Excerpt from An online Course: Where God puts two hearts in a home.
According to Jesus, marriage is intended as a permanent union between one man and one woman (Mt 19:6). But in the Roman world when the New Testament was written, many aberrations in that design flourished, just as they do today: homosexuality, divorce, adultery, fornication, pedophilia, polygamy, sexual rituals used in pagan worship. When a woman became a disciple of Christ in Corinth, she might be married to a person who regularly visited the temple to be involved in pagan sexual acts, or he might have a homosexual lover as well as a wife.
What is a Christian man or woman to do when the spouse is not a believer? Should the believer divorce the unbeliever in order to find someone more compatible? Should married couples avoid sexual relations to avoid joining with someone who is not part of Christ?
Does the Christian‘s faith actually save the unbelieving spouse, or does the unbelief contaminate the Christian spouse and the children? The Corinthians were eager to hear Paul‘s wisdom on these complicated marital situations in their city. They had written him a letter (1 Cor 7:1) full of questions and/or perplexing situations, for which the passage beginning with 1 Corinthians 7 was his response. It would have been helpful to have the exact text of their questions, but his responses give us some guidelines that we can apply to our own complicated marital situations.
In 1 Cor 7: 21 we see a term used here which also seems to mean a divorced person. It is luo and translated loosed. It appears to mean loosed or unbound from the marriage covenant. Its opposite is also here, deo, which means bound, in this case, bound to a marriage covenant. Where these terms become important in our discussion of divorce is in properly interpreting verse 15, where Paul says that believers whose unbelieving spouses divorce them or leave them are no longer bound. In verses 39- 40, the same loosing concept is used for a widow‘s release from a marriage bond. It says that because a widow is unbound, she is free to remarry. The question arises whether this would be the same with a spouse who has been abandoned or divorced by his/her spouse? Does being similarly loosed in verse 27 mean that an abandoned spouse is also free to remarry? What do you think Paul is saying here in light of the whole chapter‘s teaching?
A more knotty question which Paul does not exactly address is What if the spouse who departs is not an unbeliever, but someone at least claiming to be a Christian? Was this beyond the realm of Paul‘s thinking, that a true Christian would ever leave his/her spouse? Is the remaining partner still unbound and free to remarry like the widow? What do you think? As you think prayerfully about these issues, make sure you are using Scripture as you develop your position, not merely examples from life or the dictates of your own culture or laws.
Susan shares about the stand she took in her relation with her spouse who is not obedient to the Lord.
Susan and Frank had been married only a few years when Susan accepted Christ as her Savior. Before coming to Christ, both Susan and Frank had been involved in illegal drugs and drunkenness, but now Susan was unable to join Frank in his frequent binges and drug parties. When Susan prayed for Frank, she was overcome with sadness that Frank would be condemned to hell and an eternity away from God, if he did not come to trust Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of his sins. Filled with God‘s love for Frank, she made a decision that she would do whatever was in her power to make his life on earth as pleasant as possible, because after this life would come judgment in the next.
She realized that for her as a Christian, the difficulty of earthly life with Frank would be as bad as it would get, but it would be short-lived, because heaven was her ultimate destination. But for Frank, his earthly life would be as good as it gets. She said, Frank, I know that when you die, you will not be able to go to heaven, because you have not received Christ‘s forgiveness for your sins. So I am making it my goal in life to make this life as pleasant for you as I can. She did not feel smug or judgmental, but truly loving and truly sad about the fact that he did not follow the Lord, so her sweet spirit toward him was not a mere act. It was genuine.
In the evenings when Frank was out carousing, she fed the children, prayed with them (which included praying blessings and salvation for their father), and put them to bed. When Frank came home late and drunk, she would get up quickly and prepare excellent food for him and sit with him while he ate. She frequently told him how much she loved him. She prayed for Frank and also for herself, that she would be filled with the Spirit and be able to love Frank in a way that portrayed God‘s love.