1Cor 7:15 If the Unbeliever Leaves

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Jun 2, 2023, 6:18:03 AM6/2/23
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If the Unbeliever Leaves

1Cor 7:15  But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace.

 "Make every effort to live in peace with all men" Heb 12:14a and this would certainly include one's spouse. Indeed a believer should be willing to put up with more from an unbelieving spouse than from a believing spouse. For hasn't Paul already said, "I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.  But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat." 1Cor 5:10,11

However while the believer is to seek peace rather than seeking a divorce, it may be that the unbeliever leaves. Afterall, as I noted previously, "What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?" 2Cor 6:15 And  Jesus predicted, "a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household." Mt 10:36 Jesus didn't force himself on people. He knocks at the door, but doesn't impose on those who refuse him. So also with the saints. Unbelievers should not be forced to fellowship with saints. So for the sake of peace between the believer and unbeliever, the unbeliever should be allowed to leave. Grant them a divorce if they wish.

However this is not to presume the such a divorce frees the Christian up to remarry someone else. It only frees them from the bondage of living with their unbelieving spouse. Here Paul is talking about dwelling together in the same house. The word "live with" in verses 12 and 13 is "oikeo", the noun form being "oikos" which means "the inmates of a house". We see it used in a spiritual sense in Romans 7-8 where for example Paul speaks of sin "dwelling" in him - that is in his flesh. And notice also his basis "God has called us to live in peace." Nothing about remarriage to someone else will bring peace and reconciliation between the spouses that had divorced. In fact, quite the contrary. Furthermore there are those who propose that "under bondage" here refers to the legal bondage of marriage, but such is not the case. The word used here is "douloo" meaning enslaved, whereas for the the legal bond of marriage Paul uses the word "deo", meaning to tie or bind, in this same chapter. "A wife is bound ("deo") by law as long as her husband lives" 1Cor 7:39 So with regards to the legal obligation of marriage, that lasts the life of the spouse. It's not till divorce do you part, but rather till death do you part.

Realize also that with regards to the divorced he had previously stated God's explicit will "To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): ... " 1Cor 7:10,11namely to stay unmarried. But here he is giving counsel. "To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord) ..." 1Cor 7:12-14namely regarding whether to get divorced. So while remarriage is disallowed, there are cases where divorce is allowed. (Afterall, God himself got divorced Jer 3:8)

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