1 Corinthians 7:16
For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save [thy] husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save [thy] wife?
Note 19 at 1Co 7:16: Paul expressed the reason he believed staying with the unsaved mate is so important. It was because the believing mate may lead the unbelieving one to faith in Christ. Sad to say, this would not be high on the list of reasons for many Christians today, but it should be.
When things are looked at through the light of God's priorities, the eternal, spiritual matters are infinitely more important than all the temporal things that people hold so dear. As Jesus said, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends" (Joh 15:13). Surely Christians laying aside their own desires to remain with their lost mates in hopes of seeing those mates saved would be one of the greatest expressions of Christ-like love.
This line of reasoning is not very popular in today's self-centered generation. "What about my rights?" someone would say, and that is precisely the problem. The root of most divorces is selfishness. If Christians would seriously think about what their actions are doing to their mates, their children, their parents, their friends, their witness, and their society, they would not be so quick to choose divorce.
It is time for us Christians to resign from the "Me Generation." We need to pull our thumbs out of our mouths and grow up. It's time to think of others more than ourselves.
Note 20 at 1Co 7:16: It is very interesting the way Paul stated the possibilities of the unbelieving mate coming to the Lord. He said that it might happen and it might not. This is radically different than the way some people preach praying for unbelieving mates.
Some people have mistakenly interpreted passages of Scripture like Ac 16:31 to say that we can "claim" our loved ones for Christ and they will be saved regardless. That is not so (see note 4 at Ac 16:31). One of the most sacred trusts that God has given man is the right to choose. God will protect that right regardless of the consequences.
People must come to faith in Christ through their own choice. We can certainly encourage them and do battle with the spiritual powers that blind them (2Co 4:4), but the choice is theirs. Not understanding this has caused many godly Christians to feel like failures because their lost mates have not been born again. Certainly, this was not the attitude Paul had here.
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