Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 28, 1953


Cecil B. Douthitt, P. O. Box 67, Brownwood, Texas

Sanctified In The Believer

Dear Brother Douthitt: Will you please give an explanation on 1 Corinthians 7:14?


This is the passage: "For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy." (1 Cor. 7:14)

Under the law of Moses, the Israelites were forbidden to marry people of other nations. (Deut. 7:2,3) When this law was violated, they were not "joined together" by Jehovah, and children born of such marriages were illegitimate. They were commanded to put away those strange women and the children born of them. (Ezra 10:1-4)

But under the gospel of Christ, though one of the parties in marriage may not be a Christian, the children born of such union are not "unclean"; that is, they are not illegitimate, because the unbeliever, or the one not a Christian, is sanctified or set apart to the holy office of being companion in marriage to a child of God.

The word sanctify in this passage does not mean to make sinless or perfect. It is used here in the same sense in which it is used in 1 Tim. 4:5, where it is said that food is sanctified by the word of God and prayer; that is, by thanksgiving and prayer food is set apart for God's holy purpose' of sustaining the bodies of those who eat it. In marriage and the rearing of children, the unbeliever is sanctified in the believer; that is, the unbeliever is set apart for God's holy purpose of being the companion in marriage to a Christian; otherwise, the children would be "unclean," or illegitimate.