Saved Unbelievers?

Q. I have been married for 7 1/2 years and love my husband dearly. I am a believer but He is not. I have presented him with the facts and showed him scriptures in the bible to back it up. He just believes that Jesus was a good man that started one of many religions that are practiced today. He believes that when we as Christians tell someone that Jesus is the only way to salvation, that it is discriminatory against other beliefs. We have had many heated discussions in reference to this. It breaks my heart to know that his soul is at stake and I pray that the Lord will open his eyes one day.

I was on a Christian forum seeking help on how I could help my husband understand and was told not to worry about it because since I’m a believer, my husband and household are covered. This doesn’t settle well with me. My children are 6 and 4 so they’re too young to understand and are under the age of accountability but my husband being covered, I was like no way until I was referred to 1Cor 7:13-16.

“And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For 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.” NKJV

I read the bible literally but this scripture, I’m having trouble with on whether I should take it literal or not. I just find it hard to believe that my husband would be raptured or be sanctified with me being a believer. Can you explain this scripture to me? Thanks again!

A. I’ve never heard any reputable theologian claim that this verse affects the eternal state of the unbelieving spouse. The most common interpretation is that it applies to the marriage and any children thereof.

By applying to the marriage I mean that in the eyes of God the believing spouse in effect legitimizes the marriage on behalf of the unbeliever. Titus 1:15 says, “to the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure.” The believing spouse is not engaging in adultery or fornication by remaining in an intimate relationship with an unbelieving partner.

And the children are not illegitimate in God’s eyes either, being similarly covered by the believing parent.

Paul wrote this to reassure the believing spouse that it’s OK to stay in the relationship. But none of this was intended to bring any benefit at all to the unbeliever. Gaining salvation and eternal life with God can only be done by an unbelieving spouse on the basis of a personal decision to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior, just like it is for everyone else.

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