In our spiritually mismatched marriages, what has God promised?
I thought this would be a nice follow-on from last week's posts, in which I described that a community promise of 'salvation'. Does that mean all our spouses will all be saved?
The photo I've included here is of me and Lynn. It looks like we're asking each other, 'What do you think?' There are a lot of topics like that in SUM. We wrestle with questions.
Anyway, as I tackle this one I'm going to wind my way through thoughts that I've constructed over the years. I have three sources of information to draw from:
(2) God's voice, and
(3) Things we've seen happen.
So let's go!
Point #1: God deliberately gives us mystery in our SUM walk
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, NKJV)
I like that little scripture. It tells me clearly that there are some things in our faith walk that are deliberately mysterious, and we have to accept that. The question of an unbelieving spouse's salvation is one of those 'deliberate mysteries'. That said, we have had a 'salvation' promise as a community on a number of occasions, and God does tell his people things that are to come. So what is the posture we must take? Do we allow mystery, or do we walk through this with absolute certainty they will be saved?
I'd say the answer is: "Be at peace. Believe it will happen. Speak about it hopefully. And surrender it to God." I think that's what God asks of us. Certainly be at peace.
Point #2: Our spouse is sanctified by us
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 Cor 7:14, NKJV)
My friends, a great thing to do for anyone in a spiritually mismatched marriage is to study that word 'sanctification' (Hagiazo in Greek) and look at all the other times it is used in the Bible. Once you do that you see how huge 'sanctification' is. It means we do make our spouse holy. Wow. BUT: how far it extends remains a mystery. None of us have the answer about what sanctification looks like; well, I sure don't. So we look at God, awestruck and reverently, and whisper to him, "Lord, dare I hope that my faith will touch this beloved person with such power that they collapse in awe of you too?"
Point #3: The unbelieving spouse needs to make a choice
A big part of our spiritually mismatched walk involves our spouse making a choice, and I believe that God wants them to have that choice.
But if the unbelieving spouse departs, let him depart... (1 Cor 7:15)
The choice our spouse makes is this: To stay in the marriage or leave. Then, to be supportive, or not. Frankly, all of us risk losing our spouse because of our faith. I hope that's not too harsh to say. But it is what it is, and it's ok: God has us, and this is a faith test for us.
We will stay with our spouse if they want us and if they are willing to honor the marriage covenant. If the marriage is abusive, then that is a broken covenant, and the believing spouse is well advised to get out. But if it's not abusive, then we stay, and we say, "I will cherish you until death parts us."
Even if they leave, however, a bowl full of prayers of the saints will have been said for them. And what power lies in that. It may be that they come to the end of their life, and on their death-bed they bow their knee. Who knows.
Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints (Rev 5:8, NKJV)
Well, my friends, I'm at the end of my word count, so I am going to pause there; but I will continue on Monday with Point #4: God does not want us to walk this in hopelessness.
See you in the comments!
Lynn, I couldn't stop reading this book! It is the best you have written! It's a "self-help-bible-based-do-it-yourself-demon-slaying-victory-winning book" like no other I've ever read. I learned some new prayer points as well as clarification on what exactly does my situation mean. Everyone who reads this will want their bible, notebook and the Holy Spirit sitting next to them as they strategize with the tools you've given! -Barb