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Author Topic: Sanctified Through An Unbelieving Spouse?  (Read 594 times) Average Rating: 0
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Justin Kissel
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« on: August 20, 2012, 05:21:33 PM »

"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. But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. For 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 Cor. 7:14-16)

What does it mean that an unbeliever is sanctified by their believing spouse? St. John Chrysostom seemed to think that it had to do mostly with intercourse not being unclean because of unbelief when the "two become one," but is there more to it than that?
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2012, 06:20:31 PM »

Title should be "Sanctified Through a Believing Spouse".
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2012, 06:37:01 PM »

The family is a unit and that unit is blessed throught he believer in the family.
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2012, 06:45:03 PM »

The family is a unit and that unit is blessed throught he believer in the family.

But how does that work out in it's impact? For example, when we partake of the sacraments we think of that having a specific impact in a certain (if mysterious) way. Does this sanctification spoken of also have a specific impact? Is grace bestowed on the unbelieving spouse? Are the unbelieving spouses transformed or renewed somehow?
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« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2012, 07:11:25 PM »

This is something I've wondered as well, being one of those married to an unbelieving spouse.
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« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2012, 07:17:28 PM »

The family is a unit and that unit is blessed throught he believer in the family.

But how does that work out in it's impact? For example, when we partake of the sacraments we think of that having a specific impact in a certain (if mysterious) way. Does this sanctification spoken of also have a specific impact? Is grace bestowed on the unbelieving spouse? Are the unbelieving spouses transformed or renewed somehow?

You have just crossed the limits of my theological knowledge.  Let's wait for someone wise to answer this.  My simple understanding of the passage is that God's grace flows into the family through the believers.
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« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2012, 10:02:33 AM »

"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. But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. For 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 Cor. 7:14-16)

What does it mean that an unbeliever is sanctified by their believing spouse? St. John Chrysostom seemed to think that it had to do mostly with intercourse not being unclean because of unbelief when the "two become one," but is there more to it than that?

The main thrust of the passage, per the two verses before the section you quoted, is about divorce (and the lack of grounds for it).

To your specific question: "Sanctified" means "set apart," i.e. put in a special class. It has to do with one's category or place within the hierarchy of things, human and divine. In other words, God honors the validity of the contract and, thus, the offspring of such a marriage (this is Greco-Roman marital law). And, St Paul concludes, why not, since the unbeliever may indeed come to faith through the example of the believing spouse.
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« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2012, 02:18:33 PM »

The family is a unit and that unit is blessed throught he believer in the family.

But how does that work out in it's impact? For example, when we partake of the sacraments we think of that having a specific impact in a certain (if mysterious) way. Does this sanctification spoken of also have a specific impact? Is grace bestowed on the unbelieving spouse? Are the unbelieving spouses transformed or renewed somehow?

I've always seen it in terms of "a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough," or "Monkey see, monkey do."

A believer, acting as a believer, will influence the behavior and opinions of a non-believer.  A non-believer, seeing how righteous her/his spouse can be, will be affected, even if only in private.  For those of us who are married to non-believers, the only thing "non-believing" about them is their creed; however, I find their actions speak contrary.
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« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2012, 02:55:06 PM »

What does it mean that an unbeliever is sanctified by their believing spouse? St. John Chrysostom seemed to think that it had to do mostly with intercourse not being unclean because of unbelief when the "two become one," but is there more to it than that?

I would recommend reading St. John Chrysostom’s commentary on these verses more carefully, as he has said a great deal about the subject:

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf114.iv.lxv.html

For instance, he says:
Quote
Because here there is hope that the lost member may be saved through the marriage… 

What then, is the [unbeliever] holy? Certainly not: for he said not, He is holy; but, “He is sanctified in his wife.” And this he said, not to signify that he is holy, but to deliver the woman as completely as possible from her fear and lead the man to desire the truth. For the uncleanness is not in the bodies wherein there is communion, but in the mind and the thoughts. And here follows the proof; namely, that if thou continuing unclean have offspring, the child, not being of thee alone, is of course unclean or half clean. But now it is not unclean. To which effect he adds, “else were your children unclean; but now are they holy;” that is, not unclean. But the Apostle calls them, “holy,” by the intensity of the expression again casting out the dread arising from that sort of suspicion.

As St. John points out, these words apply not to a believer who wishes to marry an unbeliever, but to a believer who is already married to an unbeliever.  The unbeliever is not holy by virtue of remaining married to a believer; but there is hope of salvation for the unbeliever as long as the believer remains married to the unbeliever.  Also, the believer is not made impure before God by joining in one flesh with the unbelieving spouse, and the children are not rendered impure before God by virtue of being born with one unbelieving parent.     
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« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2012, 10:15:29 PM »

What does it mean that an unbeliever is sanctified by their believing spouse? St. John Chrysostom seemed to think that it had to do mostly with intercourse not being unclean because of unbelief when the "two become one," but is there more to it than that?

I would recommend reading St. John Chrysostom’s commentary on these verses more carefully, as he has said a great deal about the subject:

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf114.iv.lxv.html

For instance, he says:
Quote
Because here there is hope that the lost member may be saved through the marriage…  

What then, is the [unbeliever] holy? Certainly not: for he said not, He is holy; but, “He is sanctified in his wife.” And this he said, not to signify that he is holy, but to deliver the woman as completely as possible from her fear and lead the man to desire the truth. For the uncleanness is not in the bodies wherein there is communion, but in the mind and the thoughts. And here follows the proof; namely, that if thou continuing unclean have offspring, the child, not being of thee alone, is of course unclean or half clean. But now it is not unclean. To which effect he adds, “else were your children unclean; but now are they holy;” that is, not unclean. But the Apostle calls them, “holy,” by the intensity of the expression again casting out the dread arising from that sort of suspicion.

As St. John points out, these words apply not to a believer who wishes to marry an unbeliever, but to a believer who is already married to an unbeliever.  The unbeliever is not holy by virtue of remaining married to a believer; but there is hope of salvation for the unbeliever as long as the believer remains married to the unbeliever.  Also, the believer is not made impure before God by joining in one flesh with the unbelieving spouse, and the children are not rendered impure before God by virtue of being born with one unbelieving parent.    


St. John Crysostom must have have not remembered the words of God if your interpretation is correct.

"The TWO become ONE flesh".  ONE flesh does not mean there is a clean half and a unclean half.   It means there is exactly ONE flesh.

Also "The husbands body does not belong to him but also to his wife, and the wife's body does not belong to her, but also to her husband".  

The scriptures clearly point out that in marriage, the believer can save the unbeliever.

End of story.  

It does not state "already married" or "married before" etc.   This is where going OFF sola scriptura bends and twists the written scriptures.

If you read through it, and ignore what men say about it who lived centuries after it was recorded, its really pretty simple.

The Orthodox ceremony of Matrimony speaks of becoming ONE flesh too.   The crowns of martyrs are put on, signifying the death of the individual and unionization of the two.   This is based on the scriptures.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2012, 10:32:15 PM by yeshuaisiam » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: August 22, 2012, 10:30:50 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


"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. But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. For 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 Cor. 7:14-16)

What does it mean that an unbeliever is sanctified by their believing spouse? St. John Chrysostom seemed to think that it had to do mostly with intercourse not being unclean because of unbelief when the "two become one," but is there more to it than that?

The Golden mouthed father is surely correct biologically speaking, however I would think that Paul is also referring to in life in general.  An unbelieving spouse of a believing (i.e. Orthodox) person will by their intimate relationship inch closer to God by their proximity to Grace.  Of course, Paul is also referring to Orthodox marriage in the first place, and the unbelieving perhaps was not to mean unbaptized but more so baptized Christians who begin to lose faith or slack behind in their diligence. So that if a husband or a wife stops attending Divine Liturgy regularly, if the faithful spouse continues in the Church their family is still saved by Grace. This is an Orthodox tradition we are all quite familiar with, considering the 3 and 4 to 1 ratios of women to men generally attending Orthodox services Wink

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2012, 10:37:23 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!


"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. But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But God has called us to peace. For 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 Cor. 7:14-16)

What does it mean that an unbeliever is sanctified by their believing spouse? St. John Chrysostom seemed to think that it had to do mostly with intercourse not being unclean because of unbelief when the "two become one," but is there more to it than that?

The Golden mouthed father is surely correct biologically speaking, however I would think that Paul is also referring to in life in general.  An unbelieving spouse of a believing (i.e. Orthodox) person will by their intimate relationship inch closer to God by their proximity to Grace.  Of course, Paul is also referring to Orthodox marriage in the first place, and the unbelieving perhaps was not to mean unbaptized but more so baptized Christians who begin to lose faith or slack behind in their diligence. So that if a husband or a wife stops attending Divine Liturgy regularly, if the faithful spouse continues in the Church their family is still saved by Grace. This is an Orthodox tradition we are all quite familiar with, considering the 3 and 4 to 1 ratios of women to men generally attending Orthodox services Wink

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Sorry, just a tat off subject, is the ratio really that bad now?  3&4 to 1 male?   

I always understood it to be extended from what you said.  That if there was a convert, let's say a husband became Orthodox but his wife did not, that she could be saved through his faith.   Please correct me if I'm wrong on this one but that's how I understood EO belief.
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« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2012, 01:54:13 PM »

It means that in family and every relation where love is involved there is a give and take.In love there is teaching and compromise.. So an unbeliever will learn from a believer.. Una cerveza!
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2012, 06:32:50 AM »

Thanks for the responses, and I will indeed go back and reread what St. John wrote...
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