriages, where one is a believer and one is not.
To begin, he says, “But to the rest I, not the Lord, say…” He is very careful to mark a distinction between the directives personally given by the Lord and those that are given by him. His words, however, have no less import than those of the Lord. This is because they are a part of the Bible which is God’s word. They are given under the inspiration of the Spirit and must be considered authoritative. And so he begins with, “If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her.”
A believing man with a non-believing spouse may not divorce her because she is an unbeliever. He got himself into the marriage and he has no right (with the previously noted exception of adultery) to terminate the marriage. The fact that he is (or became) a believer and she is a non-believer is irrelevant. He is obligated to his vows and he must stay with his wife no matter what. Again, reasons will be given for this, and they will not only affect the husband and the wife, but others as well. And it includes a reason that addresses a theological issue which goes all the way back to the fall of man.
Life application: As with the previous verses, we can clearly see that there is no reason, apart from adultery, to terminate a marriage. We cannot “excuse” our actions in divorce. And yet divorce has become as common as going to the store for groceries. The Lord cannot be pleased with the flagrant disregard of this by His people.
Lord, how often I error in my thoughts and actions and then try to make excuses for the wrong I have committed. Forgive me for trying to justify the unjustifiable and grant me the wisdom to accept my faults, confess them as faults, and determine to not make them in the future. And keep me filled with Your word so that I can recognize what is wrong before it comes my way and to stay on the correct and noble path. Thank You Lord. Amen.