In Ezra chapters 9 and 10, some Jews had married women who were not Jews. The Jews are Godís special people; and this was a very serious matter for them. They had chosen, on purpose, to marry into families that followed false religions. Their actions were placing the future of their nation, and its special relationship with God, in danger. Ezra, the priest, told them that they must divorce those wives.
In some ways, the situation in Corinth seemed similar. There, Christian men had wives who were not Christians. And Christian women had husbands who were not Christians. They had married before they became Christians. However, Paul did not tell them to divorce. He thought that, if possible, they should remain together.
It would be easy to think that the situation in Corinth was the same as in the Book of Ezra. But Paul could see that, really, it was the opposite. In 1 Corinthians 7:14, he explains his reasons.
In the Book of Ezra, those relationships made the families unholy. When the men married those women, they were separating themselves (and their future families) from Godís holy people. They were behaving as if they did not belong to God.
But in Corinth, the opposite was happening. Men and women had become Christians; they had joined Godís holy people. This had a powerful effect on their husbands, wives and children. Because one member of the family was now loyal to God, the whole family had an opportunity to hear about God. Of course, people need to trust God themselves if they want God to save them. But because of the Christian member of the family, God was claiming the attention of everyone in that home. That is why Paul described them as Ďholyí.
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© 2014, Keith Simons.